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Plans approved for $350 million sport, health and wellness tourism destination on Victoria’s Surf Coast

Plans approved for $350 million sport, health and wellness tourism destination on Victoria’s Surf Coast
October 8, 2020

Following an extensive seven-year research and design process, the Victorian Government has today approved plans to rezone 550 acres of privately-owned land located on Cape Otway Road Australia, allowing for the development of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest and only sport, health and wellness destination of its kind on Victoria’s Surf Coast: CORA.

The $350 million development set in a rural hinterland setting on Victoria’s Surf Coast, 25km south west of Geelong, is conceived to become an international destination, with CORA showcasing luxury accommodation, a wellness centre, an internationally sought-after elite sports training facility and sports science hub, art galleries, design studios, an eco-museum, a retail and hospitality precinct including a microbrewery, signature restaurants and childcare centre, together with an organic farm and an outdoor event and sculpture park. All positioned adjacent to a 250-acre wet land conservation precinct – CORA represents the future of wellness tourism and elite sport in Australia.

This will be the only facility of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, delivering a highly calibrated environment in which sports people can improve their game.

CORA will cater for nine of the top 10 most popular sports by participation in Australia: football, AFL, netball, tennis, cricket, basketball, swimming, rugby league and athletics.

The sporting facility will include:

  • MCG orientated AFL oval
  • Two football pitches
  • Rugby pitch
  • Eight tennis courts
  • Aquatic centre with an Olympic-size swimming pool
  • Fitness gymnasium
  • Athletics track
  • Beach volleyball sandpit
  • Cycling, running and fitness paths

Part of the facility will include a sports performance hub which includes:

  • Physiotherapy, medical and consultation spaces
  • Recovery, hydrotherapy and performance analysis suites
  • Nutrition consultation
  • A performance gym

Victorian Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive, Felicia Mariani notes “CORA creates an incredible opportunity for the Great Ocean Road area and it is critical to have this sort of game-changing infrastructure in regional Victoria at the moment. Victoria lags behind the performance of other states when it comes to attracting international and interstate tourists and spend to regional areas. This development delivers the much-needed ‘anchor’ products that encourage tourists to stop and engage with the area for longer periods of time and, importantly, to spend more in the region. The attraction of CORA will serve to increase visitation and spend in the region at a time when the industry is struggling under the impacts of the recent bushfires and COVID-19.”

Co-founded and driven by passionate Surf Coast locals, Olivia Tipler and Daryl Pelchen, in partnership with a host of expert partners and collaborators, CORA was conceived as an answer to the health and wellness tourism opportunity that logically exists in the area. CORA is aimed at becoming a transformational piece of Australian infrastructure and unparalleled in the Southern Hemisphere. It will not only serve the local community but also attract over 350,000 interstate and international visitors each year.

In operation, CORA is expected to add $103 million per year to the local G21 region economy

CORA co-founder Daryl Pelchen explains “CORA has been imagined to utilise Victoria’s undisputed strengths in sport and major events, agriculture, tourism, education and innovation, hospitality, and medicine.

“Through partnerships in these sectors, CORA will represent the region’s interests in an unparalleled way, sharing its natural beauty and capacity globally. Catering for over 350,000 visitors annually, CORA’s ambition is to become the front door to the shipwreck coast and south west Victoria, assisting to signpost the region’s attractions and significantly improve the tourism economy. It will be design-led and is intended to become an exemplary sustainable environment and a resource for the community that will provide strong social benefits.

“CORA illustrates a genuine collaboration between industry and government. It is the result of the incredible contribution made by the region’s stakeholders, with a global relevance achieved by the location’s proximity to high quality built and natural assets, arguably only possible in regional Victoria. For nearly seven years we have witnessed the viewing of this part of Australia by internationals with one compelling conclusion: the rest of the world loves Australia and who we are. CORA will market this appeal worldwide with something for everyone visiting.”

The Great Ocean Road Region currently receives the highest visitation of any region in Australia, however, yields low spend from its visitors, with State Government highlighting the need for greater investment to reduce tourism congestion on the Great Ocean Road and create greater economic opportunity in the region.

G21-Geelong Region Alliance Chief Executive, Elaine Carbines advises “CORA will put the Great Ocean Road and Geelong on the global stage giving international and domestic tourists a chance to stop, stay and spend with our locals. Its design, build and operation will see the creation of new jobs for our region and a demand for new skill sets. It has the potential to significantly add to the local regional economy by $103 million each year at a time when it is needed most, not only through the three-year build but continuing on during operation.”

Following the rezoning approval, construction is slated to begin in the first quarter of 2021 with Multiplex on board to carry out the build.

A key feature of the precinct will be its elite sports facilities forming one of the largest single sporting complexes in Australia and catering for the most popular sporting codes, rights holders and sponsors, coupled with a state-of-art sports science hub for both local and international teams and athletes to enjoy. Facilities will include; multiple playing fields, gymnasiums, yoga studio, cardio and weight rooms, VR training studios, indoor courts, aquatic centre and community facilities. The sports science hub will also include tertiary education and allied health facilities for recovery, talent identification, research and education.

As a global destination, CORA will offer exceptional lifestyle and sport experiences and has already engaged with some of Australia’s leading experts in architecture, sport science and education, hospitality, retail and the arts to help achieve memorable experiences that encourage repeat visitation.

While the CORA site is 550 acres, the project itself will have a small building footprint. With sustainability at its core, the facility will restore the environment in which it coexists; promoting an immersive connection with both the landscape and an awareness of the large seasonal differences on site. By providing for advanced biodiversity, improving flows to adjoining Lake Modewarre, and implementing an effective groundwater management plan, CORA will also promote environmental wellness.

Williams Boag Architects Director, Peter Williams adds “CORA has been designed to provide both Australian and international visitors the opportunity to truly experience what Victoria’s coastal region and the Great Ocean Road has to offer, with buildings positioned to accentuate the wide-open spaces, broad horizons and starry night sky. It will provide visitors with an opportunity to engage with the wetlands, with groups of buildings prioritising the landscape and environmental qualities.

“The design of the elite sports and sports medicine facilities integrated within the site will truly cater for high performance athletes, considering and optimising every aspect of their training and recovery through its buildings and amenities, as well as ensuring seamless integration with the natural and introduced landscape.”

Utilising local talent, business owners, artisans and producers, the site will boast a paddock-to-plate philosophy that combines both affordable and fine-dining food options and retailers. CORA will have the ability to assist with the hosting of major events and will make Australia an even stronger competitor on the world stage.

For more information on CORA go to

CORA partners and collaborators:

Construction: Multiplex
Architect: Williams Boag Architects
Hospitality and Tourism: The Lancemore Group
Sports and brand opportunities: MediaCom

Image: Render of CORA

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