TURTLE COVE RESORT HISTORY AND RE-BIRTH


In the late 80’s Bert, a well known gay identity around the Cairns region.

He had a vision and dream to create and start a true all Gay only resort.

He searched for 3 years in the Cairns region and the northern beaches, but could never find the perfect, secluded, safe place worthy for gay people. He had asked local gay business people to invest with him in the project, but as in those days the state of Queensland and specially the northern region was still very homophobic and thus his local friends were not game to co-invest a venture Bert was looking for.

Finally in ’92 he found the home for Turtle Cove Beach Resort, sitting right on the beach on the highway between Cairns and Port Douglas and smack in the middle of the national park and a right on the beach.  Film star Lee Marvin and Nicole Kidman had looked at the place, as a possible private retread, but where turned off with the prospect that papparazzi photographers would get helicopters and boats to spy on them and thus did not take the resort. 

Bert was a bit apprehensive at first as the property had cabins on it and was totally run down and in receivership.  His very best friends for many years, the famous STD and HIV AIDS specialist Dr. David Bradford and his partner Michael came up for a holiday and when Bert showed them the Resort they were totally blown away with the amazingly private, secluded total beach front property with two very private sandy beaches and uninterrupted view over the coral sea.  It was then decided that this would be the ideal property for LGBT people.

Hence they got some friends and all together the property was purchased.  Within three months they managed to more or less re-build the whole property to make it worthy for the gay community.

After the opening on Easter 1993, the resort was more or less booked out.

They had 26 staff and 2, 14-seat coaches running 24 hours a day to the Airport, City and Port Douglas. By 1998 all Cabins were gone and a two-story Resort building had replaced the Cabins.

In February Bert (alias Queen “B”) retired and moved to Thailand.

But by 2005 the decline set in and by 2008 the resort was empty.

There were many reasons why and it would take some doing to get it back on its feet again. Then in September 2009 a couple from Melbourne saw the place empty and totally neglected and run down. They instantly fell in love with Turtle Cove Beach Resort and their Gay son suggested to give it an other try to keep it all Gay. But after two years and many Managers later the place was still empty, despite the massive spending of the owners to upgrade, modify and enhance the resort, for some reason it did not work.

They had heard about the old Queen “B” successful days and asked the older locals, but they all said that Bert had died when he was caught in the massive Boxing day Tsunami in 2004. When they just about were ready to close the empty gay Icon and just make it their holiday retreat, they heard that Bert actually was still alive and in Bangkok. It was not long and they flew to Bangkok and found Bert in his restaurant. After long conversations and negotiations they got Bert back on the Helm at Turtle Cove.

And the old Queen “B” got the resort back on the map and going again.

After 23 years while almost all gay clubs and accommodation places in Australia were gone, Turtle Cove Beach Resort is still here and doing fine.

4 Comments