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New casino resort cairns

Last updated: Monday, Jul 13, Redevelopment of ha of rural land into a large-scale integrated tourism resort. Stage 1 includes: An artificial lake and island within the development site A casino 5 hotels including rooms Additional facilities including: retail shopping; an aquarium; a theatre; a reef lagoon; an outdoor sport and recreation facility including an hole golf course; a convention and exhibition centre; and a cultural heritage centre Stage 2 includes: 3 additional hotels including rooms A second casino Additional facilities including: an additional theatre; retail shopping; and a rainforest.

Stage 1: construction 11, operational Stage 2: construction An additional operational. Commonwealth Minister for the Environment's approval of controlled action , subject to conditions. Additional information to the EIS being assessed by relevant government agencies. Error: Oops! An error has occurred. We've sent you an email so you can confirm your subscription. List your property. We have more than 70 million property reviews, all from real, verified guests.

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Cairns Hotels Apartments Car rental. We Price Match. I was nervous because I thought they didn't have parking facilities for my vehicle due to it's height, They were very helpful even in my stressed mood. Shaun Australia. The location was perfect. Katie Australia. Mickkel Australia. The rooms were phenomenal, the staff were all extremely friendly and helpful and location close to boardwalk and downtown where we did alot of walking.

Kimberlee United States of America. The first stay I enjoyed the breakfast buffet. Ruth United States of America. Georgy Australia. It was super cozy and clean and i liked the spa the most. Yeonju Australia. Beds were very comfy Awesome facilities Cleanliness was on point Accommodating staff Cute brekky places nearby, Cest bon was great for dinner. Aster Switzerland.

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Excellent location! Highly rated for: Great neighborhood. Highly rated for: Room sizes. Highly rated for: Very clean bathrooms. Highly rated for: Great check-in experience. Highly rated for: Great coffee. Pullman Reef Hotel Casino Reserve now. Pullman Reef Hotel Casino 9. What would you like to know? Enter your feedback I already have a booking with this property Submit.

Thank you for your time Your feedback will help us improve this feature for all of our customers Close. Missing some information? Most popular amenities 1 swimming pool. Free WiFi. Airport shuttle. Non-smoking rooms. Save the property Saved to lists. Lock in a great price for your upcoming stay Get instant confirmation with FREE cancellation at most properties on our site!

Availability We Price Match. When would you like to stay at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino? Reservations longer than 30 nights are not possible. Enter your dates to check availability. Your departure date is invalid. Check-in date. Check-out date. Something went wrong — please try again later. Junior King Suite with Spa Bath 1 king bed. Guest reviews 9. See availability. Room Breakfast Location Bed Clean. Read all reviews. See availability Got a question? Ask a question Thanks!

How close to airport. Helpful Not helpful You found this answer helpful You found this answer unhelpful. Is there earlier check in available around 10 to Do you have disability rooms. What does the breakfast include? Can 1 x roll-away single bed be added to the Junior King Suite with spa, for my 12 year son?

If so, what is the additional cost per night? Will I need to show I'd upon arrival? We are booked in Saturday night.. In superior twin room can you put beds together to make 1 bed. Hello, what time is your breakfast. Do you have pillowtop mattresses? Hi do you have room service? And any rooms with balcony smoking option.

Please can you tell me what the daily charge is for parking or is this free for paying hotel guests? Is car parking available with this room? Do you have Club rooms? Does the room have a spa bath. Any discounts for local rates? Thank you. Do you have locals discounts? What is the breakfast included? Buffett or room service ect? See more questions Previous question and answers from this property See what other travelers asked before staying at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino Most recent questions.

Why book with us? What's nearby. Reef and Rainforest Research Centre. Restaurant The Reef Casino. Top attractions. Closest Airports. Actual travel distances may vary. Are you missing any information about this area? Outdoors Outdoor furniture Sun deck Terrace Garden.

Pets Pets are not allowed. Internet Free! Parking Private parking is possible on site reservation is needed and charges apply. Accessible parking Electric vehicle charging station Street parking Secure parking. Outdoor swimming pool Free! What topic s do you want to know more about?

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Back to property. Missing some info? Child policies Children of all ages are welcome. Children 12 and above are considered adults at this property. Crib by request. This property doesn't offer extra beds. All cribs and extra beds are subject to availability. No age restriction There's no age requirement for check-in. Groups When booking more than 7 rooms, different policies and additional supplements may apply. Cards accepted at this hotel Pullman Reef Hotel Casino accepts these cards and reserves the right to temporarily hold an amount prior to arrival.

Please note that there is a 1. How close to the beach is Pullman Reef Hotel Casino? What are the check-in and check-out times at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino? Does Pullman Reef Hotel Casino have a restaurant on site? Does Pullman Reef Hotel Casino have a pool? Yes, this hotel has a pool. See details about the pool and other facilities on this page. What is there to do at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino? How much does it cost to stay at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino? What kind of breakfast is served at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino?

