According to Aboriginal legends the Innot Hot Springs on the Atherton Tableland were created by a giant sea turtle that came ashore with a hot stone in her belly to warm the waters of the Atherton Tableland.
Scientists say that the hot water is the result of geothermal activity, but whatever their origins, the thermal springs at the small town of Innot, on the Kennedy Highway between Mount Garnet and Ravenshoe, are one of Queensland’s unique tourist drawcards.
The temperature of the springs is between 74°C and 85°C and for centuries have drawn Indigenous and European people to their calming effects.
The town of Innot was established around three mineral springs in the Nettle Creek after European settlers heard Aboriginal people speak about the miraculous healing power of the hot water.
Paul Fraser, the National Director of CBRE Hotels, is marketing the Innot Hot Springs Leisure & Camping Park with expectations of $3million-plus.
The property comes with just over 3ha of freehold land and a strong cash flow business with a diverse income stream
“It’s a great opportunity to take advantage of the business opportunities that are currently under-utilized,” Mr Fraser said.
The Leisure and Camping Park is situated on a 2ha block and offers 23 unpowered camping/van sites, 14 powered camping/van sites, six hotel rooms, and four self-contained, air-conditioned units.
The Hot Springs Hotel occupies another hectare block. The hotel is well equipped with a public bar, restaurant and a large beer garden. It has five self-contained rooms and there is a two-bedroom manager’s residence.
“It's an ideal location,” Mr Fraser said, “with the unique and wonderful resource that are the hot springs right at the front door.
“The property is owner-operated at the moment and a very profitable business, but it has been run by an older couple for a number of years and would really benefit from a breath of fresh air coming in to drive the business even harder.
“New owners could give the business a new lease of life and reposition it.
“There is a huge boom in the drive market for tourism these days and the property is perfectly positioned in a wonderful location. At the moment I think that the drive business to the hot springs is still very much uncaptured.”
Mr Fraser said there was a limited supply of accommodation offerings surrounding the attractions in the Atherton Region, creating a competitive advantage for the park and hotel.
The Innot Hot Springs are 150 kilometres south-west of Cairns and 80 kilometres from Atherton.
The English-born explorer John Atherton came upon the hot springs in the early 1870s when he was scouting the area for grazing land.
But it wasn’t until 1885 when a town was established beside them after the owner of Woodleigh Station learned about healing properties of the hot water from the local Aboriginal people.
At the time the world was fixated with the supposed curative properties of mineral springs in many locations around the world, and spas were increasingly fashionable.
The area around the springs was leased to a variety of operators and by 1888 a two-storey house with bathing sheds was established beside the springs able to accommodate 12 visitors.
In the early 1900s, Charles Spranklin built a cordial factory at the site, bottling the mineral water and sending it to Europe as a health tonic.
A century later the hot springs offer an exciting, invigorating holiday experience that is rare in Queensland.
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