A new render of the proposed $4.2 billion Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort has been released for the project’s Environmental Impact Statement to be assessed by the QLD Government.

The artist impression shows the transformation of the former agricultural site, Yorkleys Knob into a 73ha resort (on a 342ha site) that will include nine luxury hotels, an 18-hole golf course, a 25,000-seat stadium and a cultural heritage centre.

The news is the latest in a series of feeds fuelled by the QLD state government’s recent pledge to develop up to three casinos and resorts in the state.Other areas on the list for a casino are The Queen’s Wharf in Brisbane, Great Keppel Island, Airlie Beach and Broadwater and Nerang from the Gold Coast.

The public response to the Aquis Resort has been mixed but mostly in favour of the build for its economic benefit in the flood ravaged state. 

Above: Front view of the new render for the Aquis Resort.
Belove: The render in Sky view.  Images: Cairns Post

Barron River MP Michael Trout told the Cairns Post that he was pleased with the design and believes it will get the region’s airline and aviation links up and running.

"I'm excited the developers are moving forward with the design process and are not far away from the EIS (Environmental Impact Statement)," Trout said.

"We're one step closer to more jobs and getting Cairns back on its feet."

The Old design render. Image: www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/

Above: An old artist impression of the resort. Image: Image: www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/

Others don’t share Trout’s enthusiasm and a Cairns Lifestyle report suggests that the grandeur of the project is unpopular with some residents.

“When you throw the word ‘mega’ into any sentence, it almost never implies subtlety and Aquis is no exception. Although labelled ‘innovative’, ‘modern’ and even ‘breathtaking’ by some, many now, after seeing the plans, refer to the resort as ‘intrusive’, ‘unnecessary’ and ‘excessive’.”

“Some areas of the development spanning over 80m high, Aquis will undoubtedly disturb what were spectacular mountain views from the ground, looming over Cairns residents. The sheer height implies the blatant ignorance of the developers as to why Cairns is such a popular tourist destination, suggesting they have no consideration at all in maintaining what is a universally harmonious and beautiful landscape,” Cairns Lifestyle says.

The Aquis Great Barrier Reef Resort will include:

  • 9 luxury hotels with a total of 3750 rooms
  • 1200 apartments and 135 villas
  • 13,500 m2 of high-end retail shopping
  • international-class casino
  • one of the world's largest aquariums
  • 2 x 2,500-seat theatres
  • 13 ha reef lagoon
  • 65 ha lake surrounding the built form
  • 18-hole golf course
  • 25,000-seat sports stadium
  • 45,000 m2 convention and exhibition centre
  • 1800 staff-accommodation units
  • cultural heritage centre