TOP TEN STORY IDEAS – JULY/AUGUST 2012
1. FANTASEA FAREWELLS THE WHITSUNDAYS
Iconic Whitsundays tour operator Fantasea Adventure Cruising has been sold to competitor Cruise Whitsundays. All of Fantasea’s Whitsundays operations including Reefworld and Reefsleep at Hardy Reef, and the Hamilton Island ferry service will be operated by Cruise Whitsundays from Monday 16 July. Cruise Whitsundays has also purchased Fantasea’s land and marina holdings at the Port of Airlie, which is planned to become to the new ferry terminal in the centre of Airlie Beach. Cruise Whitsundays owners Chris Jacobs and Roger Dold said they were delighted with the acquisition. “We have steadily built our presence in the Whitsundays but it has been a struggle to get the business to its full potential,” they said. “With the additional passengers and services we have acquired from Fantasea, the economics of the business will be stronger and will allow us to focus on growth and innovation in these challenging times.” Expect future announcements on new product innovations, changes to existing products and greater connectivity between the Whitsundays island resorts and Airlie Beach.
2. LEARN TO SAIL IN THE WHITSUNDAYS
With sailing part of the local currency in the Whitsundays, Beautiful Bavaria sailing yacht ‘Pacific Blitz’ has just launched it’s new sail training tour through the Whitsundays, offering sail training for all skill levels including accredited courses. Carrying only 5-8 individuals in 4 private cabins, the skipper/trainer is an internationally experienced yachtsman and Yachting Australia/RYA accredited sailing instructor. By journey’s end guests will have gained a thorough grasp of sailing techniques, as well as enjoying the stunning scenery as they sail from Mackay to the Whitsundays. Guests of any experience level are welcome – from beginners to those looking to formalise their skills for accreditation. The 4 night/5 day package includes all meals, snorkelling equipment and all sail training. There is also a 2 day/1 night package available over weekends.
3. A TOUCH OF MOROCCO ARRIVES IN AIRLIE BEACH
Cha’Mah Moroccan Bar and Restaurant is the latest restaurant to open at the Port of Airlie in central Airlie Beach.
Cha’Mah has a selection of over 35 teas on the way, to offer a cosy spot to look over the new Port of Airlie marin
and out to the Coral Sea, as well as a full delicious menu of Moroccan delights available 7 days per week.
4. WHITSUNDAY FITNESS ESCAPE
10-12 August: Cape Gloucester Eco Resort
19-21 October: Airlie Beach
23-25 November: Hamilton Island
The Whitsunday Fitness Escape is a new weekend long escape jam packed with bootcamps, hiking, boxing and more, run by personal trainers Michelle Murphy and Ann Parrott. The Escapes include accommodation and healthy meals for all participants and are open to all levels of fitness. The Whitsundays has such a diverse terrain for training – with the beach, the mountains and the islands all at our fingertips – so it is a beautiful way to work towards a healthy lifestyle.
5. NEW AUDIO TOURS ON HAMILTON ISLAND
To help guests on Hamilton Island immerse themselves in their surrounds and provide local knowledge at the touch of a button, Hamilton Island has developed two free audio tours for guests. Available in five languages – English, Japanese, Mandarin, Italian and German, the new audio tours of Passage Peak and the Village Trail enable visitors to be ‘personally’ guided through the Island’s history, stunning vistas and secluded beaches. With 70% of Hamilton Island considered National Parkland, the Passage Peak tour is an invaluable resource for guests wanting to learn about the region’s unique flora and fauna: from cabbage tree palms, to green ants that weave leaves with silk, to the blue tiger butterflies that flit across the Island’s paths. For history buffs, the Village Trail tour provides an overview of the history of Hamilton Island, taking guests back in time with tales of Captain Cook’s first journey through the area on ‘Whit Sunday’ before educating guests about the Island’s recent history, including current owners of Hamilton Island, the Oatley family, their love of the Island and the investment they have made to make Hamilton Island one of the world’s favourite holiday destinations. Both tours also let guests in on little secrets, like the best place to watch the sun set or how best to spend a day in paradise.
6. STORY IDEA: WHALE WATCHING – FREE WITH ANY TOUR
Tours in the Whitsundays are already enjoying the added bonus of whale watching as they go about their daily trips to the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach and around the Whitsunday Islands. The protected waters of the Whitsundays are a favourite for mummy humpbacks to shelter in and give birth to their young ones. Visitors on charter boats, private boats, scenic flights, and guests on the islands and mainland have been treated to plenty of spectacular shows of breaching, and keeping a close and hopeful eye open for the return of the infamous ‘Migaloo’ rare albino whale and ‘Chalkie’ the white whale who was born in the Whitsundays last year. There’s plenty of whale action ahead throughout July – September, and while there’s no formal whale watching tours in the Whitsundays, it’s a just a free bonus on any of the tours around the region for the next 3 months.
Forget the old traditional conference location, BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday has launched into the market with an oasis of opportunities to meet in tropical paradise. The multi-award winning Airlie Beach resort is now catering for small conferences, events and retreats for up to 50 people. Rather than move from an office to a hotel situation, this resort offers a meeting room, 26 acres of lush tropical gardens for team building and break-out spaces with enough room to think outside the box.
7. TID BITS OF JUICY GOSSIP:
110 year old tallship ‘Solway Lass’ has had a refit and well earned spruce up. Along with painting, engineering works and general maintenance, an important part of the refit included the construction of two double ensuited double/twin guest cabins. The construction of the new cabins means Solway Lass now has 10 guest cabins from shared to private ensuited cabins perfect for a romantic sailing getaway. New timber decks have also been hand laid, using traditional methods of hammering hemp rope into the joins before covering with black pitch, ensuring the beautiful old tallship remains in authentic condition.