In a world where the pink dollar has evolved from excitable child to semi-mythical athlete to frail elder statesman, it’s unusual to see a gay business venture not just survive but flourish. Gay and lesbian resort Turtle Cove in North Queensland is one such example and recently celebrated its 10th anniversary.

I think the average for most businesses to survive is two years, so we’re well ahead of that, Michael Williams, co-owner and marketing manager of Turtle Cove, told the Star. I think the major reasons are that it’s a good product; we get guests from all over the world. We get very good occupancy unlike other places around the world. And it’s well run of course. Even if I do say so myself!

Williams determined a gap in the market 11 years ago, and although competition existed in some forms  (such as the now defunct BB’s) he went searching for a site. He found it -“ a rare property with its own beach frontage. Such an Arcadian setting required a 30-minute drive from Cairns but Williams gathered together a syndicate of investors and took a punt. The gamble, so far at least, has paid off.

The venue has hosted everything from nude weeks to gay weddings, with just a few divorces, adds Williams. Surprisingly, the resort also has regular patronage from lesbian clientele.

It’s about 20 percent, so we claim we’re the biggest lesbian resort in Australia, which we are, Williams said.

The resort will maintain the same room levels for the time being, but with ongoing refurbishments. (They’ve just redone the bar and decking, I’m told.)

There are few negatives, although some visitors new to the area are surprised by the swimming restrictions that exist from December to April. Jellyfish are the issue at such times, although Williams notes during summer, ocean temperatures can hit an uncomfortable 30 degrees. Our pool is much cooler, he adds.

The Great Barrier Reef is swimmable all year round, with diving trips organised from Turtle Cove that depart from nearby Port Douglas. If that’s too strenuous, there’s always the pool, the 16-person jacuzzi, the cocktail bar -¦

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