Whitsundays dodges another bullet
TOURISM Whitsundays advises that it is now safe for travelers to return to the Whitsundays.
Minimal damage was caused to the region by Cyclone Yasi as it passed over last night (Wednesday night).
Major local roads are open, and other travel services such as air, bus and train should re-start within 24 hours.
Island resorts are re-opening up today (Thursday) and ferries should resume services in the next 24 hours.
Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Officer Peter O’Reilly said the region was very well prepared following Cyclone Ului in 2010 and Cyclone Anthony last Sunday.
“The resorts, businesses and residents of the Whitsundays all heeded the warnings very well and were very prepared for Cyclone Yasi,” Mr O’Reilly said.
“We were lucky to only experience the very tail end of Yasi as she passed over, with very little rain and the winds were much less damaging than expected.
“There are some parts of the region without power but the major centre of Airlie Beach has power and is back open and operating as normal.
“The whole region including the islands experienced some damage, mainly to trees, but overall we escaped unscathed again, and we’re counting our lucky stars.”
Winds have already died down and returned to a more normal strength of around 20-25 knots (about 46km/hr).
“This morning (Thursday) the sun is out and drying up the land very quickly,” Mr O’Reilly said
“This region is very quick to recover from weather events like this.
“Airlie Beach accommodation providers are offering emergency accommodation to Cyclone Yasi victims – they have power and can take people immediately.
“Our thoughts and sympathies are with our northern neighbours who suffered a very scary night and face a big clean up.”
Currently open and operating as normal:
Airlie Beach CBD, accommodation houses, resorts and backpackers.
- Hamilton, Daydream and Hayman islands are currently in the process of re-opening ready to receive guests later today.
- Adventure Island Resort (on South Molle Island) remains on a scheduled closure through the wet season.
- Brampton Island remains closed to guests for renovations.
- All other island resorts are working to re-open as soon as possible.
- Whitsunday Coast Airport and Great Barrier Reef Airport (Hamilton Island) – awaiting advice on re-opening, however it is anticipated services will be able to recommence within 24 hours.
- Ferry services between the islands and Whitsunday Coast to recommence within 24 hours.
- Trips to Whitehaven Beach, the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday islands are due to recommence on the weekend.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has closed all campgrounds and tracks on the Whitsunday islands and on the Whitsunday Coast until further notice.