Bookmakers expect Prince William and wife Kate to visit Sydney or Melbourne ahead of the Sunshine State when they come to Australia next year.

The spruiking has started ahead of Prince William’s visit to Australia next year.

The government of Queensland has invited Prince William and his wife Kate to visit the Great Barrier Reef during their April visit, but the odds are the royal couple – who are yet to decide if they will bring their baby son – will visit Sydney or Melbourne ahead of the Sunshine State.

“I think we all hope that they bring Prince George and that they come to Queensland,” Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney told reporters on Friday.

“I’d love them to come and see the Great Barrier Reef, and come and see the Gold Coast and Australia Zoo, and things like that, that Queensland kids enjoy.”

The visit Down Under will be the first official visit by Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

But while bookmakers Sportsbet are offering short odds on Prince George accompanying his parents ($1.03 chance he will, $9 he won’t), they aren’t as convinced the couple will visit Queensland.

Sydney and Melbourne look like certainties at $1.001 and $1.02 each.

There are varying odds on the other state capitals, with Brisbane on $1.20, Adelaide at $1.40, followed by Perth and Canberra at $1.50 and $1.85 each.

Darwin and Hobart have the longest odds, at $3 and $4 each.

News of the impending arrival has reignited the now familiar debate that accompanies royal visits to Australia: should the country become a republic?

When asked about the celebrity status of the royal couple, Australian Republican Movement (ARM) national Director David Morris said it was natural for people to take an interest.

But he said research by the movement showed more Australians (48 per cent) believed an Australian child could become the nation’s first head of state, while 32 per cent disagreed with the statement.

The Australian Monarchist League, however, says the visit will put to lie comments from former Prime Minister Paul Keating that the royal family approved of Australia becoming a republic.

“(They) will be given a hugely warm reception by the vast crowds that will want to greet them,” AML spokesman Philip Benwell said in a statement on Friday.

The couple’s visit may coincide with the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes to be held at Royal Randwick racecourse, to be held over two weekends in April.

Racing authorities announced last month they had made an approach to Buckingham Palace for one or more members of the royal family to attend the autumn carnival with the Queen’s horse, the Gai Waterhouse-trained Carlton House, expected to run in the race named after the monarch.

Racing NSW chairman, John Messara, who recently secured It’s A Dundeel to stand at his Arrowfield Stud, will aim that horse at the race but said he would settle for second if the Queen won.

“In a perfect world, Her Majesty wins it and It’s A Dundeel runs second,” Messara said at the time.

“I would be happy to stand back.”

The carnival coincides with the naming of the new $150 million grandstand, which is odds-on to retain the name of the one it replaced, the Queen Elizabeth Stand.