By Nick Carne
Things are booming in Port Augusta if increasing demand for accommodation is any guide. Plans have just been unveiled for a new, multi-million-dollar cabin park in the city, complete with a waterpark and cafeteria.
This won’t just be your standard “one step up from camping” experience either. The 100 4-Star cabins will offer a level of comfort that Hayden Bentley is sure will suit everyone from tourists through to contractors and business people.
And he’s speaking from experience. Hayden and his wife Kylie opened family-owned and operated Bentley’s Cabin Park in Port Pirie with four cabins 22 years ago and have seen it grow to more than 100.
They say it is the first true cabin park in Australia and are keen to replicate their success further up the highway.
“We are passionately local, and passionate about attracting and keeping visitors to regional South Australia,” Hayden says.
“We have chosen the location adjoining the Port Augusta Golf Course as we are excited about the region’s growth and how it will support the local economy and community.”
Not surprisingly, the locals are pretty excited too.
Port Augusta Mayor Sam Johnson told the media the long-term investment by the Bentley Group of Companies was a vote of confidence in the city.
“Feedback from some of our existing accommodation providers is that they are at reasonable capacity, so it is clearly evident that we do need more accommodation in Port Augusta from a tourism perspective and also to cope with the jobs boom, or construction boom, that we are actually going to have over the next three to five years,” he says.
The State Government also is on side and has provided $1 million to fast track the project through its Regional Development Fund, which was set up to boost investment and infrastructure in the state’s regional areas.
Twenty people will be employed to run the new venture, with an additional 60 jobs created during the construction phase, which is expected to begin in February.
“Port Augusta is known as the gateway to the Outback, and Bentley’s new Cabin Park will cement that reputation,” says Regional Development Minister Geoff Brock.
“It’s great to see a regional family-owned and operated business expand to the Far North region with this tourism offering, with a 10 per cent increase in visitor numbers to Port Augusta estimated as a result.”
It’s hoped that the first cabins will be ready for booking late next year. Maybe it’s time to start planning a trip to Port Augusta and stay in style.
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