The Managing Director of Quicksilver, Tony Baker, has been recognised at the 2019 Tropical North Queensland Tourism Industry Excellence Awards.

Mr Baker was awarded Outstanding Contribution by an Individual at the awards last Friday night at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, for his work across the local tourism industry.

Mr Baker, who has been Managing Director of Quicksilver for 12 years, said the award came as a complete surprise.

“I sat there at the awards listening to the things that particular person had done and then realised they are talking about me and it was a shock,” he said. “I feel very humbled to be recognised, I’ve always been very proud to be a part of the tourism industry up here.”

Mr Baker is also Chair of the Australian Marine Park Tourism Operators, is a member of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Tourism Recreation Advisory Committee, was formally Chairman of Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree and was formally on the board of Tourism and Events Queensland.

“I’ve never done what I’ve done to be recognised, I just do what I do to make a difference,” Mr Baker said.

He added that he has been working on promoting the region both domestically and internationally for many years.

“I’ve been involved in the tourism industry for a long time. It’s a great industry here with fantastic people working and driving the industry and it is so resilient.”
“I’d like to thank whoever nominated me and I’d like to thank the people at Tourism Tropical North Queensland who decided to present me with the award,” he said.

The awards night celebrated the achievements and successes of the entire local tourism industry and Tourism Tropical North Queensland (TTNQ) Chair Wendy Morris congratulated the winners.

“We have all faced challenges in the tourism industry in the past 12 months.”

“However, the people and products receiving awards this year have embraced these challenges with creative and innovative ideas that benefit not only their business, but also the destination,” Ms Morris said.

Great Barrier Reef Legacy, a Port Douglas based Reef research and education outfit, have been welcomed home in a new vessel and with a new funding partnership with Hemingway’s Brewery.

The Great Barrier Reef Legacy (GBRL) team arrived back at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina on Sunday after sailing their new research vessel back from Sydney.

Olympian David Forbes OA and family recently donated ‘Merlin’, a 51 foot McConaghy yacht, to GBRL to aid in their research, education, and community engagement expeditions.

Titled “Ocean Heroes” the most recent expedition was a tribute to David Forbes and others who have dedicated their lives to sharing the wonders of the ocean.

Upon arriving back in Port Douglas, the crew was treated to a party at Hemingway’s and the official launch of a funding partnership that will see GBRL receive 50 per cent of the profits of the sales of Hemingway’s 7th Heaven Tropical Ale.

Hemingway’s CEO Tony Fyfe said the brewery is excited to kick off the partnership.

“We are both local entities,” he said.

“GBRL is Port Douglas based and we opened our first brewery in Port Douglas three years ago so (Hemingway’s co-founder) Craig Parsell and I felt it was really important to give back to the community in some way.

“With the Great Barrier Reef on our doorstep, we thought it was a really worthy cause to try and save the reef.”

Dr Dean Miller of GBRL said the funding partnership is a wonderful thing for GBRL and their upcoming expeditions.

“This partnership with Hemingway’s allows us to get out on the water as often as possible and means we can go further and for longer and do more work,” he said. Dr Miller also said while they had a great time aboard their new vessel, the three-week journey home wasn’t just about sailing.

“Part of it was learning how to sail and getting used to the boat; it was important to make sure GBRL was ready to take it on with good experience,” he said.

“On top of that, we were collecting scientific data; we were doing micro-plastic tows from Sydney Harbour to Port Douglas so we now have a transact of the east coast.

“We were also collecting citation data so we counted more than 600 humpback whales and more than seven different species of dolphin, we conducted in-water surveys at certain points; it was non-stop.”

GBRL’s next project is reef restoration at Low Isles where they aim to help repopulate coral reefs in the fragile ecosystem.


Port Douglas’ own Great Barrier Reef Legacy (GBRL) will be welcomed home by their major fundraising partner, Hemingway’s Brewery, this weekend.

The GBRL Ocean Heroes expedition will sail into Port Douglas on Sunday after making the journey from Sydney.

With Ocean Heroes Dr Dean Miller and John Rumney at the helm, the GBRL crew are set to arrive back in Port Douglas after a research laden sailing expedition aboard the newly donated research vessel, ‘Merlin’.