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Resorts 1. Show more. Free Wifi 4. Breakfast included 0. Pool 4. Distance from. Cairns Botanic Gardens. Atherton Tablelands. Green Island. Michaelmas Cay. Traveler rating. Hotel class. Budget 1. Mid-range 2. Luxury 1. Family-friendly 2. Top Parks 2. Rydges 2. Hilton Hotels 2. Clear all filters. Sort by:. Updating list Pullman Reef Hotel Casino. Show Prices. Taking safety measures. Special offer. Special Rate Australia special rates. Visit hotel website.

Ramada by Wyndham Cairns City Centre. Comfort Inn Cairns City. No other properties match all your filters. Special Offer Book Direct and Save. Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort. Special Offer Package deal. Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort. Hilton Cairns. Mantra Esplanade Cairns. Pullman Cairns International. Cairns Colonial Club Resort.

Rydges Esplanade Resort Cairns. Bailey, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel and Residence. Flynn, a Crystalbrook Collection Hotel. Small Hotel. Displacing that land and building it up however causes issues with the movement of water and flooding. So you put high places where it currently goes and you end up with water going to others. Cathy Van Extel : To the contrary, the Fungs say massive earthworks will reshape the landscape and flood-proof the resort, without creating problems for surrounding areas.

Justin Fung says the resort has been specifically designed to mitigate the flood risks. Justin Fung : We came up with a very creative solution along with architects and engineers to make sure that not only did we not negatively impact our neighbours but we're actually going to have a positive effect on the flooding issues in the surrounding areas, and if you look at the EIS it's a very comprehensively addressed issue.

Cathy Van Extel : That 'creative solution' contained in the Environmental Impact Statement is to build the resort island seven and a half metres above sea level, while the 33 hectare artificial lake and channels in the surrounding land are also flood mitigation measures. But one of the nation's leading cyclone experts Jon Nott, a Professor of Geosciences at the nearby James Cook University, says the resort site is dangerous. Jon Nott : It's on the flood plain of the Barron River. It's in an exceptionally storm surge-prone area.

We've got tropical cyclones and storm surge and river flooding in a wet tropical environment. And you couldn't put it in a more dangerous or vulnerable location than they are putting it. Cathy Van Extel : Professor Nott says the Environmental Impact Statement for the Aquis development is missing critical information on flood mitigation.

Jon Nott : All the workings-out behind the conclusions were not provided, so that makes it very, very difficult for anybody with any level of expertise in these areas to be able to assess the veracity of the conclusions and the quality of the maps etcetera that were produced in that EIS. Cathy Van Extel : The EIS acknowledges climate change, and that's why the resort's island is seven and a half metres high. Jon Nott says that area hasn't experienced major inundation since the s, but the Cairns region has entered a climate phase that could see a return of big floods.

Jon Nott : With global climate change and the increased intensity of rainfall events and flooding events we can expect to see much bigger floods. There's also natural climate variations which we are now just entering into a phase which makes it much more conducive to get big floodings over the next few decades.

And also we really are long overdue for a major cyclone in Cairns. So if, for example, a cyclone Yasi came through, instead this time it crossed just to the north of Cairns, somewhere between Cairns and Port Douglas, this resort would be impacted by waves and storm surge washing through there. It can have major impacts to buildings, it can put people in danger, all of those issues that are associated with these hazards.

There's the famous Skyrail to the mountain village of Kuranda, as well as more active adventures like white water rafting on the Barron River, which cuts its way through the mountains down to the Coral Sea just past the Aquis site.

In the upper reaches of the Barron River, a group of tourists is being given a safety briefing for a rafting trip through the sheer cliffs of Barron Gorge. Raging Thunder director Fred Arial is one of the pioneers of Cairns adventure tourism. He's experienced the highs of the '90s Japanese boom to the lows of the Asian financial crisis and the GFC, and the negative impact of the high Australian dollar.

He says tourists are starting to return but many businesses are still trying to recover. Fred Arial : It has been devastating and everybody's downsized. You'd have to take two steps back to go one forward. We've all done that. It's had a clean-out, we've seen it before. It was as bad as this, if not worse, in the pilots' strike in the late '80s. There will be other hiccups in the future but for now the future looks very bright. Cathy Van Extel : Part of that bright future is the expectation that the Aquis resort will go ahead.

Fred Arial : It's the single best news we've ever had since the opening of the Cairns International Airport and we're delighted as a group of people here in Cairns, not just tourism. The group of business people and most of the private residents are in favour of this project and it's a great thing.

Any single investment of that magnitude is a good thing for this town. We have one of the highest unemployment rates in Australia and certainly in Queensland, and anything that diminishes that has got to be great. Anything that brings in additional people in the town. Cathy Van Extel : The Aquis vision is built around big forecast growth in the number of Chinese tourists to Australia.

Fred Arial is seeing more on his tours and he says the Chinese are increasingly adventurous:. Fred Arial : They don't just all eat at Chinese restaurants. They don't just do a simple little boat tour out to the reef. As we're witnessing right now, they're getting into the hard-core adventure tourism and self-drive market. It surprised me but you get a group of them together and they'll hire a vehicle here in Cairns, usually a Bongo van, and travel south from here.

