Pacific Sands Holiday Apartments

A new baby and their first venture into management rights have been life-changing events for Leigh and Nicola Whitney from Pacific Sands Holiday Apartments in Cairns.

Prior to the resort Leigh had been in investment banking and Nicola was a cardiac technician in London for the previous three years.


Originally from Adelaide, they spent two months looking for a suitable property in which to start their new career and spend time with their new baby girl, Gwendolyn, now six months old. They moved into the resort one month before Gwendolyn was born. They were attracted to it because Pacific Sands was a mixture of holidaymakers and permanent residents without much reliance on tourists.

With the help of their lawyer Natalie Mellonius from Smithfield Law and financier Danny Adams from NQ Lending, they mortgaged other investments and used the money they saved in London over the previous three years to buy the management rights to the resort.


“Our life then definitely changed,” Leigh said. “Our daughter was born after only being at the complex for a month. So we have been juggling being first time parents and looking after the needs of our guests and tenants.

“There are not enough hours to do everything, so we have employed a handyman for three days a week and have two cleaners.”

“But we enjoy meeting people from all over the world who are having a good time while on holiday.”

Since they moved in the Whitneys have refurbished one of the eight units with a new lounge, dining suite, carpet, linen, fans and a flat screen TV.

“We have very amicable owners so we hope to have another unit done before the tourist season,” Leigh said. “We have replanted and mulched the entrance garden beds with more tropical plants to better enhance the main entrance. For the past month we have laid mulch and fertilised to get better water retention during winter.”


He said guests liked the resort because the units are good sized and fully equipped.

“We have permanent tenants who live in identical sized and equipped units. The only difference is the holiday units that are constantly attended to so as to keep them a home away from home for our holiday guests.”

Bookings can be made on the Pacific Sands Resort website while they also use traditional methods to market their resort. “We and our family also give out business cards and flyers in South Australia and also in Tasmania where Leigh grew up,” Nicola said. “We are just about to create our own Facebook page so we can promote to our Facebook friends both here and in the UK.”

“We have also had several recommendations since our time here so this is very positive that we are catering to our guests in the right way.”

Guests are also encouraged to leave their comments on TripAdvisor to promote more bookings through comments like:

“Richard Leroy and Joanita join me in thanking you for our wonderful holiday in Cairns. The place it self is beautiful, but Pacific Sands became a home away from home and added to this. When you are on a holiday for that long, you are always looking for some kind of comfort for your stay, Pacific Sands just made it right. I would encourage everyone who would like to go to Cairns for a holiday to please consider Pacific Sands for a stay as I speak with experience. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and you were so helpful. Even if you go with absolutely no clue about the place, you have taken the time to guide us and advise us. I am advising everyone who would like to think of Cairns as a holiday to make sure they consider staying at the Pacific Sands” ¬– Ramona; and “The boys and I wanted to thank both for all the help you gave us when we stayed with you in September. We had a relaxing time and have recommended Pacific Sands to our friends. We really appreciated that you took the time to drive us about. Also, did you have a boy or a girl, and what did you call the baby? I have thought about you both and the new baby.” – Kerry, Callum and Blake Armit.


The bad weather over December and January plus the traditionally low season during summer has resulted in low occupancy levels.

“But we did have the best February return to the owners since 2006 so we are quite happy with the outcome,” Nicola said.

Looking after a new baby and getting used to the administration of the resort have left them with little spare time.

“As we have a new baby, hobbies and leisure activities have taken a back seat for now,” Nicola said. “But Leigh just recently joined the local triathlon club with an aim of racing again this winter after ten years away from the sport.”

“The job here is much more involved than we anticipated if it is to be done properly. So at the moment we are buckling down to get the complex looking at its best so we can enjoy more time with bubs and seeing the lovely area we live in.”

Pacific Sands Holiday Apartments in Poinciana St is nestled in secluded tropical landscaped gardens metres from Holloway’s Beach and minutes from Cairns International Airport and Cairns City Centre’s large variety of shops and world-class restaurants.

It has eight, four-star AAA rated two-bedroom, resort-style, self-catering apartments with private patios or balconies positioned around a central swimming pool and undercover barbecue area.

The resort is centrally located to take advantage of all the activities on offer in this unique region: The Great Barrier Reef, World Heritage Rainforest, golf courses and within reach of Port Douglas, Mossman Gorge and Daintree rainforest.

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