Multi-award winning Sunshine Coast theme park Aussie World has launched a new precinct destination brand Downunder Drive as the precinct launches into an exciting 5 year plan which aims to catapult the family owned precinct into one of Australia’s largest tourist destinations.
Downunder Drive chief operating officer Aaron Flanagan said the new Downunder Drive destination brand would encompass the expansion and modernising of the Aussie World theme park as well as The Shed function and events venue, the sites existing retail village and a total redevelopment of the sites iconic Pub.
“Over the past 20 months we’ve been working hard behind the scenes planning an exciting new vision for the precinct and today’s announcement puts the precinct on track to become one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations.
“Our vision is to create a modern authentically Australian tourist, events and entertainment destination that appeals to our local community as well as intra and interstate visitors and international tourists. We are affectionately referred to as the gateway to the Sunshine Coast and we aspire to develop and promote Downunder Drive as the must stop destination on the highway.
“Our precinct has something for everyone, including a growing family theme park, a soon to be redeveloped iconic pub which has been inspired by locals, a burgeoning functions and events venue in The Shed and a quality mix of convenience shopping and specialty retail in the retail village,” he said.
Mr Flanagan said the Downunder Drive vision includes expanding the Aussie World theme park from its current 15 acres to making full use of the 55 acre footprint with new rides, attractions, amenities, and a green space suitable for a variety of events all under consideration.
“We currently employ over 200 people across the precinct and around $75 million is injected into the local economy each year. The successful execution of our master plan would see a boost to the local economy with around 250 new jobs created; $150M plus is anticipated in economic impact from the construction phase and an ongoing economic impact of $160m plus annually for the local economy.”
The future of the iconic Pub was also announced today with bold new plans revealing a more modern, family orientated, coastal tropical feel with a strong emphasis on local produce, art, culture, sports and iconic symbols of Australia.
The Pub’s new design has full blessings from Lindsay Cooper, the man who designed and built the original pub 27 years ago.
“I’m 67 years old and only people of my generation would really understand what the Ettamogah Pub was all about, the young ones growing up today wouldn’t have a clue and they think it’s just a weird looking pub sitting out on the highway.
“Aussie World as it stands now has well and truly surpassed the attraction of the Ettamogah Pub, way more than people give it credit for. This new pub will be more people-friendly in the way of access and egress and will become a great dining and entertainment destination for locals and tourists alike,” he says.
Mr Flanagan says they have been “deliberate” in taking time to get the vision for the new-look pub right after they decided to drop the Ettamogah Pub branding in 2014.
“The pub is such an important asset for our precinct so it was important in creating our vision for the pub that we developed something that the community would be proud of, something that is going to be family-friendly, iconic and inspired from the Coast’s people and environment” he says.
The new pub will more than double its footprint for socialising and dining and Mr Flanagan believes it will be completely transformed in line with the expectations of a modern hotel but still with that unmistakable quintessential Australian, quirky feel,”
The redevelopment of the pub will officially start after Australia Day 2017 however trade will continue throughout the building period and the pub will slowly reveal its new identity throughout the development for locals and tourisit to experience with the new name to be revealed “some time” in 2017.
Features of the redeveloped Pub will include an expanded balcony extending on the east side, wrapping around the southern and northern sides of the Pub, an extended alfresco front verandah, a tree house themed guest lift to improve access to the restaurant level, new themed zones throughout all internal spaces, new furnishings and updated amenities to enhance the guest experience.
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said Aussie World and the Pub are undoubtedly one of the best loved attractions on our Sunshine Coast.
“There are thousands of locals who would have great memories of spending time here over the years and it’s also a very popular destination for our tourists who are coming to the Coast in increasing numbers.”
“The new vision for the site is outstanding and is going to take the precinct to the next level. The investment is also another great show of confidence in our region and the plans we have for the future.”