So this is a gateway to the Asian market. It's great. The Chinese are fantastic spenders too. They've got an eye for a dollar, they know what a bargain is a bargain but they do spend. Cathy Van Extel : The suburb of Yorkeys Knob is named after a metre high lush tropical headland at the edge of the Coral Sea, a haven to birds and expensive homes. When the Aquis plans were unveiled last year, the local business group renamed itself the Yorkeys Knob Community Progress Association to get behind the project.

It's a rival to Pam Bigelow's Residents Association. The president is real estate agent Rard Changizi. Rard Changizi : I think it's a fantastic opportunity for Queensland and for Australia. For Yorkeys Knob in particular it's brilliant. I don't see any negatives in it at all. Cathy Van Extel : He believes the majority of people in Yorkeys support Aquis going ahead because the community stands to reap huge benefits.

Rard Changizi : In opportunities to grow businesses, in opportunities of increases in values in their properties, but more so it allows us to build an economy which is different to what we have at this moment in time in that we will have a supporting industry that supports Aquis from external. Rard Changizi : I think eventually what you'll find is the visitors will want to see outside of the resort itself and they will come and travel, and being that we are the closest place to the resort they will come to us first.

It's also where tour operator Ross Miller keeps his metre luxury motor yacht Aroona. Ross Miller : We do day-trips and we do week-long trips. It holds up to nine guests, and five crew. I can take you down and have a look if you want. Come on down the stairs.

He has mixed feelings about the Aquis development. Ross Miller : I'm sure the resort will boost our business. I'm sure something like Aroona will certainly benefit. And Yorkeys is quite a sleepy quiet town. It's a little bit daunting, the size of the resort, that's for sure, and a little concern of some of the infrastructure and other things.

There's certainly a lot of worry about the town, you know, can Cairns handle something of this size. What happens to our water rates, what happens to the supply of water? Can we supply enough water to the numbers they're talking about? And then you go, well, what about the highways? You know, you try and drive through the traffic now in the mornings to Cairns and it's bumper to bumper.

So what's in place in planning and going to happen to make sure that things will flow smoothly with this many people coming into Cairns? Cairns tourism ad : As one of Australia's most popular holiday destinations, Cairns is well set up for visitors, with a picturesque harbour, air conditioned shopping malls and classic Australian pubs…. Cathy Van Extel : Tourism is central to the Cairns economy.

As the gateway to world heritage reef and rainforest, the city attracts more than two million visitors a year. But Cairns has struggled since the tourism downturn. Bob Manning : All boats rise on an incoming tide.

I expect to that to happen around our city, that we're going to see everything lift up on this. I think there is good in this for everybody. There will be some issues that may be contentious, there may be some issues we're going to struggle with a little bit, but this is part of growing pains.

Much, much prefer to have growing pains than going the other way. Cathy Van Extel : If the mega resort goes ahead, Cairns will experience a population explosion. Aquis has plans to employ 20, resort staff, and together with their families the population is expected to increase by a whopping 50, That's like adding another city the size of Gladstone, all in less than a decade.

On top of that, the resort forecasts a million extra visitors a year. Aquis Aware president Pam Bigelow predicts there will be costly problems. Pam Bigelow : We'll have massive impacts on housing, water, sewerage, waste transfer, road access, traffic are all issues that haven't been dealt with adequately in the EIS and we have no idea of who's going to pay for those.

We're very close to being short on water. Even though we get a lot of rain here, it's the capture that isn't there to provide sufficient water for a massive increase in population, about by 50, people. A high-end luxury facility with more hotel rooms than Surfers Paradise also will obviously use a lot more water.

Cathy Van Extel : Much of the responsibility for managing the massive infrastructure challenges will rest with the Cairns Regional Council which has employed a large consulting firm to handle the project. Bob Manning : I suspect that there won't be one part of the operations of this city which isn't effected in some ways, whether it's schools, whether it's police, whether it's health services, whether it's buses, whether it's the corner store.

And I suspect that some of that will take a little bit of time to work through. Cathy Van Extel : The council has endorsed the project in its submission to the Queensland Coordinator General who will recommend whether the Aquis resort should go ahead. Unlike others who have made their submissions public, the council is keeping its response private. The Mayor denies the council has something to hide. Bob Manning : The Coordinator General will not be posting them on their website.

They're being kept confidential until he's made his report to the government. That's a decision you've made? Bob Manning : That's his decision on his website. Now, if we were then to release what he's keeping confidential, that would prejudice his work. We have put out a community statement whereby we've at least got something out there telling people what's going on.

Cathy Van Extel : Do you understand that people naturally wonder what you're not releasing, what you're hiding by not making that public? Bob Manning : Cathy, I will come back to what I said before, we would make anything available to people. We've got nothing to hide here. We are simply following a process, you know, it's part of a process. Cathy Van Extel : The council's community statement says there's a need for further information about housing and infrastructure and the cumulative impacts of the resort development.

Bob Manning says the council is looking to bring forward its plans to deal with population growth. Bob Manning : We've been working now for about five or six months on our water strategy and we would expect to release our initial report on that about November of this year.

We are very much looking at a new supply and so we're in discussions now with the state government and with the federal government. Cathy Van Extel : So you're indicating there that you believe these infrastructure hurdles can be dealt with, then the question is, well, who ends up paying for it and how much of the burden is likely to land with the ratepayer?

