Darwin Airport is set to open what it bills as Australia’s first “airport resort” as part of major redevelopment and upgrade works.
The $30 million project, opening 5 December, combines the existing Novotel and Mercure airport hotels into a single resort with one reception area, as well as refurbished rooms, new villas, suites and bungalows, and a 60-metre swimming pool with children’s playground and poolside dining.
It comes as Darwin Airport sees an expansion of direct services, including the arrival of Bonza connecting it to the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast, and planned daily Singapore Airlines flights starting in 2024. Darwin expects to see between 3.7 and 5.5 million annual passengers by 2043.
Darwin Airport Resort’s general manager, Chris Chaffe, said the new resort will be a jumping-off point for visitors looking to explore the Top End.
“Darwin Airport is a feeder airport to a number of international destinations as well as local Territory destinations such as the Tiwi Islands, Katherine and Arnhem Land, while tourism attractions such as Litchfield and Kakadu National Parks are just 80 minutes and two and a half hours drive, respectively, from the resort,” said Chaffe.
The new resort is part of airport owner Airport Development Group’s (ADG) Darwin International Airport 2023 Master Plan, which will provide a 20-year road map for land use as well as the development of new and existing facilities.
Announcing the draft Master Plan in September, Rob Porter, ADG’s executive general manager operations, said that growing a “diverse asset portfolio” will ensure the group’s viability.
“Aviation will remain at the core of our business, however we need to be flexible to meet changing conditions and the Master Plan identifies opportunities to develop the existing business, retail, property and tourism precincts to provide ADG with long-term sustainability,” he said.
“With 80 hectares of land in the airport’s lease area available for commercial development, we will actively pursue a range of new business opportunities, including new commercial offices and showrooms, retail and leisure, hotels, cafes and restaurants. Strategic partnerships will be important to successfully deliver these projects.”
The Master Plan is open for comment until 18 December.