Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have visited Australia and a royal tour wouldn’t be complete without a Queensland holiday in the sunshine. It is called QUEENSland after all!
They touched down on the powdery white sands of Fraser Island on Monday 22 October 2018 to check out a completed Queen’s Canopy project, which aims to restore rainforest across the Commonwealth. It’s been a trifecta of Royal visits to the Sunshine State this year after the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles and Camilla, and Prince Edward all spent time in Queensland during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Since it’s been far too short and sweet, we’ve put together the best of Queensland’s luxe destinations so you can follow in their royal footsteps. Get your curtsey ready and tell the Duke and Duchess we said hi!
Who knows, maybe they’ll be tempted to extend their stay…
NOOSA, NEWSA OR NEUSA?
Despite the new royal moniker, Meghan will always be part of the Suits family and her co-star Gabriel Macht (who plays lead character Harvey Specter) and wife Jacinda Barrett have a home there. It’s rumoured they’ve offered their four-bedroom Queenslander home to Harry and Meghan for some getaway time.
But if that’s not fancy enough, there are options aplenty in the Sunshine Coast Hinterland including the heritage-listed Buderim House (it hosted the Duke of Gloucester in December 1934, didn’t you know!) or fellow Brit Sir Richard Branson’s Makepeace Island in the middle of Noosa River.
I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES (LAGOON)
Another spot well and truly on the royal radar is Bedarra Island on the Great Barrier Reef, just a 45-minute helicopter flight from Cairns.
Elton John adored this place, and Harry and Meghan are sure to trust the judgment of someone who performed at their wedding reception, right? Not to mention Elton was a close friend of Harry’s mum, Diana.
Royal visitors to Bedarra Island have also included Harry’s aunty Sarah (Fergie) Ferguson the Duchess of York, who was at the wedding despite not being a royal for about 30 years and did get on with Diana #galpals but then didn’t.
And you thought your family was complicated.
Meghan’s a NYC kinda gal, so if they had more time, we’re sure the couple would head to the GC (that’s Aussie for Gold Coast) for some bright city lights.
When it comes to luxe accommodation, the brand-spanking-new The Darling has suites fit for a princess… up to 328 square meters in size with all the finest finishings. The Penthouse Deluxe Billiard Suite has two KING bedrooms, grand chandeliers and a dedicated billiard room. Anyone else remember that time we saw Harry playing billiards in Vegas?
You can stay there yourself for around $6000 per night.
LOUNGE LIKE A LIZARD
With a royal baby on the radar for Harry and Meghan, Lizard Island Resort is a magical kid-free coral cay resort (10 years and under) so it would be perfect for the loved-up couple who are no doubt still in honeymoon-mode. Plus as the most northern resort on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, it’s secluded and when it comes to being a royal, privacy is a big tick. Just ask Fergie and ex-lover John Bryan.
It’s also a National Marine Park, so there’s 24 pristine beaches to explore and Australian wildlife including huge monitor lizards, spinner dolphins, green sea turtles, minke and humpback whales plus abundant coral and marine life. Check out The Pavilion (from $4999 per night) or The Villa from $5999 per night.
FOOD FIT FOR A KING (OR PRINCE, AT LEAST)
Even royals gotta eat, right? And sometimes you just need something more substantial than cucumber sandwiches and teacake.
Brisbane’s Urbane was one of only six restaurants in the whole country to take home three Chef’s Hats this year. Or they could try ARIA Brisbane (owned by Matt Moran), which holds two Chef’s Hats and was awarded 2018 National Good Food Guide‘s Wine List of the Year Award. There are over one thousand posh-as wines to choose from.
Let’s just hope they remember to bring their ID if they head out on the town later, unlike Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark!
No trip to Queensland would be complete without a gander at the outback. Harry and Meghan would need a few days to explore of course, but with their own private plane, the vastness of our spectacular country would be sure to impress! Speaking of Fergie, Birdsville’s ‘Big Red’ sand dune on the edge of the Simpson Desert makes for some pretty spectacular sunsets or 4WD adventures.
If you want to live it up like a Lord or Lady, Seair Touring has a three-day adventure hosted by Peter Gash, ecological crusader and Lady Elliot Island owner. He’ll take you to the townships, cattle stations and jaw-dropping outback landscapes via private plane, 4WD and a cruise on Cooper Creek – one of our most iconic outback destinations ($2985pp departing Brisbane or the Gold Coast).
HELI OVER CANARVON GORGE
Yes, Harry can fly his own helicopter, but why would you when you’ve got scenery like Carnarvon Gorge to check out?
Heli Central packs a whole lot of Queensland into their Carnarvon Gorge to Moolayember National Park scenic flight, which means Harry and Meghan can experience untouched wilderness, deep gorges packed with tropical wonder, farmland and cattle stations ($395pp for 40 minutes).
Yep, we may never be royals, but you don’t get to see that every day of the week even if you are king of the land!