Season 1, Episode 15

Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut

Join Benjamin Starr as he interviews Richard Yazbek, the Resort Manager of Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut. Hear about what makes the resort so special and why they were they won the prestigious TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Resorts in the World for Families.

Hosts & Guests

Benjamin Starr

Richard Yazbek

Read the transcript

Ben: Well we’re driving our own adventure. We have a man who has a very important job to keep everybody happy on the ground here before they go out and do all these wonderful tours. We’re talking today with Richard Yazbek who is the big boss here at Ingenia Holidays at Cairns Coconut. How are you?


Richard: I’m very well thank you and yourself?


Ben: I tell you what you’ve got a very interesting job.


Richard: Yeah, it keeps me very busy. I bet you it does. 


Ben: Having stayed here I have to say it’s my first time ever staying in a caravan park, I’m highly impressed.


Richard:  Oh, thank you. We like to think that we have a lot for everybody here.


Ben: Yeah Richard, holidays in caravan parks aren’t like they used to be, they used to have a bit of a thing attached to them, but these days they are like luxury mini resorts.


Richard: Yeah, we like to think of our self as a holiday park not a caravan park. We’re a one stop shop for everybody. Yep. Once you arrive, you really don’t have to leave, you can have dinner in our restaurant, we’ve got pools, slides, activities for the kids, we have a bottle shop, we also book all the tours and travel essentials for everybody on the front desk as well.


Ben:  It’s interesting driving up here, there’s a lot of road between Sydney and Cairns, it’s a long drive. When people are driving their own adventure and they’re going on an adventure up here, what do you recommend that they sort of do? I mean there’s a lot to do, you can’t do it all in a week.


Richard: No, you can’t do it all in a week, but we like to highlight some key activities here that going through to Kuranda on the Skyrail, the Great Barrier Reef, Franklin Island and also taking a nice drive through the Atherton Tablelands and possibly even through the Skybury Coffee Factory that is in the North of Cairns. 


Ben: I had the opportunity this week to do all those and I have to say the Skyrail is unbelievable! I am obsessed with trains, so I do love the train Kuranda. Kuranda, I was in many, many years ago isn’t what it used to be, it’s become a very different place.


Richard: Yeah, a very different place.  I think one of the highlights is catching the train up and having an understanding of the hundred-year history of how they built that rail line all the up way up there through to Kuranda. But its open seven days a week to town and they love the tourist coming through there and you can see that when you get there. 

Ben: You can really see up here a lot of entrepreneurs with all the tours that run. All these people these families have put their heart and soul into a lot of these businesses. But tourism is such a big thing up here, but eco-tourism is being led by all these tour operators, it’s a fascinating thing to look at.


Richard: Yeah, it’s pretty amazing.  A lot of the smaller tours now – the eco tours that will           that will limit themselves to about ten to twelve people  will go out of the beaten track so to speak, and really get into the nitty gritty of what we really have to offer here and that’s one of the big highlights we have here in Cairns as well.      


Ben: Okay, so we’re driving up to Cairns, it’s a bit of the journey. We finally get here, then we come to Ingenia Holidays Cairns Coconut. Give us the big sell on this park, because it is a beautiful park. 


Richard: Look it’s an amazing park and we are very proud to win a TripAdvisor Top 25 Resorts in the World for Families, it was a big honour for us.  Yeah, we’ve been working very hard to do that. You know it keeps the kids out of the rooms and into the park. They like all the activities, that not on their PlayStation or their mobile phones and Mum and Dad can have some quiet time believe it or not. Everything they need to do, they can come up and see us, we will map out a plan for them or even if they just want to just relax and watch the kids run around wild, we are okay with that as well.    


Ben: Yeah, I mean a look, the kids seem to have right of way and all these streets here, there’s more kids on push bikes and four-wheel drive things. I said to someone, forget about the cars the caravans are no problem they are parked and sort of locked down but there is so many kids. It’s fascinating, I did an interview the other day with some people up here in the park and the kids are in bed by 7:30 they are so tired out.


Richard: One of the highlights here for the kids is getting onto those peddle carts and and is there is not very many times where a kid can do that on the streets at home because it’s in an enclosed community. And our peak times for that is between four and six o’clock because Mum and Dad know they can get all that energy out of the kids and have them asleep by seven o’clock.                             


Ben: I tell you what, so you come to work every day, you get to meet all these wonderful people and some of their trips and their journeys and where they’ve been to must be interesting when you’re chatting to them in the office. They are not just not just caravans anymore. 


Richard: No, my goodness, we’re talking about in excess of a hundred-thousand-dollar thing that they’re towing behind them.


Ben: Yeah.


Richard: Not just a little pop top caravan, it’s a mobile home and a lot of the parents are actually on a six- or twelve-month voyage around Australia and that’s what most people do when they retire. They are doing it now and some of the stories that come up are just amazing and inspiring as well that we can be part of that well.


Ben: Are you seeing a younger demographic?


Richard: Absolutely, young families in their twenties and thirties are getting out on the open road, and it’s a great experience for the kids because they become so well balanced and they appreciate life more now, rather than later.


Ben: If people are listening into this today what I’d like to say to them I’d like to say to them is, you don’t realise the power of these wonderful parks, if they didn’t exist, I would hate to think what the knock on effect would be for tourism up here.


Richard: Absolutely and look we like to think we drive that side of Holiday Parks with innovation. We are always at the forefront and thinking forwards on our feet to try and keep the industry alive and happening. And there are new customers coming through and getting away from that stereotype of what a caravan park used to be like.     


Ben: Okay, so the Ingenia Holidays have so many parks all around Australia but this one here in Cairns Coconut, this is your little baby. And if people would like to find out more information what’s the best way to book a holiday up here at Cairns Coconut? 


Richard: Look all they need to do is dial 1300 COCONUT and one of our many staff will be happy to guide them through on their trial to get here, whether that be helping them out with flights, accommodation,  or caravan sites.  


Ben: There you go, chatting with Richard Yazbek. Richard thank you very much for your time. Thanks for making the holiday a wonderful experience, I’m a changed person, I have a four hundred thousand radio truck that I’m interviewing you in, we don’t sleep in it but looking around here I don’t think we’re are far off getting one that we can sleep in.


Richard: Yeah well you know you do, and I will definitely look after you.            


Ben: Thanks very much Richard. 


Intro Guy: Thanks for listening to Drive Your Own Adventure with Ingenia Holidays.  With Holiday Parks and resorts across New South Wales and Queensland Ingenia Holidays offers the ideal place for an extended break, weekend   getaway or short stop.  Find your dream destination with Ingenia Holidays at            

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