Ocean Rafting is proud to have teamed up with Tourism Australia in their latest marketing campaign! Here’s a special message from the Australian tourism industry, featuring Ocean Rafting in part. Show your support of the Australian Tourism industry, and all those who rely on it, by committing to holiday here this year! Post a photo or video of where in Australia you plan to visit using #HolidayHereThisYear and encourage your family, friends, guests and clients to do the same when visiting the Whitsundays!
Come and join the Whitsundays’ community to raise some much needed funds for our mates down south at our Whitsundays’ Bushfire Benefit!
WHEN: Sunday 2nd February 2020
TIME: 4:30pm – 7:30pm
WHERE: Coral Sea Marina North Village
Some of the Whitsundays’ favourite activities and venues have teamed up to offer plenty of family friendly fun to raise money for our friends further south who have been affected by the bushfire crisis.
• Ocean Rafting will be offering exhilarating joyrides and spins.
• Whitsunday Jetski Tours will be offering rides on the back of their awesome skis.
• Whitsunday Segway Tours will be gliding you around the marina.
• Just Tuckin’ Around will have you in stitches on their pedicab rides!
• Coral Sea Marina will have the BBQ fired up to keep those bellies full.
• Sorrento Restaurant & Bar will be mixing up a special delicious cocktail, “The BBC” (Bushfire Benefit Cocktail), with $5 per cocktail sold being donated.
• Garden Bar will be handing out discount cards on the night as well.
• Raffles and giveaways all night!
All tours, activities, raffles, food and beverages are being donated and we are asking for a donation for charity. All proceeds will be donated to the Australian Tourism Industry Bushfire Relief Fund for the Australian Red Cross.
With entertainment from local musicians, come down to lend a hand to those in need as the sun sets over our beautiful backyard! From locals to visitors, this is a family friendly and 4 legged friend event!
We look forward to seeing you there! For more information visit the Whitsundays’ Bushfire Benefit Facebook Event page here.
Following on from recent wins at both the Whitsunday and Queensland Tourism Awards, Ocean Rafting has more gongs to add to the cabinet after winning three awards at the 2019 Adventure Tourism Awards last Thursday night.
Now in its second year, the 2019 Adventure Tourism Awards has proved itself a valuable event to showcase outstanding businesses within this important sector across Australia and New Zealand, with businesses both large and small recognised for their achievements across 34 categories.
Ocean Rafting won silver for Eco and Sustainability, bronze for the Best Activity in Queensland and bronze for the Best Activity in Australia. The Whitsundays also won silver for the Best Youth/Adventure Marketed Destination and Ocean Rafting’s sister company, Ocean Safari, based in Tropical North Queensland won two silver awards on the night.
Ocean Rafting’s Sales Captain, Nathan Fleming, attended the evening which celebrated not only adventure operators throughout the country, but also from the Whitsundays, with this market making a significant contribution to the region.
“We are very proud of not only our team, but of all the other winners and adventure operators, especially the other Whitsunday winners, Whitsundays Sailing Adventures, True Blue Sailing, Prosail Whitsundays, Sailing Whitsundays and Tourism Whitsundays. This is an important market for our industry and it was great to come together and celebrate everyone’s commitment to youth and adventure tourism. Congratulations to everyone and thank you once again to everyone for their support,” said Nathan.
The event is organised by Adventure Queensland (AQ), the peak backpacking and independent travel industry body for Queensland, who last year identified the need for industry collaboration within the Australian and New Zealand youth tourism sector. Working alongside Backpacker Operators Association NSW (BOA) and the Backpacker Youth Tourism Advisory Panel (BYTAP), the Adventure Tourism Awards provided an opportunity for industry members to come together and celebrate outstanding contribution and excellence.
2018/19 Vice President of Adventure Queensland, Anita Butler said that it was great to see over 350 people celebrating the 2019 Youth Tourism Conference and 2019 Adventure Tourism Awards and support each other’s hard work and success.
“The Adventure Tourism sector is a vital part of the Australian and New Zealand tourism offering. These awards are made extra special with the inclusion of 30% consumer voting and the expert individual judging panel weighted evenly for the remaining 70% of final scoring.”
“The awards recognise the best of the best in travel agencies, tour/activity, innovation, cultural tourism, sustainability and accommodation. Entrants were judged based on their individual points of difference, unique selling points, customer reviews, business achievements and their links to the Adventure Tourism industry.”
“Congratulations to all the finalists and winners of the night. Your passion and commitment for our segment is evident and the achievement is so very well deserved!” Anita said.
Whitsunday tour operator, Ocean Rafting, won both a silver and bronze award at the Queensland Tourism Awards 2019 held on the Sunshine Coast on Friday night, winning the awards for the Major Tour and Transport Operator and Adventure Tourism categories respectively. The win follows recent success at the Whitsunday Tourism Awards, where Ocean Rafting won gold in the Adventure Tourism category. Sister company, Ocean Safari, based in Cape Tribulation, also came home with a bronze award in the Tour and Transport Operator category, bringing the tally to three gongs on the night.
Owners Peter and Jan Claxton attended the Queensland Tourism Awards 2019 ceremony and spoke proudly of their achievements in the three different categories. “We are so full of pride for our teams in both the Whitsundays and Cape Tribulation and they are such an integral part of the business. Both Ocean Rafting and Ocean Safari offer such unique experiences for guests and they are constantly evolving and growing. Our staff play such a big part in all of this and absolutely love what they do and the beautiful natural playgrounds they visit every day,” said Ms Claxton.
