19 Apr 2018
PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Western Australian Minister for Tourism Hon Paul Papalia MLA turned the first sod to officially launch work on a luxury eco village development at Pinky Beach, Rottnest Island today.
This follows a $20 million joint venture deal between former ferry owner, Baileys Group, and Discovery Parks to build the environmentally sensitive eco village. The eco village has undergone an intensive application process to ensure the development preserves the island’s environmental integrity.
Nestled in the dunes behind Pinky Beach, Discovery Eco Village Rottnest Island is located just an hour from the Perth CBD and 30 minutes off the coast of Fremantle and will offer guests the chance to experience the island’s spectacular natural environment in low-impact, high-quality eco tent accommodation.
“We are excited to be partnering with Discovery Parks to help realise the vision for Pinky Beach,” Baileys Group Director Guy Bailey said.
“They are operators of quality camping and holiday parks throughout Australia, many in unique locations such as Byron Bay, Cradle Mountain and the Barossa Valley and are as passionate as we are about sharing Australian experiences with their guests.
“They will help us make the concept of a glamping retreat for Rottnest Island a reality,” Bailey said.
The eco village will be located 650 metres from the main settlement and jetty at Thomson Bay, and will offer tourists the opportunity to sleep (almost) under the stars.
Discovery Parks CEO Grant Wilckens said the retreat would have 83 eco-tents with ensuite pods, connected via elevated walkways through the dunes to the Pinky’s Beach Club complex complete with swimming pool, alfresco bar and licensed dining areas.
“The venture could not come at a more exciting time because, both in Australia and internationally, tourists are wanting to experience nature in a deeper and more connected way,” Mr Wilckens said.
“It taps into a clear need for new accommodation on the island as there’s been nothing developed for over 30 years, and certainly nothing of this calibre.
“We see the project as having significant appeal for those who want to connect with Rottnest Island’s pristine environment but do so in safety and comfort,” he said.
“Our research suggests strong demand for this type of high end ‘glamping’ accommodation on the island and we expect to have strong bookings by the scheduled opening later this year.”
Mr Bailey said currently most visitors came for the day and while day visitor numbers were increasing, overnight visitation had been stagnant not keeping up with population growth over the past 15 years. This meant significant potential to grow the numbers of overnight visitors – especially with the recent introduction of an additional ferry service.
“Rottnest Island, with its unspoilt environment, beautiful beaches and bays, quokkas and seals and water sports, offers exactly the type of experience many travellers are seeking and we expect the glamping accommodation at the Discovery Eco Village Rottnest Island will appeal to both international and domestic travellers,” Mr Bailey said.
Discovery Eco Village has been developed with the local Rottnest holiday maker very much in mind, but will also cater for visitors to Western Australia who seek out an exceptional natural experience. Accordingly, accommodation options range from affordable family tents through to a true five-star glamping experience.
The project has the full support of the Rottnest Island Authority Board and the Western Australian government.
Mr Wilckens said bringing together two experienced tourism operators, with the backing of Sunsuper, had significantly contributed to the quality of the development, and would enable many more travellers to experience the beauty of Rottnest Island, while protecting its pristine environment.
“The Baileys Group has extensive experience of the island’s tourism profile given its prior ownership of the Rottnest Express ferry service and current ownership of Thomsons Restaurant. Discovery Parks, majority owned by Sunsuper, has Australia’s largest network of holiday parks. This development will spearhead our strategy to move further into experiential tourism,” he said.
“An eco village is the ideal solution for Rottnest Island; it’s the ideal balance between meeting demand for experiential travel and to preserving the delicate coastal environment.”