Receivers sell ‘Big Thing’ tourist attraction

Big Barra at Normanton was developed in 1995.

Receivers have sold one of Australia’s ‘Big Thing’ tourist attractions – at Normanton, in Queensland’s Carpentaria – to a NDIS-approved mental health accommodation provider, which will utilise the Gulfland Motel and Caravan Park behind it.

The property includes 28 self contained rooms and 55 caravan park sites.

The 10 metre tall Big Barra is speculated to have reeled in about $1.8 million from Townsville-based Selectability.

On 1.56 hectares at 11 Landsborough Street, the property includes 28 self contained rooms, a 55-site caravan park and four bedroom manager’s residence.

There is also a swimming pool and licensed restaurant tenancy trading as the Gulflander Bar & Grill.

CBRE’s Hayley Manvell and Jay Beattie marketed the freehold going concern for receiver and manager BRI Ferrier which listed it in October.

Selectability will use the accommodation for staff servicing the region and surrounding islands.

Big Thing sale

About 340 kilometres north of Cloncurry, 500km west of Cairns and 1250km east of Darwin, Normanton forms part of the Carpentaria region, considered one of the country’s best barramundi fishing places.

The Gulfland Motel and Caravan Park is said to serve a large ‘Grey Nomad’ clientele (story continues below).

A Gulfland Motel suite.

With its proximity to towns containing little or no tourist accommodation, businesses have also rented it for staff.

Selectability will earn an income from a restaurant tenancy.

“Given the size, accommodation mix, guest facilities and the lack of competition within the area, the campaign received strong enquiry, appealing to a wide range of investors regionally and nationally,” Ms Manvell said.

“The property served as a base for workers and travelers within the region, due to its valuable position with high exposure to passing traffic and proximity to nearby amenities and attractions,” according to the executive.

Mr Beattie added the property will help Selectability deliver affordable accommodation options for staff – and derive an income.

“This is another great example of how tight the regional accommodation markets remain, underpinning the continued value assets of this nature in regional areas,” he said.

Big Barra is part of a portfolio of ‘Big’ Australian things – tourist attractions for some road trippers – including, in New South Wales, the Big Banana, in Coffs Harbour and Big Prawn at West Ballina.

In 2021, we reported Ingenia Communities with New York listed Sun Communities spent $15.5m on a 13.5ha retirement living development site on the Sunshine Coast’s Nambour, near the Big Pineapple (in Woombye).

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of