“While there has still been challenges for many tourism operators this year, it was wonderful to see so many Queensland tourism businesses come together to celebrate what this beautiful state has to offer and we pass on our congratulations to all the other winners and finalists.”
It has been another big year of growth for both Ocean Rafting and Ocean Safari. Ocean Rafting launched new aviation experiences and welcomed its seventh vessel, while Ocean Safari has continued to develop its land based operations, Safari Lodge and the Turtle Rock Café, to complement their Great Barrier Reef adventure, encompassing an entire Daintree rainforest retreat for guests to eat, stay and play.
“After 22 years operating Ocean Rafting and 11 years operating Ocean Safari, we are still growing and have another exciting year ahead with many new developments in the pipeline. We would really like to thank everyone for supporting us over the years,” said Ms Claxton.
Ocean conservation group Parley For The Oceans and Whitsunday Tour Operator, Ocean Rafting, collected over 800kg of washed-up marine debris from what seemed to be clean beaches on the central and southern island of the Whitsundays.
Fuel drums, fishing rope, bleach bottles, toothbrushes and bottle caps were the most common items found during a marine debris interception event organised by Parley Australia, and eco tour operator Ocean Rafting.
The collaboration team focused on islands that are harder to access for locals and smaller boat operations and that are especially exposed to the south-easterly winds.
“Seeing all this rubbish piled on the back of our boat and knowing it no longer harms these fragile ecosystems on and around the islands makes me incredibly happy and proud”, said Cole Claxton, Project Manager, Ocean Rafting. “At the same time, it makes me sad to think what would happen if we didn’t get in there and remove these harmful materials”, he adds.
Over two days, 20 volunteers and staff went to some of the most untouched islands of the Whitsundays, only to find that the islands were not so untouched after all.
“The beaches looked clean at first sight. But when we looked beyond the high tide line, into the vegetation and especially along the creek beds, plastic was everywhere”, said Christian Miller, director of Parley Australia. “It is devastating to see that even an iconic and well-looked after place like the Whitsundays isn’t spared the effects of our global plastic epidemic”.
It is understood that the southern equatorial current carries marine debris from South America, South-East Asia and foreign cargo ships in the waters in between, down along the eastern coast of Australia. Tradewinds catch the current and push the debris across to the islands and coastlines of the Australian east coast.
The group collected 600kg off only 1km of coastline on Shaw Island and 200kg off four beaches of Haslewood Island. The group also stopped by at Whitehaven Beach to confirm that it was the cleanest of them all. This can be attributed to the decade-long efforts by Eco Barge Clean Seas, who are regularly collecting marine debris from the beaches of the Whitsundays.
“It becomes obvious that the further we go from popular tourist spots, the more marine pollution we see. Therefore, our message can’t be clearer: just because we can’t see the pollution on our favourite beaches doesn’t mean we can ignore the problem. The pollution is where our ecosystems should be most undisturbed”, said Maren Eibner, Co-Director of Parley Australia. “This is not a local problem, it’s a global one”.
The group’s most surprising find was a traditional Indonesian spearfishing fin, hand-made from an old plastic drum, clearly indicating its long journey across the Indo-Pacific Ocean.
The group also found countless foreign bleach bottles, which are specifically used in the waters of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia to stun and live-catch fish, harming corals and other organisms with the aggressive chemical sodium hypochlorite.
“We couldn’t do what we are doing globally without the help of other not-for-profits like Eco Barge Clean Seas, environmentally conscious businesses like Ocean Rafting and the heroic efforts of volunteers. Bit by bit we are creating a voice for the oceans. One collaboration at a time”, Mr Miller says. “I know one day we will look back and say ‘we did it’”.
Asked how people can get involved in the movement, Mr Miller responds: “Pick your own battle and challenge yourself. Select an item in your daily life that you know isn’t good for the environment and cut it out, compliment businesses that support this movement, and speak up when you find unnecessary packaging and single use plastics. Organise your own beach cleanup in your community. Engage your kids and teach them the importance of our oceans. The actions we can take are manifold”.
Parley is the space where creators, thinkers and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and collaborate on projects that can end their destruction.
We believe the power for change lies in the hands of the consumer – given we all have a choice – and the power to shape this new consumer mindset lies in the hands of the creative industries.
To succeed, we need to find ways to synchronise the economic system of humankind with the ecosystem of nature. And make environmental protection fiscally lucrative for pacesetting major companies.
Ocean Rafting offers two exciting day tour adventures, the Northern Exposure and Southern Lights, as well as a range of unique packages, with each tour offering an exhilarating ride to Whitehaven Beach, pristine snorkelling reefs and guided National Parks walks. Ocean Rafting offers the ultimate access to Hill Inlet and special snorkelling sites ensure a memorable underwater experience. Rated in the top 10 experiences in Australia on TripAdvisor and as a multi Australia Tourism Award winner, Ocean Rafting offers personalised service while exploring amazing Whitsunday destinations.
Ocean Rafting has Advanced Ecotourism Certification and is a Green Travel Leader and a Climate Change Innovator. This year Ocean Rafting was entered into the coveted Ecotourism Australia Hall of Fame for being continuously certified for 20 years or longer. There are only 14 operators Australia-wide who have been acknowledged with this achievement, with Ocean Rafting being the only one in the Whitsundays.