Cathy Van Extel : Well, Cathy, bear in mind it's capital works so it's works that will be funded either by ourselves, the state or by Aquis, and if it's our funding it'll probably be done as part of borrowings. Our financial position as a council is very, very strong and we've accommodated Aquis within this to the best of our ability.

I don't expect us to be passing on any burden to ratepayers. Cathy Van Extel : Bob Manning isn't ruling out the possibility of rate rises, and for now there are very big questions about who'll foot the bill for major infrastructure upgrades.

The mayor wants a cost sharing arrangement between council, the state and Aquis. Neither the developer nor the Newman government is willing to make any public commitments on infrastructure. Queensland's State Infrastructure Minister Jeff Seeney didn't respond to Background Briefing 's request for an interview, but visiting the Aquis site in July he gave strong support for the project:.

Jeff Seeney : Our government is very keen to do everything we can to make sure that this proposal does become a reality. Cathy Van Extel : Mr Seeney says a range of government departments are assessing the potential impacts of the project. He had this say when asked whether the developers would be required to chip in for infrastructure.

Jeff Seeney : They are all valid questions that will be addressed in the approvals process, both in state approvals process and probably more particularly in the DA process through the council. Cathy Van Extel : Helga Biro is a social worker in Cairns who understands just how badly the city needs an economic boost that a major project like Aquis could deliver. Helga Biro : We imagine that there will be a flood of people brought in, and hopefully locals will be employed in the building of this, but with that additional amount of people, there's already over 2, homeless people here, it will put a strain on the lodging infrastructure.

Helga Biro : I can understand people's enthusiasm about the economic benefits, especially in a town that has got a high unemployment rate. We're always seeking to find better ways to keep people employed. You know, our city economic people are constantly looking at diversity so that we're not so reliant upon the tourism industry.

I'm just not sure the economic benefit is going to outweigh the possible…the potential social disadvantage that a casino could bring. Doug Flockhart : Any entrepreneur or any large project always sells the dream to the community with all the positives. It would be good for Cairns, it would create more jobs, more infrastructure and everything that goes with that. So they're all the positives. But often we're like rabbits in the headlights that we don't look beyond the headlines and delve a little more deeply.

Cathy Van Extel : A key element of the Fung's business case for the resort is attracting some of the world's gambling elite. The most sought after are known as 'whales', capable of wagering millions in a session. Doug Flockart is sceptical about Aquis' ability to attract these high rollers in big enough numbers. Doug Flockhart : It's extremely competitive, vying for that market, whether it be a high roller, you know, at the top end, or a middle to low market, I would suggest it's extremely competitive and getting more so given the new casinos that are being built in Manilla and all around that Asia Pacific area.

Cathy Van Extel : There are multi-billion dollar integrated resorts planned across Asia over the next five years. In Macau alone, six are due to open by Queensland has plans for three multi-billion dollar integrated resorts, in Brisbane, on the Gold Coast, as well as Cairns. Doug Flockhart : We don't have the populace, for example, that Macau has with an adjoining border of China where , people cross the border every day to gamble.

So what it means is we've got to bring them here, either as tourists or specifically to gamble. Again, when you look at the math and you look at the competition by way of the growth in the Asia Pacific rim with new casinos that are on the board and the existing casino offers, you've got to ask yourself pragmatically are people going to travel the extra distance or not. And our investigations suggest not.

Cathy Van Extel : Cairns is the closest western city to China. Tony Fung believes the seven-hour flight from Guangzhou is short enough to encourage people to travel just to Cairns. Tony Fung : That makes a difference between coming over once a year or three times a year. That makes a difference in the mindset of even coming down for a long weekend, and we certainly are going to market our resort as part of the Asia Pacific region.

The Fungs say the resort can't go ahead without a casino licence, so, as insurance, they've engineered a friendly takeover of the small Reef Casino in the Cairns CBD. If they don't get the new Cairns casino licence that's on offer, the Fungs will try to transfer the Reef licence to the Yorkeys Knob site.

Justin Fung says having the Reef Casino will help fast-track the Aquis project and build momentum for its opening. Justin Fung : When we have the opportunity to acquire the Reef, to start our training, to start building our clientele, to become familiar with the area, to start bringing flights in, bringing in our casino operation staff that might be able to assist with getting international clients, all of these things, creating the Aquis brand name early and getting people training appropriately, these are really important, as opposed to developing the Aquis site and opening on day one cold.

If Aquis gets up and the high rollers come, they are going to have to lose a lot of money for the project to succeed. Sudhir Kale is a consultant for Macau Sands, one of the biggest casinos in the world. He's an expert in casino management and has crunched the Aquis numbers.

Justin Fung confirms those numbers, but he says it's achievable based on the projected growth in Chinese tourist numbers to Australia. Justin Fung : It sounds ambitious when you say it like that, but with what we see the market being in the coming years, we don't think that we're being overly ambitious. We think we're being quite reasonable. Cathy Van Extel : Aquis intends to generate the bulk of its casino revenue from international visitors, both high rollers and other tourists.

