Prince Charm­ing

Wil­liam wows the North . . . and he may be back

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - by Sa­man­tha Healy

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

Photo: ME­GAN TAY­LOR

TOUCH­ING DOWN: Prince Wil­liam’s he­li­copter gets ready to land in Tully

Photo: FIONA HARD­ING

ROYAL FANS: Hamish Scott, 12, Jo­hannes Brun­ner, Will Scott, 9 in Card­well

Photo: MARC MCCOR­MACK

STARSTRUCK: Crys­tal Daw­son, 10, meets Prince Wil­liam

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