North Break wave park founder determined and driven as ever to ensure project becomes a reality


Michael Warren


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North Break founder and director Dave Imgraben shows Newsport the proposed site of the wave park. Video: Michael Warren

Last March Douglas Shire Council approved one of the larger and more substantial development applications in the region for over a decade.

In recent times speculation has continued to grow across the Douglas Shire about the North Break Port Douglas wave park project and whether it will go ahead.

Upon last year’s announcement the project’s developers revealed a 300 metre long, surfable wave pool and a 10-acre freshwater swimming lagoon would be at the heart of the project.

The application also detailed a three storey 4.5-star hotel with 164 rooms and a future retail area on site that would cater to hospitality, conference, day spa and function spaces.

The developers further elaborated the project would offer short term accommodation, which would consist of 90 self-contained villas, along with a tourist park area of 35 self-contained cabins, a caretaker’s residence and a helipad.

In more recent times there has been limited public news about the wave park’s current status or progress - until now.

In a rarely granted, special two-part feature interview North Break wave park founder and director Dave Imgraben just days ago accompanied Newsport editor Michael Warren to the site location.

There, he answered all the burning questions and revealed the very latest about the project.

“One of the things I’ve heard many times over the years is locals and tourists’ ongoing concerns about the potential for stinger and crocodile encounters while swimming in the ocean up here at Port Douglas and Far North Queensland,” Mr Imgraben explained.

“It’s a real and valid concern. This facility will provide a way to swim or surf safely 365 days a year.

“This park will provide locals and tourists with something new and exciting to do.

“The proposed site has 100 acres here all up and we’re utilising 60 acres of it; 40 acres will be revegetated back to its natural state – environmentally, it’s an awesome outcome for this particular location.”


For a man with a love of the ocean, big waves and his trusty surfboard it’s seems only natural that Dave would be a driving force and advocate for such a project.

But his reasons for wanting this project to become a reality go deeper than just seeing others experience a break or two in FNQ.

“I’ve been here in Port Douglas a long time,” he remarked.

“I have a 33-year-old son that was born here, I’m a passionate surfer as well.

“There are a lot of Aussies that won’t come this far north during the holiday season because they can’t get a wave here.

“I feel this is a really good opportunity to provide something like that to cater to those that want to get a wave up here.

“Douglas Shire also has a big push to drive its adventure tourism market and this project fits in well with that.

“One of the major positives of the park will be its linkage to the Wangetti Trail.

“Children will be able to ride a bike or get on a scooter and come directly out to the site when it’s built. They won’t have to cross a road, (they) don’t have to cross a highway - there will be awesome accessibility for those guys.

“In general, we’ve had awesome support from both (the) Federal and State Governments. (Federal Leichhardt MP) Warren Entsch calls this place the ‘northern bookend’ of the Wangetti trail.

“For years I’ve heard people come into Port Douglas and ask, ‘what does Port Douglas need?’ Port Douglas has got a lot; I just feel the wave park will add something to the region.”


Naturally a project of this magnitude has so many long-term benefits.

“To start, there is the health and fitness (aspect) of it,” Dave remarked.

“Then there’s the chance for local youth to identify with the project as well. We really want the local youth to be excited and involved in this project.

“What we have is an amazing concept – it’s right up there as (being) world class.

“It will be something quite unique and a real catalyst for the next stage of tourism in Far North Queensland.”

*In part two tomorrow Dave reveals a perfect case scenario and timeline of when construction might begin and when we can potentially expect the doors to open to the much-anticipated facility.

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