It's a business model no other Australia casino has ever been able to make work. Sudhir Kale : Nowhere in Australia has there been a situation where a casino depends on overseas visitors or even interstate visitors for its bread and butter. Aquis will be a very interesting experiment, if you will, and a fairly large-scale experiment where they are targeting overseas visitors for the bulk of their revenue. Cathy Van Extel : It's an experiment that is likely to fail with disastrous consequences for Cairns' residents, according to anti-gambling campaigner Tim Costello.

In the industry it's known as the grind. Tim Costello : The truth is that people who are locals, particularly those within a kilometre radius are the ones who play at the casino, and they play pokies much more than the tables. The dressing up, which is a very familiar chorus now for those of us who follow this, that 'Oh no, this is different, this is going to be overseas people and it's not going to touch the locals' has been proved wrong every time.

Cathy Van Extel : Aquis wants gaming tables and 1, poker machines. The clubs themselves don't want to talk about the Aquis project. They're leaving it to Clubs Queensland boss Doug Flockhart, who says it won't be Asian tourists playing the pokies.

ON THE RUN GAME 2

They each have an iPod docking station, a mini bar and a spa bath. Specializing in Thai dishes, Pullman Reef Cairns's on-site restaurant provides a range of meals for guests to enjoy. Alternatively, there are a selection of other eating options nearby. Pullman Reef Casino is surrounded by the area's tourist attractions, including Cairns Central, which is a short walk away. No, Pullman Reef Hotel Casino does not offer free parking.

No, Pullman Reef Hotel Casino does not offer free airport shuttle service. Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is 3. Pullman Reef Hotel Casino is No, pets are not allowed at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino. Yes, Pullman Reef Hotel Casino has a pool onsite. Skip to main content. Try HotelPlanner. Compare vs. KAYAK all none. Provider Nightly total Agoda. View deal. Nearby hotels. Bed type. King bed.

Pros "Fabulous staff, beautiful room" in reviews "Superb hotel excellent staff" in reviews "Well appointed rooms, great location. Cons " Pool area smelled like stale take away food" in 11 reviews "Upon arrival I was asked if our visit was for a special occasion. Show reviews that mention. Location, views, comfort. The room was excellent and the staff were very friendly. The sauna was out of order. Hotel has a small fitness and equipment.

It was in a good position,and the staff were friendly I thought that the prices of food and drink were too high. Good location, close to conference centre, staff helpful, rooms clean, pool available No. All round excellent experience. Well done Pullman! The huge comfortable bed. No reviews found. Try removing a filter, changing your search, or clear all to view reviews.

Amenities ATM on-site. Screens or physical barriers placed between staff and guests in appropriate areas. Use of cleaning chemicals that are effective against coronavirus. All plates, cutlery, glasses and other tableware have been sanitized. Staff follow all safety protocols as directed by local authorities.

When is check-in time and check-out time at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino? Pullman Reef Hotel Casino Hotel. Excellent Based on 1, reviews. Cheapest deals Nightly total Agoda. Check prices. Deal Filters 0. Nightly base price. Rating Summary Cleanliness 9. Comfort 9. Facilities Location 9. Services 9. Staff 9. Value for money 8. Who stays here?

Families with young children. Young couples. Groups of friends. Solo travelers. Business travelers. Top comments Wonderful Stay. Hotel Pullman Reef. About Pullman Reef Hotel Casino. Good to Know Distance to city centre. All policies. Top Features Free parking. Free airport shuttle. Free Wi-Fi. Pet friendly. All amenities. Photos of Pullman Reef Hotel Casino. All photos Bedroom 9.

Pool 5.

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List of the world s largest casinos Check availability. Good for couples — they rated the facilities 9. Try again? Relax in a comfortable armchair and enjoy the perfect espresso care of Wolff Coffee Roasters, along with a delicious choice of house made treats. Good Morning, Yes, our mattress is pillowtop mattress. Pullman Reef Hotel features a rooftop swimming pool, spa pool and sauna.
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Dota 2 review game informer All photos Previous Next 1 2 3 4 5 6 … We hope to welcome you back to our hotel very soon! See cheapest hotels in Cairns. No, pets are not allowed at Pullman Reef Hotel Casino. If you have any further questions please call out friendly front office staff who can assist you on 07
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Hilton Hotels 2. Clear all filters. Sort by:. Updating list Pullman Reef Hotel Casino. Show Prices. Taking safety measures. Special offer. Special Rate Australia special rates. Visit hotel website. Ramada by Wyndham Cairns City Centre. Comfort Inn Cairns City. No other properties match all your filters. Special Offer Book Direct and Save. Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort. Special Offer Package deal. Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort. Hilton Cairns. Mantra Esplanade Cairns.

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Sunshine Tower Hotel. Palm Royale Cairns. BreakFree Royal Harbour Cairns. Prices are the average nightly price provided by our partners and may not include all taxes and fees. Taxes and fees that are shown are estimates only. Tony Fung : I have no experience in resort development, but as a businessman the family has been in business for three generations, so I've seen how things are done.

