Defence Holidays North Queensland (previously North Queensland Area Holiday Resorts (NQAHR) has been making holidays more affordable for members since 1972. However, the idea to provide affordable holiday accommodation in North Queensland actually originated 1971.
The first decision was of course where to get started! A survey of soldiers and their families serving in North Queensland at that time, indicated Cairns as the most popular choice. NQAHR was subsequently formed and its first resort, the Mandalay at Palm Cove, was formally opened on 25 September 1972 by the Minister for the Army at the time, The Honourable R.C. Katter, MP.
1972 was a busy year with NQAHR also purchasing Amaroo on Magnetic Island. At the time, Amaroo consisted of just two holiday flats, with two additional units erected in 1974. Both resorts were extremely popular with the Defence population in North Queensland and we still hear stories today from members with fond memories of their holidays at both resorts.
In 1988, the Board of Directors decided to sell Mandalay to allow for the purchase of larger and more modernised accommodation. After a long search, NQAHR finally purchased Cocos Holiday Apartments at Trinity Beach in late 1989. With its close proximity to sandy beaches and it being only a short drive to Cairns CBD, Defence families flocked to the resort.
After Cocos was established, NQAHR continued to seek out additional properties to meet the continuing demand and differing needs of the Defence community.
Due to its convenient location close to Townsville and the expanding Lavarack Barracks, plus the popularity of the Amaroo units, the decision was made to continue expanding on Magnetic Island. An older style property, Alma Den Beach Resort was purchased in 1989 and following significant renovations, was re-opened in December 1990.
With resorts now established in Cairns and Magnetic Island, a survey of soldiers and their families indicated a desire for accommodation at the Whitsundays. In 1991, Shute Harbour Gardens Caravan Park was purchased, however with the park proving more popular with ex-serving members and civilians, the Board eventually sold the property in early January 2000.
Up until 2006, NQAHR ran three resorts including Cocos Holiday Apartments, Alma Den Resort and Amaroo for the benefit of Defence members and their families. What started with just 2 units on Magnetic Island and 8 in Cairns, eventually expanded to 27 and 19 units respectively. In 2006, Alma Bay Resort was sold to a developer due to extensive plumbing repairs and in 2016, Amaroo Holiday Flats were also decommissioned. At that point, only the 17 units at Cocos Holiday Apartments remained.
Over the next four years, Cocos Holiday Apartments was refurbished and modernised. A survey was also conducted in 2020, with Defence members and their families indicating interest in accommodation at Magnetic Island once more...
In 2021, NQAHR officially purchased Island Leisure Resort at Nelly Bay, Magnetic Island. A 20 minute ferry ride from Townsville, 1km from the Ferry Terminal and only a 2 minute walk to the beach, Island Leisure Resort offers 17 Polynesian style burés for members and their families to once again enjoy holidays on the Island.
Currently, NQAHR or Defence Holidays as it is now known, offers 17 units at Cocos Holiday Apartments, Trinity Beach and 17 units at Island Leisure Resort on Magnetic Island for the use of serving and ex-serving Defence personnel, war widows, emergency services personnel, correctional officers, Defence contractors, Defence Public Servants, International Allies and their families.
Defence Holidays continues to expand its services and now provides discounted accommodation with a variety of different providers and tour operators for the benefit of its members.
Our mission at the end of the day will always be: Making your holiday more affordable!
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Trinity Beach, Cairns, Qld. Naval commandos are training hard on a beach north of Cairns. Typical of these tough sailors who have found their shore legs is Sub Lieutenant G. F. Fairbairn of Western District, Vic, son of the late ex-Minister for Air. His pride and joy is a promising beard.
TRINITY BEACH, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA. 1944-02-01. TROOPS OF THE 1ST ORDNANCE BEACH DETACHMENT LOADING BARGES.
TRINITY BEACH, QLD. 1944-02-01. A GUN WHICH HAS JUST BEEN LANDED ON THE BEACH BY TROOPS OF THE 1ST ORDNANCE BEACH DETACHMENT, BEING HAULED OVER CORDUROY MATS LAID ON THE LOOSE SAND.
TRINITY BEACH, QLD. 1944-02-01. GENERAL VIEW OF THE BEACH SHOWING STORES IN THE FOREGROUND AND TROOPS MOVING ON TO BARGES DURING THE AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISES OF THE 1ST ORDNANCE BEACH DETACHMENT.
TRINITY BEACH, QLD. 1944-02-01. BARGES OF THE 1ST ORDNANCE BEACH DETACHMENT LEAVING THE EMBARKATION POINT ON THE BEACH DURING A UNIT AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISE.
TRINITY BEACH, QLD. 1944-02-01. BARGES, LOADED WITH TROOPS OF THE 1ST ORDNANCE BEACH DETACHMENT, PULLING OUT FROM THE BEACH DURING AMPHIBIOUS EXERCISES.