Corrine Santo and her husband have been hosting guests from all over the world at their oceanfront Air BnB for the last four years. Picture: Rhylea Millar
Corrine Santo and her husband have been hosting guests from all over the world at their oceanfront Air BnB for the last four years. Picture: Rhylea Millar

How Bundy rates in state’s top four destination hotspots

RESEARCH has determined that Bundaberg is one of four favoured hotspots across Queensland where holiday-goers are choosing to spend their summer break.

With international travel off the cards this year, Tourism Queensland launched their Good To Go campaign, alongside Tourism Australia’s Holiday Here This Year, encouraging Aussies to check out their own backyard.

Showing support for the two initiatives, online homestay booking platform Air BnB commissioned a survey through YouGov to determine where Queenslanders are choosing to stay.

Air BnB host Corrine Santo said when staying in Bundaberg, guests always rate the Lady Musgrave Experience and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks factory as top experiences. Picture: Rhylea Millar
Air BnB host Corrine Santo said when staying in Bundaberg, guests always rate the Lady Musgrave Experience and Bundaberg Brewed Drinks factory as top experiences. Picture: Rhylea Millar

Results showed one in 10 or 11% of Queenslanders were opting to visit Bundaberg, the Fraser Coast or Gold Coast Hinterland, behind the Whitsundays on 29%.

The data also showed 31% were keen to travel to a destination within driving distance and 23% wanted to support a bushfire-affected area.

Bundaberg Tourism chief executive officer Katherine Reid said with Bundaberg being the closest Great Barrier Reef destination to Brisbane, the last six months had seen visitors arriving to the region in large numbers.

“Our wide open spaces, warm hospitality and accessibility to South East Queensland make the Bundaberg region perfectly placed for those needing to get out of the city,” Ms Reid said.

“(Bundaberg’s) natural experiences and rich culinary offerings are surprising many who would traditionally travel internationally but who are instead discovering the reasons why Queensland is such a tourism drawcard worldwide.

“With the announcements [last week] regarding the borders to Queensland reopening, we have seen a spike in traffic on the destination website from New South Wales and Victoria and we can’t wait to welcome them back to the region.”

Just one of the picturesque views of the ocean from the backyard of the Air BnB. Picture: Rhylea Millar
Just one of the picturesque views of the ocean from the backyard of the Air BnB. Picture: Rhylea Millar

Ms Reid said big drawcards this summer would be the daily departures for day trips and overnight stays on the Lady Musgrave Experience and Lady Elliot Islands.

“Bundaberg is of course known for our turtle encounters at Mon Repos and out on the coral cays off the region’s coastline, which underpin the regional tourism industry over the summer months,” Ms Reid said.

“The pristine coral reefs off the Southern Great Barrier Reef are home to giant marine life including turtles and manta rays, and overnight guests on the Lady Elliot Island will be able to engage with guided turtle nesting and hatching activities under the supervision of trained island staff, including marine biologists and Master Reef Guides.

“Our food and drink tourism is always very popular as our guests celebrate the festive season, and families are always drawn to our incredible beaches with fringing corals and rockpools, as well as our attractions like Hinkler Hall of Aviation and Splitters Farm.”

Owner of local Air BnB hotspot The Cove, Corrine Santo said there are plenty of places to relax around the property, which is filled with Buddha statues and gardens. Picture: Rhylea Millar
Owner of local Air BnB hotspot The Cove, Corrine Santo said there are plenty of places to relax around the property, which is filled with Buddha statues and gardens. Picture: Rhylea Millar

After living in Bundaberg for almost two decades, Corrine Santo and her husband decided to open their home up to visitors, a decision they do not regret.

“I always wanted to open up an Air BnB because we’ve always loved travelling ourselves,” Ms Santo said.

“We love it – we’ve met so many fantastic people from overseas, Australia and Queensland and it’s always wonderful to meet so many interesting characters.”

Sitting on the daybed in the backyard, Corrine Santo said guests enjoy the stunning views and tranquil location of her Air BnB. Picture: Rhylea Millar
Sitting on the daybed in the backyard, Corrine Santo said guests enjoy the stunning views and tranquil location of her Air BnB. Picture: Rhylea Millar

Offering two fully self-contained, pet-friendly apartments on the oceanfront of Coral Cove, the tropical-inspired holiday home offers a tranquil space with plenty of areas to sit, relax and enjoy the view.

And while COVID-19 meant accommodation venues closed down for three months, since reopening, it’s been business as usual for The Cove, which has been booked out completely until January, with spots quickly filling up across February and March.

“We’ve been just as busy, if not more busy than we normally are – our guests usually range in age from young couples, to guests aged 60 and over,” Ms Santos said.

“People have had to cancel their overseas holidays and they’ve had to tour around Queensland when normally they wouldn’t of probably come here, but they have really enjoyed themselves so it’s been a great opportunity to showcase our great state.”

The Air BnB owner said she found the bucket list items for guests was diving and snorkelling off Barolin rocks, the Botanical Gardens, beaches and various drink distilleries and factories.

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