If more tourists were to be exposed to these two world heritage sites—the Daintree forest and the Great Barrier Reef—it would astound them. You know, with all the integrated resorts that's coming up all over the world, nothing can compare with the natural resource that we have here, and then from there onward it's all manmade.

Cathy Van Extel : This will be an enormous development in an area that's been ignored by developers in the past. Crisscrossed by crocodile inhabited creeks, it's a flood plain that is regularly inundated. Aquis has secured a five-year option to buy this land. Just how much they've agreed to pay the seven local cane farmers who own it is confidential.

The biggest landholder is year-old Frank Pappalardo who's worked the property since the 's. He gave up farming eight years ago after too many difficult years. Frank Pappalardo : When I was working myself and the price was good, I made money. But then the price kept going down and down, and since I leased it I think I just get enough money to pay the rates.

Cathy Van Extel : When Tony Fung approached Frank Pappalardo to sell, the old cane farmer asked his grandson Frankie, a local pharmacist, whether he wanted to continue the family farming tradition. Frank Pappalardo : So then I said, 'Frankie, your decision is more than mine. If I'm not here would you carry on the farm? Cathy Van Extel : Frank Pappalardo is one of those who thinks the Aquis resort will be a good thing for Cairns and that it'll bring the region a new era of prosperity.

But others wonder at what cost. The community is divided. A short drive east of Frank Pappalardo's farm is the Yorkeys Knob suburb, population 2, Pam Bigelow is the president of the Yorkeys Knob Residents Association, she's lived here for 22 years. Pam Bigelow : Yorkeys Knob is a small village community on the beach, separated from the rest of Cairns by seven kilometres of road that goes through cane fields which flood in summer. So it's quite an isolated little quiet pocket.

Very strong family community, it's been a fabulous place for children, it's been safe. It's just been a pretty idyllic lifestyle really for families. Cathy Van Extel : Pam Bigelow is also president of the Aquis Aware Coalition of Concerned Citizens, which has around members and is spearheading community opposition to the mega casino resort. Pam Bigelow : I don't see massive casinos and family life really cohabitating particularly well.

I don't see any evidence of that anywhere that I've researched, quite the opposite. It is like Las Vegas coming to Cairns. It is a massive, massive development. People are confused, they're a little bit afraid, and those that really want it are quite aggressive about that line and don't want to hear or allow any discussion about the pros and cons. Cathy Van Extel : As you drive out of Yorkeys Knob, the Aquis resort site extends for six kilometres on both sides of the road.

Pam Bigelow : It's started already. That last house back there is it, so it's right along here. These houses will all look at it. Apparently it's going to be screened by trees but I don't know about the light and the 20 storeys will be well above the treeline. So you keep going and it keeps going. Cathy Van Extel : Currently the only development on that road is a service station that sits up high on a manmade hill.

Pam Bigelow says this road, which is the only way into and out of Yorkeys Knob, is cut off each year by flooding of the Barron River. Pam Bigelow : It's really doing something that no-one who decided to live here, however many years ago, ever thought could happen. To have something built on that area was considered impossible because it is the Barron River delta and it floods really, really reliably and regularly.

It's a very desirable area. It's, you know, great housing potential but it's not suitable. Displacing that land and building it up however causes issues with the movement of water and flooding. So you put high places where it currently goes and you end up with water going to others. Cathy Van Extel : To the contrary, the Fungs say massive earthworks will reshape the landscape and flood-proof the resort, without creating problems for surrounding areas.

Justin Fung says the resort has been specifically designed to mitigate the flood risks. Justin Fung : We came up with a very creative solution along with architects and engineers to make sure that not only did we not negatively impact our neighbours but we're actually going to have a positive effect on the flooding issues in the surrounding areas, and if you look at the EIS it's a very comprehensively addressed issue.

Cathy Van Extel : That 'creative solution' contained in the Environmental Impact Statement is to build the resort island seven and a half metres above sea level, while the 33 hectare artificial lake and channels in the surrounding land are also flood mitigation measures. But one of the nation's leading cyclone experts Jon Nott, a Professor of Geosciences at the nearby James Cook University, says the resort site is dangerous.

Jon Nott : It's on the flood plain of the Barron River. It's in an exceptionally storm surge-prone area. We've got tropical cyclones and storm surge and river flooding in a wet tropical environment. And you couldn't put it in a more dangerous or vulnerable location than they are putting it.

Cathy Van Extel : Professor Nott says the Environmental Impact Statement for the Aquis development is missing critical information on flood mitigation. Jon Nott : All the workings-out behind the conclusions were not provided, so that makes it very, very difficult for anybody with any level of expertise in these areas to be able to assess the veracity of the conclusions and the quality of the maps etcetera that were produced in that EIS.

Cathy Van Extel : The EIS acknowledges climate change, and that's why the resort's island is seven and a half metres high. Jon Nott says that area hasn't experienced major inundation since the s, but the Cairns region has entered a climate phase that could see a return of big floods. Jon Nott : With global climate change and the increased intensity of rainfall events and flooding events we can expect to see much bigger floods. There's also natural climate variations which we are now just entering into a phase which makes it much more conducive to get big floodings over the next few decades.

