PARADISE Bay Eco Resort on Long Island is set to re-open by the start of March after a multi-million dollar revamp by new owners Barry and Julie Pickering.
The award-winning resort went into administration in December 2011 but continued trading until March 2012. It came to the attention of the Pickerings when the former Darwin residents decided to pay it a visit.
"It was run down [almost] to the point of no return, but it had really good bones," Mr Pickering said.
In a romantic gesture, Mr Pickering bought the resort as a birthday present for his wife, who turns 50 on February 17 this year.
Since April last year, the couple have devoted their time, money and energy to renovating the resort and restoring it to its former glory.
Improvements include a new day spa and pool, completely renovated staff quarters, new laundry, landscaping and pathways. "And we've bought Hobie cats, paddle boards and kayaks - stuff for people to come here and enjoy," Mr Pickering said.
As the name suggests, Paradise Bay is a unique, 10-cabin absolute beachfront eco resort, which Mr Pickering says is "fully sustainable".
"We catch our own water, we create our own power. The only thing we bring onto the island is a little bit of gas for the stoves," he said.
Mr Pickering says the other element that the secluded resort has going for it is "peace and quiet - and lots of it".
Now that Paradise Bay is almost ready to resume its place on the region's tourism stage, Mr Pickering says he hopes it will provide a welcome shot in the arm for the previously ailing industry.
"We love the Whitsundays and it's a very special place. When we arrived, the tourism industry was pretty battered and bruised but we've spent 12 months renovating and I can see lots of positive things on the horizon," he said.
Bookings for the resort are now being taken at www.paradisebay.com.au.
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