From target practice to beachside bombshell: seaside estate’s rapid rise to fame

A block of Sunshine Coast land once considered only fit for artillery target practice has exploded to life as one of Australia’s most desired beachside estates.

There’s now just one brand new townhome left to sell in the final release at Stockland’s $192 million Bokarina Beach community.

In a few short years, the development has jumped out of the ground just north of Wurtulla between the Nicklin Way and the ocean.

Set on 30 hectares, the premium mixed-use residential, retail and community hub will be home to about 2000 people.

In recent weeks, it has become a hive of activity with the estate’s first restaurant – Bocca Italian – opening and hundreds of new residents moving in to newly finished apartments.

Once the domain of surfers, fishermen and nude sunbathers looking for seclusion, the area certainly had its sceptics when the first land release came on the market five years ago.

Long-time residents of surrounding Kawana Waters suburbs couldn’t believe anyone would pay top dollar for a once dense-bush area used during World War II by the Royal Australian Artillery to hone their target practice skills from Battery Hill, to the south.

But thousands already registered their interest when Bokarina Beach officially launched on July 8, 2017, with lots starting from $375,000.

Just over a year later in October 2018, the final 14 residential homesites were released after 146 sites had been snapped up for between $319,000 and $749,000.

The last residential homesites to come on the market were priced from $349,000 to $590,000 with lot sizes from 250sqm to 506sqm.

Original prices – then seen as perhaps very high and ambitious – have since soared in value.

Situated between the coastal hubs of Caloundra and Mooloolaba, Bokarina Beach is close to retail, health and commercial hubs, including Stockland Birtinya Shopping Centre and Home Central, NightQuarter Entertainment Precinct,  and Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

The estate includes a lake and parkland setting, conservation area leading to the beach, outdoor plaza for community events with barbecues, large undercover gazebos and playground, toilet amenities, new beach access with life guard patrol tower, bicycle and walking paths, and area earmarked for a surf lifesaving facility.

The beachfront precinct includes 160 home sites, 130 terrace homes and 800 beachside and parkfront apartments.

The first of the five high-rises to be completed, The Clark Group’s Seanna Residences, on the corner of Longboard Parade and Bokarina Boulevard, has already welcomed its first owner-occupiers to the 63 luxury apartments.

The premium three-bedroom apartments boast views from Mooloolaba in the north to Caloundra in the south, while a further 28 three-bedroom apartments have north-facing ocean views across parkland. The complex has all been sold.

On the ground floor, the first retail tenancy, Bocca Italian Bokarina Beach, officially opened to the public on Friday, June 24.

Successful entrepreneur and restaurateur with the Midas touch, Tony Kelly, has joined forces with head chef Harry Lilai and business operations manager Luke Stringer as owners of the much-anticipated restaurant.

Mr Stringer, a Wurtulla resident, came up with the restaurant concept and is “very happy to see it’s being embraced so well by the locals”.

“I’ve had people say to me, ‘We’ve been waiting 24 years for a restaurant in Bokarina’,” he said.

“We just want to be a local hub where people can come and meet and enjoy a drink and something to eat.

“We’ve got a lot of people just dropping in for a pizza and a cold beer – in and out in 45 minutes. We had a group of ladies here for lunch the other day and they were here for six hours and enjoyed the afternoon.”

beachside estates, Bocca Italian Bokarina Beach

Inside Bocca Italian, the first restaurant to open at Bokarina Beach. Picture: Patrick Woods.

Bookings and walk-ins are already strong for the 150-seat restaurant (50 outside, and 100 inside including a 14-seat private dining room) , serviced by 30 staff in total.

“The bookings inside are very hard to get a hold of at the moment because they’ve gone gangbusters. However, we can always fit people around the edges,” Mr Stringer said.

Developer Walter Iezzi’s much-anticipated and sold-out Oceanus apartment block on Longboard Parade is in the final stages of opening.

On the way is Zinc on Bokarina Boulevard, which will have 84 two, three and four-bedroom apartments over two towers developed, built and managed by the Gardner Vaughan Group.

There’s also another of Walter’s projects, Azzure, which will offer 121 two, three and four-bedroom apartments on Bokarina Boulevard. It’s 90% sold with construction to start in coming weeks and scheduled for completion next year.

The six-level Oasis on Kombi Street by Cube Developments has two, three and four-bedroom apartments and is due for completion in September 2024.

Long-time Bokarina locals Anita and Neil Espley are among the new residents moving in to Oceanus apartments.

The impressive eight-storey, 107-apartment building takes advantage of uninterrupted, 180-degree Pacific Ocean views from the middle to upper storeys.

Bokarina Beach, beachside estates

Picture: Patrick Woods.

“Neil’s daily drive is to go and see the completion of the building being done. I think he’s been there every day,” Anita said.

The Espleys hope to be in the apartment by July 28: Neil’s 56th birthday.

After travelling around Australia in a caravan for about eight months, selling their home in nearby Wyanda Drive and setting up camp at a Golden Beach caravan park since February, they are champing at the bit to start their new life.

And you don’t have to sell the location and amenities to them.

Neil suffered a traumatic brain injury eight years ago at the age of 48, so the proximity to Sunshine Coast University Hospital and the Health Precinct was a priority, but not the only one Anita emphasised.

“When we downsized, I wanted to have somewhere I could live, have the beach there to admire its beauty (I don’t necessarily swim in the ocean) but also to walk to get a drink, a meal, to get milk and bread,” she said.

“(The apartment) ticked the boxes. We’ve known the area and we were happy to stay within it.”

And the Espleys have been told their front, east-facing apartment, which they bought off the plan for $889,000, could be worth up to $1.2-1.3 million by the time they move in.

Cooloola in Glassy Lane, Bokarina Beach

Cooloola in Glassy Lane, Bokarina Beach.

Senior development manager Matt Patullo said this week that as part of the final-ever release, Stockland had just one more home to sell at Bokarina Beach – Cooloola on Glassy Lane.

The Cooloola Lot 221 Bokarina Beach Townhouse is 258sq m (internal area 185sq m) with four bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and two car spaces for $1,599,000.

The home showcases the best in modern coastal architecture and features generous, an open floor plan inspired by the natural coastal environment, embracing filtered light, sea breezes and a strong connection to outdoor living.

“Since Stockland launched Bokarina Beach in 2017, it’s been exciting to see our vision for the beachside community coming to life,” Mr Patullo said.

“The opening of the first retail tenancy is a welcome addition to the facilities and infrastructure already in place, such as the adventure park and playground, the lake, the coastal walking trail, and the access to the patrolled Bokarina Beach.

“Creating public spaces and opportunities to enhance the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors is part of our commitment to building vibrant and connected communities.”


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