‘Merlin’ is a 51 ft McConaghy racing / cruising yacht that was gifted to GBRL by Australian sailing hero and Olympian, David Forbes OAM.

Hemingway’s Brewery CEO and founder, Tony Fyfe said his team is looking forward to welcoming the crew home.

The brewery will also use the occasion to formally announce their partnership that will help fund GBRL’s research and reef education. “A key element of our partnership is our fundraising agreement which offers a 50 per cent profit share from the sale of every can of 7th Heaven Tropical Ale,” Mr Fyfe said.

“We are really impressed by Great Barrier Reef Legacy’s amazing work and fully support their vision for ensuring the survival of coral reefs.

“We understand funding will benefit future marine expeditions, innovative science, research and education.”

According to Mr Fyfe, sales for 7th Heaven Tropical Ale, which is available throughout Australia, will directly benefit GBR Legacy encompassing a raft of projects from cutting edge reef research and restoration to community engagement.

In coordinating the Ocean Heroes expedition that will travel up Australia’s east coast to arrive at its new home in Port Douglas, Dr Miller said the donation of the new vessel and the funding from Hemingway’s will allow the organisation to become the most environmentally friendly, research education and media platform on the Reef. “With climate change the single biggest threat to coral reefs worldwide, it is time we all make changes now that allow us to transition to renewable energy sources, and harnessing the wind is such a simple and common-sense solution for how we operate,” Dr Miller said.

Mr Fyfe said that as part of their sponsorship, Merlin’s sail will feature Hemingway’s 7th Heaven branding in a profile building exercise that will dually benefit beer sales and GBRL.

“We are absolutely thrilled to take part in this worthwhile expedition and look forward to doing our bit to aid Reef research and education,” he said.

A special event marking the end of the journey and Hemingway’s partnership will be held on Sunday, 22 September with a gathering of VIP invited guests from 1.00pm to 3.00pm at the Port Douglas brewery, Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina.


The famous white whale Migaloo and other humpback whales have been spotted in the warm waters of the Coral Sea near Opal Reef.

Donna Thompson, Office Manager at Wavelength Reef Cruises, said the great white whale and his friends were spotted earlier this week.

“The humpback whales were first sighted travelling north between Low Isles and Tongue Reef on our way out to Opal Reef at around 9:30am on Wednesday 3 July,” she said.

“Humpback whales have unique markings, which means we are able to identify individuals that have been sighted before in other places, and only a very small number of white humpback whales have been known to migrate up the east coast.

“After the encounter, we sent all of our footage and photographs to a team of whale researchers, and they managed to get a positive ID. “The larger of the two whales was identified as the Great Barrier Reef’s most famous white whale, Migaloo.”

The humpback whales make the long journey to our warm tropical waters every year to breed and can be seen from the decks of many tour boats.

Marine Biologist, Peta Campbell, said it’s rare to see them in large groups but not unheard of.

“While humpback whales are usually quite solitary animals, it is common to see mothers and calves travelling together, and also to see small groups of adult whales forming short-term associations during migration, feeding and breeding times,” she said.

“The southern hemisphere population of humpback whales migrate annually from their feeding grounds in Antarctica to their breeding grounds in warmer waters.

“Humpbacks can be seen on the Great Barrier Reef from May to September each year, but July and August are the best viewing months for Port Douglas. “Humpbacks can be seen on the Great Barrier Reef from May to September each year, but July and August are the best viewing months for Port Douglas.

“Their smaller cousins, the dwarf minke whales, are also sighted off Port Douglas each year during June and July. These curious whales will often approach snorkelers in the water.”

Ms Thompson said it’s always a great pleasure to see the majestic creatures in the wild.

“There is just something about whales that inspires awe in people,” she said.

“Having a chance encounter with a very large, completely wild and incredibly rare animal was definitely an exhilarating experience.”

She said there is no time like now to get out to the reef and see the humpback whales up close.

“While no one can guarantee sighting a wild animal like a whale, your best chance of spotting one off Port Douglas is to visit the outer reef,” she said.

“During peak whale season it is common for tour operators to see whales breaching, spouting, and slapping their fins on their way to and from the reef, with whales occasionally even being seen whilst moored at outer reef sites.”


