Brisbane Floods 2011 and March Travel

Brisbane floods 2011 and March travel question

We have booked our flights to Brisbane to arrive on 2nd March but I'm now worried about what we will find after watching the news of the terrible floods.

We are booked into the Royal On The Park beside the Brisbane River for 2 nights and then Maroochydore for 5.

There have been reports of cyclones too!

Can you put my mind at rest.. is there anything to be worried about?

Last time we came to Australia we were around Melbourne and Sydney so have not been to your area before... Please advise if you can.. Thank you

Click to Read Update Below: Posted 14 Feb 2011
Okay, deep breath.. big questions lots to answer.

Right now (15 January 2011) as I answer this question, Brisbane experienced its largest flood event in 35 years. What you will be seeing on the news reports is the floods and aftermath of the Brisbane River breaking its banks and flooding into many areas on the riverside. The Brisbane River meanders through many suburbs of Brisbane before it reaches the city of Brisbane and then heads out to Moreton Bay.

Many of the devastated suburbs are those that are very low lying and upstream of the city.

Tourist areas such as South Bank have been inundated with water and given the water only receded yesterday it is too early to say how quickly they will recover. Where infrastructure needs to be rebuilt and requires public expenditure, I am sure that priority will be given to those areas of most importance.

I am sure there will be things to do in Brisbane and if not, the Gold Coast has actually been spared the flooding and so you would be able to get out and about to enjoy other parts of South East Queensland.

I know the hotel you have booked into. It is across the road from the Botanical Gardens - I do not know if it flooded. I am sure that you could send them an email to check - I looked at their website for you and nothing obvious on the website showing you couldn't book in right now, so I can only assume they are fine. I would also check with your Maroochydore accommodation - I am sure they are fine too, but there has been localised flooding on the Sunshine Coast too.

I have seen the media and was caught in the earlier rain and "flooding" further north at Christmas - so I have some idea of how it is reported versus the reality. In Brisbane the whole city is NOT under water - there are certain suburbs and areas (and probably not the ones as a tourist you would likely go to) that are affected, but there are way more areas NOT affected at all.

I have also seen how quickly the general mess in the main areas can be cleared away so that life can get back to some form of normality. There will be some areas where building have to be demolished and rebuilt, especially along the riverside areas. How much of that will be done by March? I cannot say.

I am not sure what you want to do in Brisbane and whether those activities will still be possible, so perhaps you could leave a comment below and I could answer. Off the top of my head I can think of going to Mt Coot-Tha look out (which is stunning and I keep meaning to write about it and post photos), Alma Park Zoo, Daisy Hill Koala Sanctuary and fingers crossed South Bank will be operational with its precint of art galleries, museums and the amazing state library.

As for the weather, it is always unpredictable and I could not tell you what is expcected in March at this time. With regard to cyclones, it is rare for Brisbane and the Gold Coast to get a cyclone, but it is possible. The sea temperature has to be 27°C for a cyclone to form, so they tend to come in a season in our Summer Months. March is at the end of summer and so can be a month in which there are cyclones. Usually cyclones hit further north in Queensland.

If I was you, I would make sure I had insurance to cover my trip - and read the policy really carefully to make sure that I was covered for these types of weather events and keep on eye on the weather forecasts.

You may find the following pages useful to bookmark, especially the weather ones.
I hope these events don't put you off visiting Queensland in March this year. There is so much to see and in general it is a great time of year to visit this part of Australia.

If you have any questions or want anything clarified please leave a comment below and I will try to answer you as best I can. I try to keep my Gold Coast facebook page updated and it is a place where you can often find what is going on right now in the Gold Coast.

Join the conversation or just check us out...

Latest Update: 14 February 2011

Good news, Brisbane from a tourists point of view has made a speedy recovery (but not 100% yet) from the recent floods. Most of the attractions along South Bank are reopened, but there are signs of the flood near the river.

Just about a week after the flood, my husband and I walked along the Brisbane River banks near Kanagaroo Point. We noticed the ravages of the flood with damaged areas cordoned off and debris still floating down the river. But it was being cleaned up quickly.

Today, Feb 14 2011, some of the Brisbane City Cats are returning to service on the river. All of the ferry terminals were damaged and not all are working yet, but a return to service also shows that the debris floating down the river has pretty much gone.

The devastation we heard about was mostly in the suburbs and some areas are still doing it tough waiting for lower lying areas to dry out and cleaning up, rebuilding and moving on. These are not the areas where visitors generally go and are not going to ruin holiday plans.

