Today Show team newsreader Tom Steinfort, entertainment reporter Brooke Boney and co-hosts Georgie Gardner and Deb Knight in Airlie Beach on Wednesday.
Today Show team newsreader Tom Steinfort, entertainment reporter Brooke Boney and co-hosts Georgie Gardner and Deb Knight in Airlie Beach on Wednesday. Claudia Alp

TV CREW IN TOWN: Airlie Beach wakes up with Today

THE Today Show was broadcast live from the Airlie Beach Lagoon on Wednesday and presenters had one message: North Queensland is back in business.

Co-hosts Georgie Gardner and Deb Knight, news presenter Tom Steinfort and entertainment reporter Brooke Boney visited the Whitsundays for their Week in Paradise.

The television special was intended to promote North Queensland tourism and encourage viewers to get behind areas affected by drought, flood and cyclone.

Georgie, on her first visit to the Whitsundays, told the Whitsunday Times she was "absolutely blown away".

"That pristine water and the climate is just superb. I can understand now why people come from all corners of the globe to see this. It's just exquisite," she said.

"We've been watching over recent months the stories in the news of really horrific climatic situations, whether it be droughts or floods or cyclones, the area has really copped it.

"So the least we feel we can do is come here and report on the fact that Queenslanders are stoic, they're resilient and tourism is very much needed in the area.

"It is open for business and the great thrill for us is to be able to show it to the rest of the country."

 

The Today Show's Georgie Gardner and Deb Knight leave Airlie Beach in tuk tuks ridden by Brett Jones (front) and Nifty Chapman (back).
AIRLIE LIVE: Georgie Gardner and Deb Knight leave Airlie Beach in tuk-tuks ridden by Brett Jones (front) and Nifty Chapman (back). Claudia Alp

The Today team chatted to locals and had a go at a prawn peeling competition (won by Deb) between filming, which was done from 5.30-9am.

Live entertainment was delivered by Sydney singer-songwriter Thandi Pheonix who made an appearance on the show to perform her track Say It, live at the lagoon.

 

Thandi Phoenix performed live at the Airlie Beach Lagoon on Wednesday.
Thandi Phoenix performed live at the Airlie Beach Lagoon on Wednesday. Claudia Alp

The group was finally whisked away from the set in true Whitsunday style.

Georgie and Deb were driven off in tuk tuks by riders Brett Jones and Nifty Chapman, while Tom and Brooke took a turn on segways.

Whitsunday residents Craig Watson and Janice Cruse featured on the show, picked from the audience to go into the Today Show's cash cube.

 

Whitsunday locals Janice Cruse and Craig Watson won big in the Today Show's cash cube in Airlie Beach on Wednesday.
Whitsunday locals Janice Cruse and Craig Watson won big in the Today Show's cash cube. Claudia Alp

Ms Cruse said it was her first time on television and her enthusiasm at meeting her Today Show favourite Georgie was evident.

"I came here today just thinking I was going to watch the Today Show and I ended up on it," she said.

"It was nerve-racking, but thanks to Craig (Watson) who helped me."

Mr Watson, who has lived in the Whitsundays for 25 years, said the Today Show provided a fantastic opportunity for the region.

"It's great publicity for the area and the weather turned out trumps too. I think we've had our bad times and it's time to move on," he said.

The Week in Paradise will continue in Townsville on Thursday and Palm Cove on Friday. Weatherman Stevie Jacobs will visit the Whitsundays from April 18-19.