Pioneering family behind a tourist park “like no other”
A pioneering Sunshine Coast family is behind a $10 million farm stay and adventure park in an idyllic county setting that aims to fill a housing void then that the Olympic fever grows.
Highgate Developments Pty Ltd has applied for a development permit with the Sunshine Coast Council for a significant change of use to establish a tourist park on Diddillibah Road, Woombye.
Directors Andrew and Joanne Pitcher have big plans to create on-farm facilities and activities in the idyllic 26.5ha site bordered by Paynters Creek on the northern edge.
Sixty6 Acres (a nod to property size) plans to create 132 sites (20 upscale two-bedroom cabins, 19 luxury glamping tents, 49 van and RV sites, and 44 camping sites ).
In addition to accommodation options, the phased proposal would include for customers only:
- The stables, accommodating a variety of farm animals for interaction.
- Adventure park and mountain bike trails on the northeast part of the site
- Nautical activities from the landing stage of the central dam for kayaks, stand up paddle and fishing.
- Hiking trails in the northwest part.
- Fire pits and picnic tables scattered everywhere.
- Community center next to site entrance along Walden Road.
- African safari style infinity pool integrated into the community center.
- Sports area on the northern part, including a multipurpose oval court for basketball and tennis.
- Golf course and putt next to the sports complex.
- Country Café (a reuse of the existing main dwelling on site with a terrace extension).
Mr Pitcher, the son of Sunshine Coast Sporting Hall of Fame inductees and footballing legends Woombye, the late Ken Pitcher and his wife Claire, was on hand this week to fence in and oversee the cutting of a track to build the first eight cabins. , whose development authorization has already been granted.
He hopes that coastal residents and travelers from around the world will be attracted to the planned tourist park which is in the heart of the region, 10 km from the beach, 15 minutes from the Sunshine Coast airport and only one hour from Brisbane.
If approved, the unique tourist park would be a welcome boost to the accommodation experiences that can be offered ahead of the 2032 Olympics.
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“There is certainly nothing like it (in South East Queensland),” Mr Pitcher said.
“There are caravan parks which offer excellent facilities and excellent pitches. There are plenty of farmhouses that have a more rustic background.
“But the real benefit of what we’re talking about is location. We are right in the center of the Sunshine Coast.
“You don’t have to drive an hour to get to more rural areas. So for people close to the coast who want to get away for a few days, they will still be close to home. That ride factor is drastically reduced, which is good. Were excited.”
With children aged 13, 15, and 17, the Pitchers had farm-style travel experiences all over the world and meticulously planned the tourist park concept, choosing the best ideas from about 15 to 20 of their own. travel – including rural experiences in the United States. Kingdom, The Farm at Byron Bay and our very own Rivershore Resort in Diddillibah.
“It’s a mix of all the good stuff that we’ve seen and would love to do ourselves,” Mr. Pitcher said.
“We’ve done a lot of farm stays in South Australia, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania. So we know what keeps kids entertained: provide that plus a little more potentially and put a little wow factor in terms of common areas and pool.
“It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a long time. We have owned the property for 11 years and have basically brought it from very overgrown and weed infested to the beautiful pastures it is today.
“It’s a bit of a passion project. My father before he died, he spent three years here tidying up and cleaning. He loved her.
“And actually, the day before he died, he was working here, so that’s pretty special for us.
“I just know we can fill it any day of the week with people wanting somewhere a bit different and something relatively close to the center of the coast that you don’t have to drive 100km or 50km for. ”
Mr Pitcher said they had been mindful of providing the full range of accommodation – from modest camping to luxurious two-bedroom cabins.
The 1868 enclosure – the date Woombye was officially settled – will house the fully equipped cabins with a beautiful northern aspect on the lake, suitable for couples or families for a single night or longer stays. Some cabin areas will be fully fenced to allow for pet-friendly stays.
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The Luxe Tent Precinct will have 19 permanent raised tents suitable for singles or couples wanting a short-term rural retreat, serviced by amenity blocks and camp kitchens.
The 44 sites of Cobbs Camp Precinct are located in the east-central portion of the site and include provisions for shared fire pits and picnic tables, as well as camp kitchens and amenity blocks.
The Travelers Quarter has 49 electric and concrete caravan sites in the mid-west part of the site, not far from the Community Center.
Among other amenities, the Pineapple Plot/Banana Farm/Orchard/Vineyard is a recreation of local agricultural history, with the Pineapple Plot in operation year-round. The fully functioning market garden on the east side of the site, irrigated from on-site treated wastewater, would supply produce to the camp cafe and shop.
The proposed project is expected to create the equivalent of 65 full-time jobs. Once operational, a minimum of 25 jobs will be created in management, hospitality, maintenance, agriculture and other services.
“The first stage is approved and we expect it to be operational by Christmas,” Mr Pitcher said.
“Board approval will determine what we do next.
“We are only three weeks into the evaluation process. This is the most complete application we have ever installed.
“We actually did all the work up front – all the consultants involved. We had 13 different consultants involved.
“We are already consulting with various neighbors and community groups to make sure people fully understand this.”
The Pitcher-Gibson family heritage dates back several generations to Woombye and Nambour.
Woombye Soccer Club has the Pitcher Family Stand, for example, and family members hold several lifetime memberships to other regional clubs (soccer, cricket, boxing, tennis).
The couple maintain the tradition of strong sporting ties with the region: Joanne is in her fourth year as president of the Mooloolaba Reds Netball Club and Andrew is a junior cricket coach in Nambour.
After college in Brisbane, Andrew and Joanne worked nationally and internationally in business, public relations, banking, technology and more recently in property development.
Their real estate development company, The Grove Residential, is well known on the coast.
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Mr Pitcher said he was very proud of the housing estate developments his company had made to date, but especially of this latest concept and what it would bring to Woombye.
“I am Woombye Primary School. My mother’s family has been here since around 1920,” he said.
“My dad came out of England in 1957. His family bought a pineapple farm about a mile away (on Preston Rd in Diddillibah).
“We grew up on Cobbs Rd here in Woombye and it was a dirt road when I was born in 1971 and it was only tarred because of all the other people who came here.
“The reality is that people will come, they want all the facilities, they want experiences and they want places to live. So I’m very proud of what we do.