Visitors and locals have the opportunity to experience three iconic Port Douglas attractions in one easy day.

Bally Hooley Rail Tours has launched a new Winter Special that gives patrons access to a river cruise, lunch at the marina and a ride on the historic train.

On a single ticket, patrons will board the Choo Choo Explorer custom catamaran at 10:45am for a leisurely cruise along Dickson’s Inlet starting at 11am.

See crocodiles in their natural habitat, learn about the history of the Port Douglas region, and take in the stunning tropical landscape.

Choo Choo Explorer skipper, Rod Sherlock, said the cruise and the train ride is a perfect combination to see some of the best parts of the area. “We aim to give people as much of an experience as we can while accounting for the low tides during the winter months,” he said.

“I think it’s great, I’m semi-retired so doing this gets me out and gives me the chance to meet lots of lovely people and give them a really cruisy day on the inlet.”

Upon disembarking from the boat at the award-winning Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, patrons will be treated to a free lunch at the gorgeous café Choo Choos at the Marina.

Including a free drink of choice, lunch will run from 12.30pm to 1.45pm, giving attendees a chance to stroll the marina, or pop up the road and see more of Port Douglas.

After lunch comes boarding the historic Bally Hooley train for a jaunt through the hidden parts of the town. The train has a few locomotives, but the Nelson is a restored steam engine originally built in the 1930s.

The tour then arrives at Choo Choos at St Crispins where patrons can overlook the lake and perfectly manicured grounds of the Mirage Country Club golf course.

It’s then back on the train to return to the marina where the tour concludes and amazing new memories are kept forever.

Bally Hooley Rail Tours is now operating five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday.

The Winter Special runs on select days and this week it will run from 26 to 30 June and as with all tours, it can be booked directly online where you can see the live availability for your preferred travel dates.


Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina will be a hive activity on Saturday morning when global children’s icon SpongeBob SquarePants will be at the Marina and the star on Channel 7s Sunrise morning show which will film live from Port Douglas.

The filming also coincides with World Ocean’s Day which is celebrated to remind you of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe.

The purpose of the day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans. Andy Ridley from the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef will also be present on Saturday morning and is looking forwards to meeting the PDSS Reef Guardians, and all age groups are encouraged to attend and help kick off this great initiative.

Channel 7 will cross live for the weather and SpongeBob will be there from 7am and there will be five crossings to the Marina between 7am and 9.45am.

Sponge Bob Square Pants is a global children’s icon and this will be his first visit to the region.

SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television series created by marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon.

The series chronicles the adventures and endeavours of the title character and his various friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom.

The general manager of Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Robert Cruz, said he was excited to host this collaborative event.

“It’s great to show the health of the reef, to host SpongeBob SquarePants, Channel 7 and everyone who attends this special occasion,” said Cruz. Details:
What: Catch SpongeBob SquarePants live on Channel 7 Sunrise at Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina.
When: Saturday 8 June between 7:00 – 9:45am to catch SpongeBob on his first visit to the Great Barrier Reef.
Where: On the Marina boardwalk near Lure Restaurant.
What to see: See Channel 7s Sunrise crew live at the Marina and celebrate World Ocean’s Day.
Kids’ fun: Kids can also join SpongeBob’s Reef Squad, Junior Citizens of the Reef.


  • What: Catch SpongeBob SquarePants live on Channel 7 Sunrise at Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina.
  • When: Saturday 8 June between 7:00 – 9:45am to catch SpongeBob on his first visit to the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Where: On the Marina boardwalk near Lure Restaurant.
  • What to see: See Channel 7s Sunrise crew live at the Marina and celebrate World Ocean’s Day.
  • Kids’ fun: Kids can also join SpongeBob’s Reef Squad, Junior Citizens of the Reef.


The Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina in Port Douglas has been awarded ‘Marina of the Year’ for the second time since 2017.The award ceremony was held on Tuesday night hosted by Club Marine and conducted by the Marina Industries Association (MIA).

Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina took out the top gong in the Commercial Marina under 140 Boat category.

Marina General Manager, Rob Cruz, said the award reflects the dedication and work of the marina staff.

