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Aust Tourism Awards - Grand Slam for Qld caravan parks

February 26, 2006
Aust Tourism Awards - Grand Slam for Qld caravan parks

Australias new leading tourist and caravan park is Geoff Olholm and Jenny Tonkins Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort, Queensland of the BIG4 chain. In a Queensland Grand Slam for the caravan park industry Best Standard Accommodation went for the third year running to the Illich Family with Ashmore Palms Holiday Village, Queensland. This inducts Ashmore Palms Holiday Village into the Hall of Fame.

In the Media category the NSW Caravan and Camping Holiday Guide 2005, New South Wales took the national award in another caravan industry success story. It is available to the public freeand is one of the most popular touring guides available. The CCIA is justifiably proud of the guide, which is both an industry flagship and a significant player in promoting tourism in NSW.

Australias champions of tourism were recognised for excellence and commitment across all sectors of the industry at the annual Australian Tourism Awards, held on the Gold Coast on Friday night.

The Illich family made it a double at the previous Australian Tourism Awards in Alice Springs when their Gold Coast, Ashmore PalmsHoliday Villagetook the Award for the Best Standard Accommodation and their Brisbane Holiday Village of the Top Tourist Parks chain became Australias Best Caravan Park for 2004.

Steve Irwin with Minister for Small Business and Tourism  Fran BaileyEditor's note: Place your cursor on pictures to read the captions.
Over the past 18 years, Geoff Olholm and the team at Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort, Queensland have expanded and improved the Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort and they now offer 101 accommodation units and 177 caravan and camping sites. The resort offers visitors a self-made rainforest area and tropical award winning gardens. Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort is now the proud winner of 13 Tourism Awards.

A BIG4 Holiday Park won in the same category in all mainland State Tourism Awards, in the lead up to the Nationals Geoff Olholm, said. So we are delighted to win the national honour.

Our team has worked exceptionally hard to maintain the level of standard that guests have come to expect of a BIG4 Holiday Park, he said.

We are greatly humbled that the industry and our peers have recognised this effort.

Steve Irwin backstage with Qld Tourism Minister Margaret KeechTerry Goodall, BIG4 Holiday Parks Chief Executive Officer, told GoSeeAustralia - BIG4 Holiday Parks has reinforced its standing as the leading Holiday Park chain in Australia which is testament to our member parks hard work and commitment to the organisation, and to our guests and Club Members.

We are delighted to offer facilities and services to meet the needs of all travellers and winning the National award confirms we are definitely doing something right.

Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort is on 28 acres of immaculate grounds lush with palms, rainforest areas and tropical gardens, it is at the southern entrance to Cairns and about seven minutes drive from the city centre. Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort Tour Desk organises and books all tours, including the Kuranda Train, Skyrail, reef trips and Daintree safaris, with all operators picking up and returning to the front gate. The resort is an established leader in high standard facilities among Australias caravan parks. GoSeeAustralia found nothing but the best on a recent visit during the Qparks Conference in Cairns.

The pool comes with waterslide. There is a huge adventure playground, aqua aerobics, day/night tennis and mini golf.

A well stocked mini-mart is on site for everyday supplies, and the Tropical dining cafe serves family meals seven days a week. The resort provides first class facilities - regularly serviced andmaintained to the highest standard.

Free activities include huge adventure playground, the worlds largest giant jumping pillow, mini golf, tennis, basketball hoops, beach volleyball, and movies four times a day, aqua aerobics and pancake breakfasts.
The resort has an impressive progam for children during school holidays. Somedestinations have big bananas, giant crays, koalas and even pineapples. But in Australia, Cairns Queensland, has the worlds biggest Jumping Pillow, at the innovative Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort. It is 30m long, 16m wide, with 480M of pure jumping joy. The pleasure can also be enjoyed by the disabled.

The idea of Jumping Pillows was born in Denmark, land of the Kingaroo, 15 years ago. Maybe it was an omen!

Full details on Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort and Ashmore Palms are available on GoSeeAustralia. Just click caravan parks on the GoSeeAustralia Home Page, then Cairns and Brisbane. Or do a general search using GoSeeAustralia unique multi-search abilities by knocking in Cairns Coconut or Ashmore Palms into the General Search box.

Jenny Tonkin is an informed advocate for caravanning in Australia. At the National Caravan, RV Accommodation Industry of Australia Conference in Surfers Paradise this month, GoSeeAustralia reported that Jenny Tonkin asked for a Fair Go! for the caravan industry. In a workshop presentation she truncated a telling argument to balance current moves by some councils to turn Showgrounds and similar areas into low cost camping grounds. This trend also now includes some schools she said.

The sharp end of the points she made came down to liability - a sobering word which caravan park and industry people are all too familiar with. It is a particularly costly area and councillors and government took the point and many are reviewing the value of creating cheap caravan and RV parking against the probability of the negative results of legal actions.

Editors note: See also - Its Conference featured on GoSeeAustralias Home Page.

