William wows the North . . . and he may be back
A ROYAL honeymoon in North Queensland could be on the cards after Prince William hinted of a possible return visit within weeks.
The young royal, who toured cyclone and flood devastated regions over the weekend, has fuelled speculation that a romantic holiday to North Queensland could be the perfect tonic following his wedding to Kate Middleton on April 29.
‘‘ I love scuba diving. I have always wanted to dive the barrier reef," he told well-wishers in Cairns on Saturday. ‘‘’’ It’s much nicer down here, the weather at home is dreadful.’’
Townsville Mayor Les Tyrell, who met the charismatic prince briefly at the Townsville RAAF base on Saturday, said a honeymoon in the North may be written in the stars.
‘‘ Funnily enough, when I was waiting on the tarmac ( at Townsville RAAF base) I noticed a street sign called Middlet o n Lane, ’ ’ Cr Tyrell said.
‘‘ Maybe it was just a quirky coincidence or maybe it was a sign from above.’’
Speculation that the young couple’s honeymoon could occur in the Sunshine State has already created a stir amongst Queensland’s tourism authorities.
After three years of weather and global financial setbacks, tourism authorities believe a royal honeymoon could reignite a passion for Queensland’s premier tourist destinations.
Queensland Tourism Industry Council Daniel Gschwind said even the hint that a royal honeymoon could occur i n Queensland was a positive thing for the tourism industry.
‘‘ The fact he is even contemplating it is a positive thing and hopefully it will convince other people, including Australians, to look in t heir own back yard again,’’ he said.
‘‘ His visit alone has propelled Queensland back on to the world stage and any visit by the newlyweds would be a huge coup.’’
Townsville Enterprise general manager Scott Waters said any number of North Queensland locations could provide the perfect backdrop for the honeymoon of the future king of England and his sweetheart.
‘‘ If we can help them plan the perfect getaway we will happily do so,’’ Mr Waters said.
‘‘ We have so many locations to offer and if the opportunity arises we would love to help organise them something that offers them a real taste of our beautiful region.’’
Mr Waters said a honeymoon package fit for royalty could include everything from reef and rainforest escapes to historical and cultural tours around North Queensland.
The Prince arrived in Townsville f rom New Zealand at 11am on Saturday before boarding a Black Hawk helicopter bound for Cardwell and Tully.
Both townships were pummelled during category five cyclone Yasi which crossed the Queensland coast near Mission Beach on February 3 withanes - timated 1000 properties deemed uninhabitable.
Cassowary Coast May or Bill Shannon urged the prince to make a return trip when ‘‘ we are back at our best’’.
During his visit, Prince William, who has been dubbed ‘ ‘ t he people’s prince’’, met with many of the cyclone victims at an informal barbecue at Cardwell before flying to Tully for a meet-andgreet.
EXCITEMENT: Prince William waving to the crowd in Tully and leaving aboard a Black Hawk
Photos: : MEGAN TAYLOR, FIONA HARDING
TOUCHING DOWN: Prince William’s helicopter gets ready to land in Tully
ROYAL FANS: Hamish Scott, 12, Johannes Brunner, Will Scott, 9 in Cardwell
STARSTRUCK: Crystal Dawson, 10, meets Prince William