International VIPs wowed by our destination!
Posted on November 6th, 2019
It was an absolute pleasure to recently host two of our Tourism and Events Queensland International Directors, Leigh Arredondo (The Americas), based in LA and Kai Ostermann (Europe), based in Munich.
These markets are quite different so we tailored a very busy itinerary to suit both requirements, with Leigh flying in a day earlier to get to know Rocky (and with a keen interest in Beef Australia) as it was his very first visit to our destination!
Super impressed with his overnight stay at Empire Apartment Hotel (and host Zac Garven) and dinner at the Criterion Hotel, Leigh also did site inspections at the Edge, Quality Regent Hotel and Denison Boutique Hotel (with Americans very familiar with the Choice Hotels brand). The heritage buildings of Rockhampton are of very keen interest to the American market so lunch at Riverston Tea Rooms, a coffee at Headricks Lane, a look through the Heritage Hotel and a tour of Quay and East streets as well as The Range were full of surprises for Leigh! We drove around the showgrounds, the sporting precinct and he loved hearing about our history, a visit to the Art Gallery followed by a very entertaining time watching the chimps at the Rocky Zoo before Kai’s arrival on a later flight.
Co-incidently the Friday night was ‘Opera in the Caves’, so Leigh and Kai were fortunate to experience the rehearsal by the Underground Opera company at Capricorn Caves, before we took in 360 degree views at Mount Archer Nurim Skywalk (overlooking Rocky, the volcanic plugs and Henderson Park Farm Retreat), then enjoyed a steak at the Great Western Hotel where it was Kai’s very first rodeo experience (it was the Young Guns series with a few of our St. Brendan’s boys and a very entertaining apprentice MC!).
Our exhausted but content guests were then driven to Salt Yeppoon so they could wake up to a seabreeze and the sounds of the ocean.
“Picture perfect” and “Zen” was how our international VIPs described Yeppoon as we strolled along the magnificent foreshore, enjoying breakfast at Beach Café, Keppel Bay Sailing Club and taking in the street art and atmosphere whilst experiencing how the locals live. Leigh just happened to mention that he believes the Yeppoon Lagoon and foreshore redevelopment is absolutely the best along the Queensland coastline!
They commented a number of times about our ‘clean and green’ environment and they were just as impressed by the variety and diversity of experiences as we continued along the Capricorn Coast!
With Leigh’s first ever visit and Kai’s last visit about six years ago (a very quick visit to Great Keppel Island then out to Carnarvon Gorge), we certainly had lots of new product to catch up on!
As we stopped for many photo opportunities from a number of hilltop vantage points, a number of property site visits including Villa Mar Colina and Oshen Yeppoon, the drive down the beautiful main street in Yeppoon, then along the coastline from Byfield to Emu Park (pointing out our many holiday villages popular with the European market), our guests were impressed!
Cooberrie Park Wildlife Sanctuary is a firm favourite for our international visitors, with Kai and Leigh excited about the fact you can completely immerse yourself with the animals (Leigh’s favourite animal is the wombat, so Flo came out for a visit, whilst Kai was in awe of the peacocks’ amazing show!).
Our lunch experience at Ferns Hideaway at Byfield rainforest with Marto and Gen was another ‘unexpected surprise’ for Leigh and Kai, as was Shell World Yeppoon with Kai buying some shells as a gift back home.
Views from Wreck Point lookout then a visit to Emu Park’s Singing Ship and ANZAC memorial walk was another ‘unexpected’ surprise and we managed to snap the obligatory pic under the Oktoberfest banner with some locals, with Kai introducing himself as the ‘true Bavarian’ (very ironic)!
Late Saturday afternoon, Leigh and Kai enjoyed a quick tour of Rosslyn Bay Harbour (Rosslyn Bay Resort, Freedom Fast Cats, Fisherman’s Market, Double Heads NP) and a gourmet snack at Keppel Bay Marina before heading across to Pumpkin Island with catering from the Waterline Restaurant.
On Sunday they really enjoyed a tour with Scott from Keppel Explorer around the islands with lunch at Humpy Island another surprise!
Overnight at Great Keppel Island Hideaway enjoying the sunset over the mainland and dinner with their hosts Kelly and Eloise as well as Lindsay from Keppel Dive, they returned on Monday morning to continue their visit along the greater Southern Great Barrier Reef to see new product at Wilson Island (via Heron Island) before heading to the Sunshine Coast for DestinationQ and the annual Qld Tourism Awards.