History of Whitsunday Terraces Resort

The low hill on the eastern end of Airlie Beach overlooking the main street and Pioneer Bay was one of the first sites away from the main street to be developed. In the early 1980's, Whitsunday Terraces Resort was built as a resort hotel, on the seaward side of Golden Orchid Drive, behind the main street, Shute Harbour Road. I believe Whitsunday Terraces was the first resort hotel on a hillside in Airlie Beach.

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Booking Accommodation at Whitsunday Terraces

This web site is intended for Body Corporate owners of apartments in Whitsunday Terraces, not for potential guests. Make room bookings for accommodation at Whitsunday Terraces Resort, Airlie Beach, overlooking the Coral Sea, at the Resort Manager's web site.

Original Construction

The original plans for the Whitsunday Terraces Resort called for nine buildings, going around the top of Golden Orchid Drive. The original name was Whitsunday Village Terraces.

The lower three terraces, Anchor, Barnacle and the co-joined Cutlass, were built first, probably around 1981. The original plans done for client Robert G Porter were drawn up by Sydney architects Fox and Associates in 1980. Bob Porter was a prominent and colourful figure in early tourism development in North Queensland, who was missed when he passed away in 2007. I believe he also owned the Airlie Beach site that is now Magnums. He owned Horseshoe Bay Caravan Park near Bowen. I gather he also worked with Keith Williams from Hamilton Island.

I believe Bob Jenkins may have been the original builder. A few years later, probably around 1983, three more terraces, Driftwood, Endeavour and Florin, were built. The final planned buildings shown in 1982 drawings were never built, and the land at the top of Golden Orchid Drive was later sold off. The six completed buildings of the Whitsunday Terraces resort had around 130 rental units, all the numbered units being twin key apartments.

It seems the original developers had to sell off the partially developed Whitsunday Terraces buildings, probably around 1984. The units were sold off to individuals under Community Title, with the resort continuing on behalf of individual owners. Most new resorts use the same strata title like plan, and the developers and builders are rarely involved in resort management, the rights to which are also sold off.

Resort Competition on Golden Orchid Drive

From around 1996 to 2003, the high side of Golden Orchid Drive had about a half dozen resorts built, mostly by the same developer, Bill Sharpe. These basically ranged from about three and a half to four and a half star, mostly with improvements in the interior fittings in each new one. Concrete block construction was used, as has pretty much been the case for any resort development in the area.

The view of the sea from most of these other resorts has to be over the top of the Whitsunday Terraces. They are also mostly more elevated, so the walk up the very steep Golden Orchid Drive from the main street can be more trying.

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Resort Competition on Shute Harbour Road

Portside was constructed on Shute Harbour Road, below Cutlass and Driftwood Terraces, and completed in 2003. Being on the main street makes it more convenient to the town, with less of a hill to climb. However lack of elevation also reduces the sea view. View vs walking distance is always a trade off.

Port of Airlie Marina

The massive Port of Airlie Marina construction in Boathaven Bay was exceedingly disruptive to business along the entire eastern end of Airlie Beach. The development was as large as the rest of the town. So essentially everyone overlooking Airlie Beach also overlooked a large and often noisy construction site since 2006. Although the marina and two Boathouse Apartment buildings were completed in 2011, the area still looks very like a construction site, especially when it rains. Some grass was placed on the site towards the very end of 2011. Construction continues on piling in the marina in 2013.

Missing image construction site marinaMarina looks like construction site 14 March 2011

Construction Changes at Whitsunday Terraces

The seaward part of the formerly very large restaurant dining area on the pool, bar and reception level was converted into the Park Lane unit (207 square metres). This has a tiled central light court with fountain, raised spa, granite topped bar and nice inclusions. This change reduced the size of the restaurant dining area, to a more intimate size. However most people sit outside in any case.

The disused nightclub situated under the main swimming pool was turned into Piccadilly and Mayfair, split level units each with a large balcony. Piccadilly is 244 square metres. Mayfair is 231 square metres. The owner of these areas, John Gardner, made these changes around 1999. He subsequently sold off these units, and the Whitsunday Terraces restaurant and bar, before the end of 2003.