“It’s a fantastic feeling and it’s great recognition of the hard work the team put in every day and it’s a credit to our dedication and focus on customer satisfaction and experience,” he said.

The marina in Port Douglas was up against the Rivergate Marina and Shipyard in Brisbane but Mr Cruz said “of course there are no hard feelings and we share a business and industry relationship with Rivergate.”

“Rivergate is a really well known and respected marina and shipyard in Australia so it’s great we were both recognised and that goes for all the finalists; it’s important we all support each other.

“Although the award categories are competitive and the finalists value a win it is also important that communities, industry, and government recognise the importance of the marinas in their regions.”

Mr Cruz is confident the marina will continue to be a world-class operator once the proposed hotel development gets underway.

“It is fantastic to see the development planning moving forward” he said.

“This award is further recognition of the high quality product that the Crystalbrook Collection is committed to and is expanding upon.”


SEAFOOD at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina will be nothing short of extravagant.

Fresh oysters, prawns and fish will be on offer as Port Douglas Carnivale celebrations continue with a Seafood Extravaganza “marina takeover” on Sunday.

Hemingway’s Brewery will join forces with Santiego Seafoods, Barbados, Lure and Preston Fresh Seafoods to reignite “the original” Carnivale Sunday seafood event.

Hemingway’s venue manager Chris Barber said the event will have a fun festival atmosphere, with lots to do.

“We have been able to bring back the original Seafood Extravaganza that is so loved by the locals to its former glory,” Mr Barber said. “Even if you don’t like seafood, there will be something for you here. It should be a good turn out, it’s a great event supporting local businesses. There will be plenty to keep the kids busy with Melville’s Petting Zoo and Hartley’s Reptile show, along with face painting, an ice-cream van and a fire engine. Non-stop live music, starting with Cairns acts Cam Kettle and Simon Harris, followed by The Lost Backpackers (Ireland) and The Lyrical (Brisbane).”

The extravaganza kicks off at the marina on Sunday at 12pm. Entry is free.


Hemingway’s Brewery has attracted more awards for their brews, this time at the 2019 Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA).

Hemingway’s Breweries’ walked away from the competition with Best Pilsner and a swag of gold, silver and bronze medals.

Hosted by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria, the AIBA presentation evening saw industry leaders and experts worldwide come together to celebrate the best local and international beer.

Eight champion trophies were awarded in addition to Champion Australian Beer and Champion International Beer.

Hemingway’s Brewery Results at the 2019 AIBA were:

  • The Prospector Pilsner – Gold medal and Best Pilsner
  • Tunnel 10 Lager – Gold medal
  • Pitchfork Betty’s Pale Ale – Silver medal
  • The Endeavour West Coast IPA – Silver medal
  • 7th Heaven Tropical Ale – Bronze medal
  • Doug’s Courage XPA – Bronze medal

Hemingway’s Brewery CEO and co-founder Tony Fyfe said they were ‘over the moon’ at winning Best Pilsner for signature beer, The Prospector which also secured gold in its category.

“We basically took home a medal for every core beer in our range and we couldn’t be happier,” he said.

“This is a big deal for us and especially when you consider the competition that includes large multi-national companies.

“We are extremely proud of our team and the industry’s endorsement for our talented brewers.”



MAJOR players in the superyacht and tourism industry rubbed shoulders at an informative famil at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina on Tuesday.

The week-long event showcased everything Port Douglas and Cairns had to offer, as a premier superyacht destination.

Dr Dean Miller from Great Barrier Reef Legacy spoke of why Port Douglas was the perfect launching point to experience what the Great Barrier Reef had to offer.

“The outer Reef is in exceptionally good condition,” he said.

“With the correct guides you can have the most amazing experience.

“There are a lot of opportunities for the superyacht industry, including specialised charters with marine experts and have an adventure with a purpose.”

Points of international vesselsmaking their way to the Far North was a bid talking point.

Super Yacht Group GBR chairwoman Carrie Carter said promotion of the local superyacht charter industry was important.

“Since the… decision in August 2017 to overturn legislative barriers that prevented superyachts from cruising here, many new anchorages have opened up,” Ms Carter said.

Source: Cairns Post