Cairns Coconut Caravan Resort EntranceAshmore Palms Holiday Village, Queensland is a unique Holiday Village on 15 acres of lush, landscaped grounds on the Gold Coast. The family owned and operated Village offers a range of self-contained holiday cabins to suit all tastes and budgets, along with extensive family friendly facilities, free activities and warm hospitality. Ashmore Palms is also known for its colourful South American Macaw Parrots - the biggest collection of its kind in Australia. Having received numerous tourism excellence awards in the past including the HMAAQ Award for Excellence four times, this is yet another of Ashmore Palms Holiday Village great achievements.

Hall of Fame awards were presented to four operators who were inducted for winning their category for three consecutive years. They included Ashmore Palms Holiday Village, Queensland, Kooljaman at Cape Leveque, Western Australia; Murraylands Tourism Marketing, South Australia; Yering Station, Victoria, and a presentation from last year to the Old Bus Depot Markets (ACT) in the category of Tourism Retailing.

More than 900 key industry operators, State and Federal Government Ministers, heads of State tourism authorities and industry leaders from across the country gathered at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre for the awards ceremony, where the winners of 27 categories were announced.

Finalists in the Australian Tourism Awards were drawn from State and Territory Tourism Awards in the same category held throughout 2005. The Awards were adjudicated by a national judging panel of 24 leading industry figures.

Some of the highlights of the night included Sovereign Hill (VIC), the living museum that captures the gold rush of Ballarat taking out the Major Tourist Attraction award, Clipsal 500 Adelaide (SA), Australias largest motor sport festival, taking out the Major Festivals and Events category and Questacon National Science and Technology Centre (ACT) picking up the Significant Tourist Attraction for the second year running.

Steve Irwin, Australian icon and owner of the Queensland Wildlife Park, Australia Zoo, was recognised for his outstanding contribution to the Australian tourism industry with a special award from Tourism Australia - Services to Inbound Tourism, presented by Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Fran Bailey. Over the past decade, Steve Irwin has played an instrumental role in promoting Australia in key markets helping put Australia in the international tourism spotlight.

Whale watching at Cairns Coconut Caravan ParkIn applauding the winners and finalists at the event the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Fran Bailey said the continuing development and recognition of the Australian tourism industry is essential to ensuring its sustainable growth.

The champions of the Australian tourism industry, from regional operators to those in our cities, have been rightfully recognised tonight. I congratulate all of the winners and finalists for their entrepreneurial skills and dedication to building our $73 billion industry.

I am especially pleased that Steve Irwin received a special award for Services to Inbound Tourism. Steve is one ofour great tourism ambassadors, absolutely loved by Americans with his unbounded enthusiasm and humour. It is a small recognition of the substantial contribution he has made to our tourism industry, said Minister Bailey.

In its first year of taking ownership for the organisation of the Awards, Chairman of the National Tourism Alliance, Col Hughes, paid tribute to the strong support lent by Tourism Australia, Qantas, State Government tourism authorities and other key sponsors.

We are pleased to acknowledge the professionalism of the industry and the promotion of best practice. We look forward to continuing to support the Awards and further showcasing the best the Australian tourism industry has to offer, said Hughes.

Entertainment throughout the night included the talented Christine Anu, Funky Film Express and a sneak preview of the Australian Outback Spectacular, a unique show that captures the grandeur of the Australian Outback, staring Lee Kernaghan.

The 2005 Australian Tourism Awards were supported by platinum sponsors Tourism Australia and Qantas, and other sponsors Channel 7, Tourism Queensland, Queensland Government, Gold Coast Tourism, Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, The Australian Outback Spectacular, Ernst and Young, Sunlover Holidays, Conrad Jupiters, and Fosters.


1. Major Tourist Attractions - Sovereign Hill, Victoria

Kate and Sarina Gold Panning  courtesy Sovereign HillSovereign Hill, a winner of major tourism awards, captures all the excitement of gold rush Ballarat. Set across 26 hectares, Sovereign Hill enjoys international recognition as a living museum with working exhibits, costumed interpreters and visitor participation. By day, try gold panning, tour an underground mine, see a gold pour and visit the Gold Museum. Meet costumed characters, ride in a horse-drawn coach, and watch 1850s trades in action or stay at the rural property, Narmbool. By night, relive the drama of the Eureka Rebellion with Blood on the Southern Cross, a spectacular sound-and-light show, and stay on-site at Sovereign Hill Lodge.

27. New Tourism Development - The Henry Jones Art Hotel, Tasmania

The Henry Jones Art Hotel on Hobarts waterfront is the centrepiece of the IXL jam factory redevelopment. Officially opening in October 2004 to global acclaim, the Henry Jones is a boutique, design hotel, incorporating the Steam Packet restaurant, IXL Long Bar, Jones Co function room and IXL Atrium.

The vision was to build Australias first art hotel; to stimulate a new arts precinct; revive the Henry Jones story and create a world class tourism experience reflecting the destinations core values. Design innovation, the highest quality fit-out, an inspiring art focus and a contemporary service ethos as the Henry Jones hallmark. For more information visit


  • Gab Tituti Cultural Centre, QLD
  • Go West Tours, VIC
  • International College of Management Sydney, NSW
  • Blue Mountains YHA, NSW
  • Quality House Boats, SA

Editors note: GoSeeAustralia acknowledges with thanks the unstinting assistance provided by journalists and the executive staff of National Tourism Alliance and Tourism Australia in compiling this feature.