Popular venue battered by cyclone
ENTERING Beaches Backpackers after Cyclone Debbie tore through the Whitsundays, resort manager Kim Davies was met with a sight she would have never expected.
The resort and popular tourist and local watering hole was torn apart by Debbie with shade sails torn off and flood waters affecting 35 rooms and mud affecting 10.
Mattresses had been moved off beds and doors flung open due to the shere force of gale force winds.
"It was very emotional and very emotional for our staff," Ms Davies said.
Ms Davies had just returned from Melbourne when she quickly had to evacuate 220 guests from the resort after learning the venue was in the yellow evacuation zone.
"In the pouring rain we were sending them to Down Under Bar and Backpackers by the Bay," she said.
"It was actually really stressful for my staff because they'd been dealing with backpackers all day who were getting anxious and nervous and had constant questions."
With Debbie's expected force growing rapidly, Ms Davies said her main concern was getting the building secured.
"We taped up windows and we made sure everyone had their own stuff and if they didn't we needed to lock it up for them," she said.
"I had no idea (the cyclone) was going to be that bad and that long."
During the eye of the storm Ms Davies decided to return to assess the damage and discovered it wasn't just Cyclone Debbie that had come in uninvited.
"My windows were smashed in the front and I had looters here either before or after I'd been," she said.
"They got into the bar and were very selective. They took Coronas, Vodka Double Blacks and a lot of my spirits."
Thankfully, no money was taken.
Ms Davies said her staff had been "incredible" during the whole ordeal and had gone above and beyond to get the popular venue back to its original state.
Last night, Beaches opened up its doors for a few hours for a sausage sizzle and some music, bringing at least a small level of normality to the situation.
Beaches will be open for lunches and in the evening and will be operating as usual once power is returned.
Due to the level of damage to the resort, guests aren't expected to be taken for at least two to four weeks.