Historic Iconic Bush Pub - Accommodation, Safari Lodges, Camping - SOLD


A 'compulsory' tourist stop at the Gateway to Cape York located 30km south of Cooktown. Accessible either by one of the most beautiful 4WD tracks in Australia from Cairns past Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation and Bloomfield to the Lions Den Hotel.



The Lions Den Hotel was established and received its licence in 1888. The original owners Jack and Annie Ross established the hotel at the intersection of two important waterways (Mungumby Creek and the Little Annan River) to service the booming tin and gold mining trade of the time.

The hotel has remained almost unchanged on the same site since its establishment and is one of the oldest registered, continuously operating, hotels in Queensland that is still in its original building.

Annie Ross, left widowed in 1889 ran the hotel for many years while raising her two children before marrying George Watkin, and the family ran the hotel for several generations until in 1964 it was sold to the Cummings family.

The hotel gets its name from the nearby Lions Den Tin mine after a stowaway named Daniel was seen standing in the mouth of the tunnel by the mine owner and was described as ‘Daniel in the Lions Den’, the name apparently took and both the mine and the hotel carry this name.


The Lions Den Hotel is a must-see destination for both Australian and International travellers visiting the Cooktown and Cape York region. It is a quirky, much loved icon in the local community and holds many activities and events throughout the year. It is a unique live music destination and has a strong reputation for being professional, progressive and family friendly.

In recent years, the development of it’s 7 acre campground has fast made it the most popular stop for road based travellers in the region.

Client base

The hotel’s client base is enviously stable, yet extremely diverse and ranges from;

Locals from the Helenvale, Rossville, Bloomfield, and Cooktown areas

Regional Locals from the Tablelands, Cape Tribulation, Port Douglas and Cairns areas

Travellers from the Caravan, Camping, Four Wheel Drive and Motorbike market

Adventure Tour Groups (rallies, motorbike, four wheel drive, fishing etc)

Coach Tour Groups (clubs, cruise ship visitors, luncheons, international)

Workers from visiting and surrounding companies.

Hotel Objective:

The Lions Den Hotel is long established as a “must see” icon of Far North Queensland.  It provides a relaxed family friendly environment with consistently high standards of food and beverage service, as well as provides an outstanding camping, accommodation and travel experience for visitors with high attention being paid to both the local and the tourist market.

Areas of Operation

·         Bar; Delivery of food and beverage service, accommodation, souvenirs, basic groceries, mail and fuel.

·         Office : Stock control, employee management, accounts and finance

·         Kitchen

·         Housekeeping

·         Maintenance                    

Human Resources

The business is primarily driven and operated by a two person management team living on site, with the assistance of a number of trained bar staff also living on site plus three casual staff that live locally. The number of bar staff fluctuates throughout the year and is influenced by seasonal demand of road-based travellers in Far North Queensland.

The current organisational structure employed by Faith and Max Nulley comprises of:

·         2 Full time managers (current owners)

·         3-5 backpacker bar staff (full time on site)

·         2 Cleaners (part time - all year)

·         1 Casual cook (all year)

·         1 Chef (peak season only – full time on site)

Accommodation& Facilities

Capacity (as licenced) comprises of 48 beds /accommodated guests plus an expansive 5 acre campground (camping capacity in the order of 150 – 200 per night).  The accommodation and campground infrastructure comprises of;

·         4 Elevated Safari Lodges

·         6 Single donga rooms

·         8 Double donga rooms

·         5 Staff donga rooms

·         1 Tearoom

·         2 Amenities blocks

·         Laundry area

·         Unpowered Riverside Camping area (capacity approx. 200 people)

·         9 Powered campsites


1.       Owner’s residence – 2 bedroom self-contained elevated safari lodge with kitchen, bathroom, timber decks and fully fenced backyard.

2.       Managers unit – 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom, air-conditioned unit

Both the managers and owners residence are available for commercial letting at the discretion of the owners.

