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See for yourself – the Great Barrier Reef Region has it all for Superyachts

Delegates who took part in this year’s Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef annual media familiarisation tour have given the event a universal thumbs up, with comments ranging from ‘eye-opening’ and ‘fantastic’ to ‘a revelation’.

The annual event invites media and tourism representatives from around the world to Far North Queensland to enjoy a premier superyacht experience which takes them from Cairns to Port Douglas, north to the Daintree and as far South as the Whitsundays.

“It is crucial that we host these tours showcasing all that our region offers to the global fleet and giving them the true picture of our amazing Great Barrier Reef,” Famil Project Manager Joanne Drake said.

“Already, we have had the fastest return-on-investment to date in the history of the group’s famil tours, with two charters already booked, another inquiry in the process, two media pieces published in the Canary Wharf magazine,  London Luxury magazine, The Robb Report and more on the way.

[ngg src=”galleries” ids=”3″ display=”basic_thumbnail”]“Invaluable partnerships have been made with more introductions and invitations to present to our target audiences overseas flowing our way.”

Delegates at this year’s famil, which was held from May 10th to 18th, included Christelle Holler, Director of Tahiti Private Expeditions; Julia Zaltzman, Editor/Writer; Cynthia Rasch, General Manager of Port Denarau Marina, Fiji; Suzy Mercien-Ferol, Co-founder/Director Touring Treasures; and Michael Schueler, from the United States, Captain of the 70m superyacht Sycara V and Joanna Crutch of Fraser Yachts.

According to Ms Holler, “discovering the incredible Great Barrier Reef region has been a revelation!” Among her personal highlights was the diving at Agincourt Reef while on board MV Monsoon, closely followed by the excursion from Skyrail to Kuranda Rainforest.

After visiting BSE Cairns Slipways Mayoral Welcome Party – (and having a sneak peak at the world’s largest 1120 tonne Mobile Boat Hoist), viewing the dedicated superyacht wharf – the largest in Australia – at the Cairns Marlin Marina, and attending the Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef information session and the Great Barrier Reef International Marine College, Captain Schueler said he could “provide a fantastic experience for our yacht guests and crew, as well as provide our yacht with all the needed maintenance”. 

Media delegate, Julia Zaltzman said “when compared to the milk-run yachting destinations – Mediterranean/Caribbean – the Great Barrier Reef is in a league of its own”.

“There are so many incredible elements that are unique to the region, but it’s also the vastness of the area that means guests can cruise for weeks and experience something new every day,” she said.

“I truly believe that once international yachts can charter in Australian waters (it has to happen!) that there will be a tipping point, and the realisation will occur that other international markets fall short in comparison”.

The famil tour included the Tjapukai Creation story with spear and boomerang throwing, massages at Elleme Spa – Riley, Skyrail to Kuranda Rainforest Journeys, Cape Tribulation tour and ice-cream tasting, Great Barrier Reef International Marine College & BSE Cairns Slipways sneak peak at the new Mobile Boat Hoist, along with visiting the Cairns Zoom Wildlife Dome and meeting some crocodiles and koalas up close and personal. 

Accommodation on-board and time for snorkeling and relaxing on local superyachts was golden. MY Spirit, MY Sahana and MY Norseman were all a big part of the entire famil tour.  Helicopter flights over the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns to Port Douglas and from Hamilton Island over Heart Reef to Coral Sea Marina at Airlie Beach were a true highlight, putting the sheer size of this natural world wonder into perspective for them.

Andy Ridley spoke of piloting the new Census program, which SuperYacht Group Great Barrier Reef are partnering with them on as a ‘Call to Action’ for Superyacht crew and their owners involved in the important research work to document the vast area of the Great Barrier Reef and importantly assist in covering the 40% that currently remains unresearched.  Superyacht owners are well-known for their philanthropic interests and this opportunity to preserve the reef for future generations will also be presented.