Brisbane is for the most part, back to normal, although this is the new normal, nothing is ever quite the same after such a devastating flood. At the moment we are all getting really warm sunny weather with the occassional shower, so it is hard to even remember the rain from a month ago!

As I mentioned before, the Gold Coast was not flood affected at all.

As if Queensland hadn't had enough natural weather extremes, northern Queensland suffered two cyclones within a week of each other and the second a Category 5 Storm named Yasi packed winds faster than Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Cyclone Yasi made landfall between Cairns and Townsville near Mission Beach in far north Queensland on 3 February 2011.

Areas very close to Mission Beach and inland suffered quite severe damage, including some of the Great Barrier Reef Islands popular with tourists.

From what I understand Cairns and Port Douglas even further north and further away from the devastating eye of the storm were spared the worst damage. The thing with storms is that the damage can sometimes appear quite random. One house is devastated and the one next door looks just a bit windswept. So it is a bit hard to say what will be open and what will not.

From a tourism point of view, it is such a big part of the local economy that every effort will be made to make sure that it is back up and running and giving our visitors the best experience as quickly as possible.

If you know are considering visiting Queensland and are worried about what the area you are visiting will be like, you can leave a comment below with the name of the town or attraction or you can look them up online for more information. Tourism Queensland has latest updates and a campaign to show we are very much open for business.

The biggest message is: Please visit! We need you to visit. Our local tourism businesses offer great accommodation, tours, restaurants, cafes and much more. They all need visitors to earn a living - that is a great way to help Queensland recover from these natural disasters.

Join the conversation or just check us out...

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Mar 08, 2011
Gold Coast Spared From January 2011 Floods
by: Annie

Yes, you are right in thinking that the Gold Coast was spared from the floods and devastating cyclonic weather in other parts of Queensland.

The Gold Coast did have some heavy rain and localised flooding, but just our normal summer storm season type weather. To my knowledge little if any damage except on some of the roads in the hinterland in particular. But repairs for these are either done or on the way. I think there was a rock fall on one of the roads, but really nothing to affect your enjoyment of the Gold Coast.

Brisbane clean up is pretty good in most areas and some ferries are back on the river, though not full service as yet.

Let me know if you have any more questions

Mar 08, 2011
Gold Coast & Brisbane in early May
by: Rachel

Hi there
We would like to visit the Gold Coast and Brisbane in May - I understand that the Gold Coast was mostly spared -is this correct?

Feb 13, 2011
Brisbane Clean Up Going Well
by: Annie

Hi Ellen,
From a visitors point of view, Brisbane is definitely already open for business. From what I know most of the attractions along South Bank are reopened and my husband and I walked along the Brisbane River banks near Kanagaroo Point a few weeks ago and although we noticed the ravages of the flood, it was certainly being cleaned up quickly.

Today, Feb 14 2011, some of the Brisbane City Cats are returning to service on the river, so that gives an indication that things are definitely getting back to normal (most of the terminals were wiped out in the flood).

The devastation we heard about was mostly in the suburbs and some areas are still doing it tough, but they are not the areas where you as a visitor are likely to go. So I would say in Brisbane the floods will have little effect to your trip, especially in June.

Gold Coast was not flood affected at all, and many places further north in Queensland weren't affected, or only minimal damage to the tourist areas.

I have to say, I don't have first hand knowledge of the cyclone affected areas, but once again, that was actually narrow band around Mission Beach (between Cairns and Townsville) that was most badly affected and a few of the tourist islands. If you know where you are going perhaps you can check out the individual places, but you would be surprised how quickly things get back on their feet for our visitors (because we need you to visit, it is how many people in these places earn a living).

I will probably repost this within the main article body as an update, thank you for asking the question and prompting me to respond. I will do a little more digging and put in some links if I can find good ones for you.


Feb 13, 2011
Brisbane floods and Cyclone Yasi in Cairns
by: Ellen

I am also looking for information about the nature disasters in beautiful Australia. First of all I would like to support you all!
We are from Belgium and have booked to come to Brisbane and the east coast in june. I know it's still a few months, but it's the first time we visit Australia and we are concerned about the current situation in this area.
We have already checked at the hotel in Brisbane (mercure) and they have not been affected by the floods. Do you have also information about the rest of the east coast and QLD? Or where can I find this information? We hope we can still make our trip of a lifetime into this beautiful region! Thank you for the information and lots of regards from rainy Belgium...

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