River views at Cotton Tree Holiday Park remain pristine, thanks to newly-installed GeoTextile bags surrounding the popular Sunshine Coast caravan park.
The project, co-managed by Maroochydore Shire Council and Cotton Tree, safeguards the park’s campground against erosion.
A NATURAL OUTLOOK
The GeoTextile bags replaced two weathered groynes and the seawall surrounding the Cotton Tree Holiday Park with little impact to local aesthetics.
It could have a blockier outcome, though, with Maroochydore Shire Council originally planning to brick in retaining walls. But Council backed down following the successful ‘Don’t Rock The Maroochy’ campaign in 2017.
Cotton Tree Holiday Park park manager Trent Hammill says the previous groynes each weighed about a tonne.
“Over time, the waves pushed them over. So, basically, we are using bigger bags.
“Some of the new ones weigh as much as five tonnes.”
Contractors shifted sands for more than two months, preserving the pristine coastline. And save a few scrapes, the local kids had a ball.
“There was so much sand. The 30-tonne excavator looked like a Tonka Toy,” Trent laughs.
A 30-tonne digger shifts sand to protect the campground at Cotton Tree Holiday Park.
UPGRADES AT COTTON TREE HOLIDAY PARK
But shoring up the campground aren’t the only works underway at Cotton Tree during the recent shutdown.
“We’re about to upgrade our power-poles,” says Trent
“I have got a truck-load of plants arriving next week. Beautiful, big Norfolk-native Catarinas and Melaleuca.”
Some of the trees will replace those lost to weather over the years, but Trent plans to plant up around the cabins as well.
“So we’ve been busy digging holes. Not the most fun jobs but it will be worth it,” Trent laughs.
Landscaping plans for the cabins.
Echoing scenes around the country, Cotton Tree Holiday Park is accommodating only a handful of permanent residents and 15 or so essential travellers.
“We have one guy who has just sold his house when the lockdown occurred. Another who had just sold his seafood business. We also welcomed a patron who was forced to move on when the park he was at suddenly closed,” says Trent.
Resident numbers are also down with many elderly guests moving in with family.
“We still have a few of our residents here. We check on them daily and help them with their shopping, just to make sure they’re okay.”
Frustratingly, managing expectations of would-be travellers is part and parcel of lockdown life.
“We just can’t do it right now. But hopefully within a month, it will all change.
“We’ve had the police here, but no-one’s done any checks.”
Cotton Tree Holiday Park as pretty as a picture and welcoming tourists soon.
REOPENING THE PARK TO TOURISTS
On Friday May 8, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that Queenslanders could holiday 250km from home from June 12 (11.59pm) all going well, ahead of school holidays.
“We fielded 250 email enquiries within 24 hours of the announcement,” laughs Trent.
Trent welcomes the news and is now taking bookings, but with just under 500 campsites at Cotton Tree how many people they’ll accommodate is yet to be seen.
“We’re not sure how it’s going to look, as yet. We’re still waiting on advice from the local caravan and camping associations,” says Trent.
Coming up with that advice is a collaborate effort involving government departments and affiliated industries.
“We are working with the broader tourism industry to come up with some COVID-19-safe guidelines, which we’ll release closer to stage 2,” explains Michelle Weston, General Manager for the Caravan Parks Association of Queensland.
Caravan parks in Queensland are welcoming guests from June 13 but reach out ahead to ensure that they can provide the facilities you need.
CONTACT YOUR LOCAL CARAVAN PARK FIRST
Michelle says that not all caravan parks in Queensland will have the capacity to welcome holidaymakers when Stage 2 comes into effect.
What’s more, what they offer will depend on their capacity to manage facilities.
“For those caravan parks in Queensland that are taking bookings, they will have health management plans in place,” Michelle explains.
“I guess for message is … to contact the park first to check they are open, have the space for you and can offer the experience you expect.”