Ocean Alliance has hosted a select group of international charter agents, travel designers and media representatives onboard M/Y ONEWORLD to discover the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef. The outstanding feedback from the guests highlighted a greater appreciation of the destination, delight in its vibrancy and a desire to protect and celebrate this UNESCO World Heritage Listed location.
Among the six hand-picked guests were three representatives of world’s leading brokerage houses – Camper & Nicholsons (France), Northrop & Johnson (USA), and the Luxury Charter Group. Thanks to the growing interest for superyacht bookings in the travel agency world, the group included a representative from influential Australian high-end inbound agency, The Tailor. A journalist contributor to Forbes, Bloomberg and Michelin guides flew in from New York with Tourism Australia’s support, to join The CEO Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief.
Setting out from Hamilton Island, the five-day familiarisation trip took in the highlights of the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef from both above, on and below the water’s surface. The invaluable support received from Tourism Australia allowed guests access engaging experiences alongside ONEWORLD’s unique offering in the domestic charter market.
These wide and varied experiences included cuddling a koala; wandering along the iconic Whitehaven Beach on the south east coastline of Whitsunday Island (recently voted the best island in the world by Condé Nast’s 2018 readers survey); a trek to the heights of Hamilton Island’s Passage Peak to expansive views of the entire region under an iconic Australian crisp blue sky; undertaking a scenic seaplane flight over the islands and reef, spotting mantarays and turtles under the clear surface; diving into the depths from the aft deck during a brief yet memorable Outer Reef experience; and an adrenaline-fueled slide down the inflatable slide at Chance Bay.
“It was wonderful to experience first-hand the latest addition to the Australian charter fleet. ONEWORLD is a beautiful, well-equipped Majesty 100 that delivers a premium charter experience. The Crew and Chef were so professional and the service, the food and the ambience were exceptional. I have a renewed enthusiasm for the Whitsundays and the Reef, thanks to the amazing ONEWORLD charter. We were able to explore the region’s picturesque islands, from the most remote and untouched bays to the 5-star luxury of qualia and the boutiques, restaurants and attractions of Hamilton Island,” said Jeni Tidmarsh of Luxury Charter Group.
The compact trip also included cruising out to the Great Barrier Reef, in a short 3-hour motoring passage, and taking the opportunity to dive on the reef guided by Reef Safari’s insightful Instructor.
“’I’ve dived in many places in the world and the clarity on the reef was exceptional at the Stepping Stones dive site. I was so excited to dive in the Great Barrier Reef, and my expectations were way surpassed. I was blown away. The team at Reef Safari were wonderful guides, pointing out different types of fish and, after our dive, giving a great mini lesson on the fascinating life of reef and coral,” said journalist Sophie Friedman.
The Stepping Stones are a unique feature of Bait Reef. They are made up of 18 or more flat topped, thus the name, coral pinnacles lined up in a row. At the Southern Face shallow waters are dominated by flat terrain completely covered by hard corals with the odd sand patch. Large turtles, manta rays and some pelagic fishes such as mackerel and barracuda are often seen cruising along the drop-off.
“I recently read a quote by renowned marine biologist, Sylvia Earle, where she said ‘Please get out into wild places…. And get under the sea. Look at creatures and how they live. It’s hard to be reckless with nature if you have spent time in a wild place. So be a curious explorer!’ and without doubt, we now have six of the most committed ambassadors for the reef and chartering a superyacht in the Whitsunday Islands,” said Laurie Foulon, Charter Experience Manager of Ocean Alliance.
The familiarisation trip wasn’t all at sea as the group had the opportunity to discover Hamilton Island and its leading resort, qualia, for a private tour of its private pavilions and sumptuous hosted lunch. The final leg was returning to Airlie Beach on the mainland of Australia, whilst Tourism Australia’s representative Ingrid Sellarulo guided the group through the Signature Experiences program, followed by Captain Matt Baily who imparted his immense knowledge of the area and secret spots for beach BBQs and exploration.
ONEWORLD was launched onto the Australian superyacht charter market earlier in the year. Built to the exacting standards of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the yacht is available for charter along the east coast of Australia offering guests a quintessentially Australian experience on a leading superyacht.
As superyachts are limited to no more than 12 guests, the impact of international guests discovering a destination as unique and sensitive as the Great Barrier Marine Park is very low. Whilst the tourism expenditure is high yielding, a recent Economic Impact study undertaken by peak industry body, Superyacht Australia, calculated that superyacht guests spend AUD$7500 per guest per day ashore.
“Our partners from this trip onboard ONEWORLD will return to their desk invigorated by the experience of cruising on a superyacht on the Queensland coast. Their recommendations will result in discerning travellers selecting the destination for their next holiday bringing tourism dollars to this regional centre not to mention a heightened awareness, appreciation and celebration of the reef. We see it often, guests return from a reef experience with altered perspectives and committed to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef,” offered Joachim Howard, Managing Director of Ocean Alliance.