Chris Morris expands North Queensland holdings from Orpheus Island to include Daintree Eco Lodge

Tourist operator Colonial Leisure Group will seek to streamline tourism services between Orpheus Island and Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa in North Queensland.

It bought the lodge recently and has owned Orpheus since 2011.

Owned by Computershare founder Chris Morris, the leisure group plans to merge synergies by offering helicopter services between the UNESCO World Heritage listed destinations.

“We plan to continue the success established over the 23 years of operation, in which the Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa has achieved a number of Australian and international tourism accolades,” Morris told eGlobal Travel Media.

Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa has a sense of exotic remoteness being 90 minutes (113km) north of Cairns airport and about 40 minutes (45km) north of Port Douglas at the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.

Claimed to be the “most pampering ecolodge in the world” the eco lodge offers 15 rainforest tree-house style banyans nestled in the rainforest. It won the title of World's Leading Eco Resort and Spa at the 19th World Travel Awards in 2012.

Orpheus Island, on 1300 hectares of national park in the Great Barrier Reef, has long topped the tourist wishlist as it indulges just 34 guests at any one time. It offers guests the ultimate in tropical escapism – at a price: a beach front room is $1400 per night for two guests, a beach front villa $2800 per night for four guests, and a South Beach front suite $1100 for two guests. All come with gourmet meals and every conceivable extra.

Morris, who bought the lodge from receivers, is said to be keen to spend up to $1 million on improvements ‘’straight away’’ without closing the resort. He says this latest acquisition will go hand-in-hand with Orpheus and the company will eventually offer tourism packages and connecting flights between the resorts, The Weekend Australian reports. 

It has already invested more than $10 million in new aircraft, including a B407 and two EC120s, growing its fleet to 10 since May, when it bought Heli Charters and rebranded it Nautilus Aviation.

Colonial Leisure said in a statement it would invest significantly in upgrades to the lodge "subject to strategic and financial assistant from the Queensland government".

Mr Morris said government could ‘’give lots of help’’ in areas such as approvals for renovations and permits.

The purchase of the lodge comes at a time of volatility in the tourism market. China Eastern, previously one of the biggest international airlines to service the region, reportedly suspended flights from Shanghai to Cairns airport last week due to low passenger yields for the next few months.

Mr Morris declined to comment on the purchase price of the resort.



Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of Australia's most respected property journalists, having been at the top of the game since the early 1980s. Jonathan co-founded the property industry website Property Observer and has written for national and international publications.

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