Guests were most impressed by the exclusive dinners, hosted by the Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef members: Cést Bon, Salt House, Rocco and Paper Crane at Riley – a Crystalbrook Collection Resort, MY Spirit, MY Sahana, Edgehill Butchery’s gourmet BBQ, qualia Resort – Hamilton Island, The Coral Sea Resort – Airlie Beach, TAFE GBRIMC Qld, ISP and Dundees at the Aquarium.

Delegates were also given presentations by industry experts on the capability of the region to cater to superyachts and also to impart knowledge from scientists on the true story of the Great Barrier Reef by Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef, GBR Legacy, Tom Lang – Dive Addiction and the sports-fishing aspect covered by Amanda Haines of Zulu Fishing Charters.

“To have first hand, highly educated presentations delivered on the health of the Great Barrier Reef was invaluable for the delegates,” Ms Drake said. “This will allow them to more accurately and confidently advise their clients that the reef is still thriving.”

This learning aspect also appealed to delegate Ms Mercien-Ferol who said “it was eye-opening, fun, and intriguing. It made me see the Great Barrier Reef with new eyes, and I can’t wait to go back!”

Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef chairperson Carrie Carter said the annual event was only possible with the support of Cairns Regional Council, Ports North, Tourism Australia and our Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef members.

“There are so many people to thank, and as a result of their generous contributions, a win-win situation is achieved by gaining invaluable exposure to this extremely high-yield niche market,” she said.

“We plan to continue this in-bound mission by continuing to expose our region’s exceptional offerings to the global Ultra High Net Wealth super yacht market to benefit all in our region for many years to come”.

“Showcasing the diversity of the Whitsunday and Great Barrier Reef cruising grounds to international delegates gives us the opportunity to highlight the region as a premium Superyacht destination. With increasing numbers of international vessels developing itineraries that include Australia, the additional exposure for our region through media and industry partnerships is invaluable. Industry collaboration is key, and the SYGGBR international delegate famil is a prime example of diverse regions working together to reap benefits for all involved,” explains Kate Purdie, general manager Coral Sea Marina Resort.

We wish to thank the following for their great generosity and whom without their support this incredible opportunity would not have been possible:

  • Cairns Regional Council
  • Carter Marine
  • Coral Sea Resort Marina
  • Australian Superyacht Services Qld
  • BSE Cairns Slipways
  • C’est Bon Restaurant
  • Cairns Airport
  • Cairns Aquarium
  • Cairns Marlin Marina
  • Cairns Zoom
  • Camper & Nicholsons
  • Citizens of the Reef
  • Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina
  • Dive Addiction
  • Edge Hill Butchery
  • Fraser Yachts
  • Great Barrier Reef International Marine College
  • qualia Resort – Hamilton Island
  • High Heeled Tours
  • ISP
  • Kuranda Rainforest Tours
  • Mainie
  • Motor Yacht Bahama
  • Motor Yacht Dreamtime,
  • Motor Yacht Sahana,
  • Motor Yacht Spirit
  • MV Monsoon
  • Nautilus Aviation
  • Ports North
  • Riley – A Crystalbrook Collection Resort
  • Salt House
  • Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
  • Spectrum Sounds
  • Spirit Luxury Charters
  • Sportsfisher Zulu
  • Tjapukai
  • Tourism Australia
  • Tropical Tastes




Joanne Drake
Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef
Ph: +61 458 794 001

Carrie Carter
Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef
Ph: +61 429 391 046


The Super Yacht Group Great Barrier is a non-profit, membership based consortium proactive internationally in promoting the Great Barrier Reef region as the perfect home port for superyachts offering all the required services and infrastructure needed. It attends major boat shows around the world, such as The Monaco Yacht Show, Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, The Singapore Yacht Show and Rendezvous in Tahiti and Fiji.  With the assistance of the Cairns Regional Council, Ports North and Tourism Australia the group also hosts numerous inbound familiarisation tours.