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Cape Wickham Links plans major expansion on King Island

POSTED ON September 30, 2019 @ 5:51 pm

The world-renowned golfing resort has been eyeing off land it owns north of the historic Cape Wickham lighthouse for the project.

But Cape Wickham Links superintendent John Geary said the project at this stage amounted to little more than “talk of potentially building another course”.

“We need to have more golfers coming in but we’ve certainly got grand plans for the future,” he said.

While building a second golf course is “a fair way off”, Cape Wickham Links is forging ahead with plans to dramatically expand supporting infrastructure at its main attraction.

The course intends to construct 89 self-contained villas including two-bedroom single storey dwellings and three-bedroom split-storey units cut into the hillside.

There’s also a six-bedroom “king villa” complete with a golf simulator, cinema, wine cellar and swimming pool deck that will offer sweeping views across the Bass Strait.

The villas would be located in five clusters and built with concrete, wood and aluminium to mimic the natural tones of the area.

The development would radically expand the accommodation capacity at Cape Wickham Links from 32 people to more than 550.

“The project hasn’t been costed yet but we’re looking at it going to be anywhere between $80 and $100 million development,” Mr Geary said.

These new villas are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Cape Wickham Links’ expansion.

The course plans to construct a two-storey clubhouse to house a pro shop, bar, private lounge, outdoor terrace, restaurant, private function room, change room and laundry.

There will also be a 1140 square metre conference centre with a ballroom that can be divided into three smaller function spaces.

And those looking to relax after a tough day on the green can check into a new wellbeing centre to take a dive into the outdoor pool, a sit in the sauna, a spin in the gym or a stretch in the yoga room.

HEADQUARTERS: The new clubhouse will replace a temporary shelter at Cape Wickham Links. Picture: Development Application

 HEADQUARTERS: The new clubhouse will replace a temporary shelter at Cape Wickham Links. Picture: Development Application

A development application for all these projects was approved by King Island Council in December, however, a firm date for when construction will kick off has yet to be determined.

This steady stream of golfers into King Island hasn’t been without challenges: upgrades to the local airport had to be revised to cope with the influx of tourists and the number of beds available on the island are in short supply during peak season.

King Island Tourism Association president Adam Hely fears “we could find ourselves with an accommodation shortage” if other local projects get off the ground, such as the restart of the Scheelite Mine and plans for a new abattoir.

But Mr Hely said the 89 villas planned for Cape Wickham Links could alleviate this infrastructure squeeze by providing “accommodation for all”, not just golfers.

The logistics of managing and maintaining such a complex hospitality operation is one of the reasons why developer Duncan Andrews decided to sell Cape Wickham Links in 2017.

He had only wanted to build a world-renowned course that ranked in the World’s Top 100 but Mr Andrews got more than he bargained for when Cape Wickham Links was ranked 24th two months after opening and the golfers came flooding in.

The course was then snapped by up a Vietnamese-based consortium for $16 million and Mr Geary said the new owners “can see the potential that it’s got long term”.

“We want to see King Island become a major golfing destination and it’s got potential,” Mr Geary said.

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