Power and Water Systems

·         Enviro-cycle EP50 Sewage Treatment Plant (installed 2012) Servicing all on site effluent.

·         Main water bore (1.5mgl licence) Services entire property, exceptional quality.

·         Mains power - Three phase.

·         18.5KVA DEK  - Hard wired back up Generator

Bar operations & Licencing

·         Standard Opening hours are 9am to 12am (extended or shortened based upon seasonal demand)

·         Licenced hours are 10am to 12am

·         Qualification RSA (Responsible service alcohol) certificate required by all bar staff.  A Qualified (RMLV) and certified (Approved manager) is required to be available within a reasonable amount of time.

·         Due to a long history of compliance, the Lions Den Liquor licence is among the least restricted in the broad region (Cairns to Cape York).

Corporate Clients

The Lions Den Hotel has developed partnerships with a range of companies and is proud to offer ongoing services and accommodation to the following clients;

·         Adventure North Australia

·         APT

·         Cape York Motorcycle Adventures

·         Fair Dinkum Bike Tours

·         North Queensland Adventure Tours

·         Wilderness Challenge

·         Mangali Tours

·         Voyager 4x4 adventures

·         Tag-a-Long Tours Australia

·         Aussie Quad Bike Adventures

·         G-Adventures

·         Outback Spirit

·         Oz Tours

·         Just for Kids Charity rally

·         Variety 4x4 Bash

·         Endeavour rally

·         RoadTek

·         GeoTek

·         MPDT (Mossman Port Douglas Tree loppers)

·         Sky Safari

·         Captain Billy’s

·         Great Divide Tours

Major Facility Improvements

The current owners (since March 2009) have engaged on a major refurbishment and capital improvement program of the Hotel, Infrastructure, Equipment and grounds.  In the past 4 years over $250k has been spent on making the Hotel compliant with local and state government regulations.  A further $100k has been invested in repairs, maintenance and equipment purchases required for the hotel to meet the increasing demands of patronage being generated by the marketing plan.

As well as compliance, the current owners objective has been to make the Hotel “easier” to run in the future by either owner operators or paid managers.

Major investments have been made in:

·         EPA compliant sewage treatment systems

·         Council approved buildings, extensions and accommodation units

·         Owners and Managers residence

·         Kitchen facilities

·         Cold store facilities

·         Electrical systems and wiring upgrades

·         Seating capacity

·         Camp ground capacity

·         Hotel and grounds presentation

Marketing Strategy

A strategic marketing approach is delivery year on year growth in visitor numbers.  The approach has been centred on attracting “high value” customers to physically stay at the Lions Den.  The iconic status of the hotel has long delivered a high degree of “brand awareness” and the approach has been to leverage this awareness and heavily promote the accommodation aspect of the hotel in order to best capitalise on visitor expenditure.

Key initiatives have been centred upon attendance and representation at Australia’s major camping, 4wd’ing and outdoor lifestyle exhibitions.

Regular and significant media coverage of the hotel has ensured that the brand is always at the fore of traveller’s itineraries.

Financial Performance

The attached financial summary clearly demonstrates that in the midst of one of the most challenging, national tourism periods, the Lions Den Hotel has continued to grow year over year in total revenue (+50% since 2008) and delivers an enviable profit margin.

The replacement cost of the buildings alone was valued in 2009 at $1.5m and substantial additions and improvements since that time have increased the value of the offering.

2010     Nett Profit $377K           Turnover $1.133m
2011     Nett Profit $357K           Turnover $1.151m
2012     Nett Profit $409K           Turnover $1.316m
2013     Nett Profit $451K           Turnover $1.575m
2014     Nett Profit $549K           Turnover $1.885m

Independent valuation undertaken in early 2014 supports the asking price.

For further information and a full Information Pack please contact us via the Make Enquiry button or alternatively directly Grant Freeman – 07 4055 3278 (Intl +61 7 4055 3278)