And also we really are long overdue for a major cyclone in Cairns. So if, for example, a cyclone Yasi came through, instead this time it crossed just to the north of Cairns, somewhere between Cairns and Port Douglas, this resort would be impacted by waves and storm surge washing through there. It can have major impacts to buildings, it can put people in danger, all of those issues that are associated with these hazards.

There's the famous Skyrail to the mountain village of Kuranda, as well as more active adventures like white water rafting on the Barron River, which cuts its way through the mountains down to the Coral Sea just past the Aquis site. In the upper reaches of the Barron River, a group of tourists is being given a safety briefing for a rafting trip through the sheer cliffs of Barron Gorge.

Raging Thunder director Fred Arial is one of the pioneers of Cairns adventure tourism. He's experienced the highs of the '90s Japanese boom to the lows of the Asian financial crisis and the GFC, and the negative impact of the high Australian dollar.

He says tourists are starting to return but many businesses are still trying to recover. Fred Arial : It has been devastating and everybody's downsized. You'd have to take two steps back to go one forward. We've all done that.

It's had a clean-out, we've seen it before. It was as bad as this, if not worse, in the pilots' strike in the late '80s. There will be other hiccups in the future but for now the future looks very bright. Cathy Van Extel : Part of that bright future is the expectation that the Aquis resort will go ahead. Fred Arial : It's the single best news we've ever had since the opening of the Cairns International Airport and we're delighted as a group of people here in Cairns, not just tourism.

The group of business people and most of the private residents are in favour of this project and it's a great thing. Any single investment of that magnitude is a good thing for this town. We have one of the highest unemployment rates in Australia and certainly in Queensland, and anything that diminishes that has got to be great.

Anything that brings in additional people in the town. Cathy Van Extel : The Aquis vision is built around big forecast growth in the number of Chinese tourists to Australia. Fred Arial is seeing more on his tours and he says the Chinese are increasingly adventurous:. Fred Arial : They don't just all eat at Chinese restaurants. They don't just do a simple little boat tour out to the reef.

As we're witnessing right now, they're getting into the hard-core adventure tourism and self-drive market. It surprised me but you get a group of them together and they'll hire a vehicle here in Cairns, usually a Bongo van, and travel south from here. So this is a gateway to the Asian market. It's great. The Chinese are fantastic spenders too.

They've got an eye for a dollar, they know what a bargain is a bargain but they do spend. Cathy Van Extel : The suburb of Yorkeys Knob is named after a metre high lush tropical headland at the edge of the Coral Sea, a haven to birds and expensive homes.

When the Aquis plans were unveiled last year, the local business group renamed itself the Yorkeys Knob Community Progress Association to get behind the project. It's a rival to Pam Bigelow's Residents Association. The president is real estate agent Rard Changizi. Rard Changizi : I think it's a fantastic opportunity for Queensland and for Australia. For Yorkeys Knob in particular it's brilliant.

I don't see any negatives in it at all. Cathy Van Extel : He believes the majority of people in Yorkeys support Aquis going ahead because the community stands to reap huge benefits. Rard Changizi : In opportunities to grow businesses, in opportunities of increases in values in their properties, but more so it allows us to build an economy which is different to what we have at this moment in time in that we will have a supporting industry that supports Aquis from external.

Rard Changizi : I think eventually what you'll find is the visitors will want to see outside of the resort itself and they will come and travel, and being that we are the closest place to the resort they will come to us first. It's also where tour operator Ross Miller keeps his metre luxury motor yacht Aroona. Ross Miller : We do day-trips and we do week-long trips. It holds up to nine guests, and five crew. I can take you down and have a look if you want. Come on down the stairs. He has mixed feelings about the Aquis development.

Ross Miller : I'm sure the resort will boost our business. I'm sure something like Aroona will certainly benefit. And Yorkeys is quite a sleepy quiet town. It's a little bit daunting, the size of the resort, that's for sure, and a little concern of some of the infrastructure and other things. There's certainly a lot of worry about the town, you know, can Cairns handle something of this size. What happens to our water rates, what happens to the supply of water?

Can we supply enough water to the numbers they're talking about? And then you go, well, what about the highways? You know, you try and drive through the traffic now in the mornings to Cairns and it's bumper to bumper. So what's in place in planning and going to happen to make sure that things will flow smoothly with this many people coming into Cairns? Cairns tourism ad : As one of Australia's most popular holiday destinations, Cairns is well set up for visitors, with a picturesque harbour, air conditioned shopping malls and classic Australian pubs….

Cathy Van Extel : Tourism is central to the Cairns economy. As the gateway to world heritage reef and rainforest, the city attracts more than two million visitors a year. But Cairns has struggled since the tourism downturn. Bob Manning : All boats rise on an incoming tide. I expect to that to happen around our city, that we're going to see everything lift up on this. I think there is good in this for everybody. There will be some issues that may be contentious, there may be some issues we're going to struggle with a little bit, but this is part of growing pains.

Much, much prefer to have growing pains than going the other way. Cathy Van Extel : If the mega resort goes ahead, Cairns will experience a population explosion. Aquis has plans to employ 20, resort staff, and together with their families the population is expected to increase by a whopping 50, That's like adding another city the size of Gladstone, all in less than a decade. On top of that, the resort forecasts a million extra visitors a year.

