Lee Point urban coastal tourism opportunity

Location: Lee Point (Darwin), Northern Territory, Australia

Project proponent: Defence Housing Australia

Sector: Tourism / hospitality

Investment type: Greenfield

Estimated total project cost: Project dependent

Investment amount sought: Variable

Project status: Conceptual

Project description

The master plan for the Lee Point area includes a prime opportunity for one or more high quality 4 or 4.5 star tourism accommodation facilities with attractive view lines along the coast and to the sea.

The Lee Point site is one of the most significant developable areas remaining along the coastline, located just 14 kilometres from Darwin CBD. Lee Point is bound by Casuarina Coastal Reserve.

The potential to develop the Lee Point area is a unique and exciting opportunity that has the scope to become a premier address. A number of sites will become available for development of tourism accommodation and hospitality services in a main street format. On the basis of the site’s location and attributes, the following high-level considerations relevant to assessing the potential for tourist accommodation have been identified:

  1. The site is 80 hectares, a significant landholding able to accommodate a relatively large-scale tourist accommodation facility incorporating a range of ancillary infrastructure.
  2. The subject site is characterised by a relatively undisturbed flat natural environment, close to the Casuarina Coastal Reserve. The site offers a sense of seclusion that belies the proximity to the infrastructure and services provided by Darwin.
  3. The attractiveness of the site to potential tourist accommodation providers is enhanced by its coastal location. The western boundary of the site is located approximately 150 to 250 metres from the beach, across a strip of coastal reserve.
  4. Key visitor infrastructure is close to the site - the Darwin International Airport, Royal Darwin Hospital, Charles Darwin University, the Casuarina shopping centre, the Darwin Golf Course, and Marrara Sporting Complex.
Map of proposed development of Lee Point

Preferred development option

The subject site is considered appropriate for the development of a relatively large-scale hotel or serviced apartment facility of 4 or 4.5 star quality, incorporating potentially 150 to 200 rooms initially, and with capacity to increase to 300 rooms over time. A hotel facility would typically include additional ancillary guest support facilities and services relative to the more basic serviced apartment business model that assumes a greater sense of self-sufficiency for guests.

Any facility will have a design outcome that is relatively low in height and intensity (for both commercial and aesthetic reasons) and which makes use of the large available site area and exposure to the natural environment. At all times the sight lines to the beach and water, and the ‘permeability’ through the Casuarina Coastal Reserve, will be maximised (as appropriate in environmental and building design terms). Overall, the facility will have a bias towards holiday and leisure guests, although business-related travel is expected to form an important source of visitation.


Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory, is Australia’s northernmost capital city, as close to Singapore and Manila as it is to Sydney and Melbourne. Eight national capitals, 36 trading ports, 69 international airports and nearly half a billion people are within four hours’ flight of Darwin. In the coming decades, the demand from the Asian region for energy, food, raw materials and consumer goods will be unprecedented.

Darwin is the closest Australian capital city to Asia, providing the shortest transport routes for two-way trade between the Asian economies and Australia. The Northern Territory has one international airport, Darwin International Airport that operates 24/7. The deep water Port of Darwin provides modern freight handling facilities, a dedicated bulk liquids berth and links with an intermodal road-rail network. Reduced shipping times between Darwin and Asia gives Darwin a trade advantage, particularly in relation to the export of bulk commodities.

Visitation to Darwin and the Top End is driven by a diverse economy and rich cultural and natural attractions of the destination. For the year ending June 2017, there were 938 000 visitors to the Darwin region, spending an average of 7.4 nights in the region. Year on year growth in the region’s visitation has been driven by international and interstate visitation. Of the total number of visitors, 62% were interstate, 15% international and 24% intrastate visitors. Over a quarter (28%) to the region were self-drive leisure travellers, which is an estimated 260 000 visitors in year ending June 2017. Australians made up 84% of this market with NT residents representing almost two thirds (62%) of the domestic leisure drive market. 

More visitor insights are available on the Tourism NT website

Person on beach at sunset

Contact details

Daryl Hudson
Director, Tourism Investment Attraction
Department of Tourism and Culture

Phone: +61 8 8999 6020

Disclaimer: This web page includes information provided by third parties. The information is general in nature and is for information purposes only. The Northern Territory Government makes no representation about the veracity or accuracy of information provided by third parties. You must rely on your own due diligence before proceeding. You should consider seeking independent professional advice.