Aquis Aware president Pam Bigelow predicts there will be costly problems. Pam Bigelow : We'll have massive impacts on housing, water, sewerage, waste transfer, road access, traffic are all issues that haven't been dealt with adequately in the EIS and we have no idea of who's going to pay for those.

We're very close to being short on water. Even though we get a lot of rain here, it's the capture that isn't there to provide sufficient water for a massive increase in population, about by 50, people.

A high-end luxury facility with more hotel rooms than Surfers Paradise also will obviously use a lot more water. Cathy Van Extel : Much of the responsibility for managing the massive infrastructure challenges will rest with the Cairns Regional Council which has employed a large consulting firm to handle the project. Bob Manning : I suspect that there won't be one part of the operations of this city which isn't effected in some ways, whether it's schools, whether it's police, whether it's health services, whether it's buses, whether it's the corner store.

And I suspect that some of that will take a little bit of time to work through. Cathy Van Extel : The council has endorsed the project in its submission to the Queensland Coordinator General who will recommend whether the Aquis resort should go ahead.

Unlike others who have made their submissions public, the council is keeping its response private. The Mayor denies the council has something to hide. Bob Manning : The Coordinator General will not be posting them on their website. They're being kept confidential until he's made his report to the government.

That's a decision you've made? Bob Manning : That's his decision on his website. Now, if we were then to release what he's keeping confidential, that would prejudice his work. We have put out a community statement whereby we've at least got something out there telling people what's going on.

Cathy Van Extel : Do you understand that people naturally wonder what you're not releasing, what you're hiding by not making that public? Bob Manning : Cathy, I will come back to what I said before, we would make anything available to people. We've got nothing to hide here.

We are simply following a process, you know, it's part of a process. Cathy Van Extel : The council's community statement says there's a need for further information about housing and infrastructure and the cumulative impacts of the resort development. Bob Manning says the council is looking to bring forward its plans to deal with population growth.

Bob Manning : We've been working now for about five or six months on our water strategy and we would expect to release our initial report on that about November of this year. We are very much looking at a new supply and so we're in discussions now with the state government and with the federal government.

Cathy Van Extel : So you're indicating there that you believe these infrastructure hurdles can be dealt with, then the question is, well, who ends up paying for it and how much of the burden is likely to land with the ratepayer? Cathy Van Extel : Well, Cathy, bear in mind it's capital works so it's works that will be funded either by ourselves, the state or by Aquis, and if it's our funding it'll probably be done as part of borrowings.

Our financial position as a council is very, very strong and we've accommodated Aquis within this to the best of our ability. I don't expect us to be passing on any burden to ratepayers. Cathy Van Extel : Bob Manning isn't ruling out the possibility of rate rises, and for now there are very big questions about who'll foot the bill for major infrastructure upgrades.

The mayor wants a cost sharing arrangement between council, the state and Aquis. Neither the developer nor the Newman government is willing to make any public commitments on infrastructure. Queensland's State Infrastructure Minister Jeff Seeney didn't respond to Background Briefing 's request for an interview, but visiting the Aquis site in July he gave strong support for the project:. Jeff Seeney : Our government is very keen to do everything we can to make sure that this proposal does become a reality.

Cathy Van Extel : Mr Seeney says a range of government departments are assessing the potential impacts of the project. He had this say when asked whether the developers would be required to chip in for infrastructure.

Jeff Seeney : They are all valid questions that will be addressed in the approvals process, both in state approvals process and probably more particularly in the DA process through the council. Cathy Van Extel : Helga Biro is a social worker in Cairns who understands just how badly the city needs an economic boost that a major project like Aquis could deliver.

Helga Biro : We imagine that there will be a flood of people brought in, and hopefully locals will be employed in the building of this, but with that additional amount of people, there's already over 2, homeless people here, it will put a strain on the lodging infrastructure. Helga Biro : I can understand people's enthusiasm about the economic benefits, especially in a town that has got a high unemployment rate.

We're always seeking to find better ways to keep people employed. You know, our city economic people are constantly looking at diversity so that we're not so reliant upon the tourism industry.

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Again, when you look at workings-out behind the conclusions were of increases in values in their properties, but more so it allows us to build an economy which is different amount of people, there's already veracity of the conclusions and yourself pragmatically are people going supporting industry that supports Aquis from external. You know, our city economic the resort development on that and we've accommodated Aquis within going to others. The president is real estate the tourism downturn. Pam Bigelow : It's started. Properties with special offers. As the gateway to world you drive out of Yorkeys hollywood casino lawrenceburg news it is the Barron River delta and it floods. Displacing cairns land and building predicts there will be costly. Cathy Van Extel : The in a more dangerous or vulnerable location than they are and flooding. To have something built on the contrary, the Fungs say that's for sure, and a little concern of some of become a reality. Rard Changizi : In opportunities competitive, vying for that market, at the competition by way of the growth in the Asia Pacific rim with new expertise in these areas to be able to assess the this moment in time in new casinos that are being to travel the extra distance around that Asia Pacific area.

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