Port Douglas has always been famous for its clear dark skies brightened by the infinite glow of the stars.

But visitors have never been treated to a guided astronomy tour using military grade lasers while floating on the waters of the Coral Sea.

That is until now.

Pioneering Port Douglas businessman John Morris has teamed up with Blue Dive owner Mark Fraenkel to offer an unprecedented nighttime experience on board one of the most popular vessels in town.

Enter the Sunset and Stargazing Adventure Cruise by Blue Dive on the Choo Choo Explorer.

Using the finest in licensed green star spotting lasers, the second half of the cruise is dominated by the cosmic enchantment in the sky.

“We had a vision and wanted to offer something that’s never been seen before in Port Douglas,” Fraenkel said.

“The southern sky shines brightest in Australia, so for people to experience its magic on a guided stargazing expedition on water is very unique.

“It’s certainly an exciting collaboration between John Morris and Blue Dive Port Douglas.”

The tour, rubber-stamped by the Astronomical Society of Australia, also offers a rare opportunity to see the region’s exciting wildlife under the cover of darkness.

How? Using specifically designed, red-beamed, wildlife spotting torches, of course.

“We wanted to offer a tropical wildlife experience and give visitors a chance to spot a crocodile, or some of the vast array of nocturnal animals, at night,” Fraenkel said.

“A lot of thought has gone into making this one of the best experiences in the region using state-of-the-art equipment.”

After taking in the rainforest-clad Great Diving Range at sunset, the adventure makes its way up the mangrove-lined Dicksons Inlet where keen eyes begin to scan the waterways.

The tour then turns toward the sky where the history of the constellations are passed on by a trained guide, along with tales from Kuku Yalanji folklore.

“Our beautiful star-studded sky is like a time machine, there are just so many incredible stories to be told and that’s what this tour is all about,” Fraenkel adds.

“The moon’s light takes 1.3 seconds to get to us, and the sun, our nearest star, over eight minutes.

“So we point out some very distant stars that potentially have died hundreds and hundreds of years ago.”

The cruise, which runs for almost two hours, includes free nibbles and a paid bar. Trips run on Monday and Thursday at 5.30pm from the Port Douglas marina.

SUNSET & STARGAZING ADVENTURE CRUISE

by Blue Dive on the Choo Choo Explorer

For more information and to book visit www.bluedive.com.au/stargazing, email info@bluedive.com.au or call 0427 983 907.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2018/july/port-douglas-stargazing-tour-captures-imaginations/

A STAPLE of the Port Douglas Carnivale will return to the marina this year.

The Seafood Extravaganza will be held at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina on Sunday, May 27 and the old favourite is set to team up with Hemingway’s Brewery, who will have a specially crafted beer for the occasion.

The craft beer will match the seafood including oysters, prawns, mussels and fresh fish the Port Douglas craft brewery and restaurant is serving.

Hemingway’s Group Events Director Cathy Alexander said the cold seafood menu will include an oyster station with freshly shucked oysters, fresh prawns from North Queensland, sashimi and smoked mussels.

The Hemingway’s kitchen will also be serving hot seafood dishes such as fish and chips during the event. The new beer will be served alongside Hemingway’s other craft beers plus there will be wine tasting on the marina boardwalk.

The seafood event will also include plenty of entertainment with face painting and presentations by Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures for children.

“We’ve also got a doughnut shack on the marina for the kids,” Alexander said.

“There will be non-stop live entertainment till 5pm, the official end of the Extravaganza. Then we will continue with a Sunday session at Hemingway’s late into the evening.”

Hemingway’s will be opening its upstairs bar during the Extravaganza.

“There are great views of the marina from there, and we know people will love being up there.”

Alexander said the restaurant will also cater for anyone who comes along on the day.

“There’s plenty for non-seafood eaters and vegetarians. You’ll still be able to get a burger and all our other regular menu items.”

The Seafood Extravaganza is on May 27 from 12pm to 5pm at the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Port Douglas. Port Douglas Carnivale runs from May 25-27.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2018/april/everyones-favourite-seafood-event-returns-to-marina/ 

DOUGLAS Shire Mayor Julia Leu says she’s ‘extremely confident’ the $200 million marina redevelopment will go ahead despite the developer pulling its application.

The decision by Crystalbrook Collection to rethink plans was an opportunity to ‘revisit and refine’ the development, according to Cr Leu.

She confirmed her Council had a number of concerns with the development application, including the architectural style of the building, which they sought clarification on in January.

Developers have since advised council of their decision to ice the project after holding talks with a host of tourist operators, marina tenants and industry experts, it has been revealed.

The news comes after a number of businesses, including the iconic On The Inlet seafood restaurant, ended their lease agreements at the marina as a result of the anticipated waterfront transformation.

“I am extremely confident and Crystalbrook Collection has shown a huge commitment to Far North Queensland,” Mayor Leu told Newsport today.

“Port Douglas is a thriving, internationally-renowned tourist destination that can benefit from thoroughly planned investment like this.”

Syrian billionaire Ghassan Aboud’s company had lodged plans for a 130-room luxury hotel, 45 villas, nine apartments and a waterfront dining and retail precinct.

Council’s other concerns involved pedestrian access, project staging, and how existing operators at the marina, such as Hemingway’s Brewery, Lure and Barbados, could continue to operate without disruption once construction began.

Despite the project stalling, Cr Leu said she expected Crystalbrook to lodge another development application.

“I have spoken to the applicants and I am encouraged by their firm commitment to the marina precinct,” she said.

“This is a forward-thinking opportunity to revisit and refine a landmark development that has the ability to revitalise Port Douglas.

“Douglas Shire Council has worked closely with the applicants and look forward to maintaining a strong relationship when a new development application is lodged.”

She added the community encouraged ‘rigorous investment’ that ‘compliments the region’s unique tropical character.’

Crystalbrook Collection say they are still fully committed to the project and will work with key partners over the coming months ‘to revisit the enhanced marina experience’.

“We anticipate it will be business as usual for the next 18 months at the marina as feasibility studies are undertaken,” a spokesperson said.

Source: https://www.newsport.com.au/2018/april/marina-redevelopment-still-expected-to-go-ahead-despite-delays/

Delivering a unified Great Barrier Reef destination message is the key focus of four collaborating superyacht marinas at this year’s Australian Superyacht Rendezvous.

Taking a collective marketing approach to target international superyachts, Abell Point Marina, Cairns Marlin Marina, Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina and Hamilton Island Marina are working together to promote one simple message – the Great Barrier Reef is the best cruising grounds in the world.

The world-heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is home to icons such as Whitehaven Beach, Lizard Island and the Low Isles. These four marinas are located on the doorstep of these natural wonders providing first-class superyacht facilities, as well as access to unlimited itinerary potential.

Diving the coral reefs, exploring ancient rainforests, enjoying a luxury island resorts or cruising the 74 Whitsunday islands, these hero experiences are the focus of the Great Barrier Reef marina collaboration.

The Australian Superyacht industry eagerly awaits the 2018 Australian Superyacht Rendezvous hosted by Gold Coast City Marina (GCCM) on 20/ 21 April. After the resounding success of last year’s event, the 2018 Australian Superyacht Rendezvous provides the ultimate platform for industry to further enhance the potential of the superyacht industry in Australia.

GCCM chief executive officer, Trenton Gay explains “we are thrilled to have all four of the major Great Barrier Reef marinas onboard as sponsors. Their support adds enormous strength to our event and the very strong message we are sending to the global Superyacht fleet.”

“The Australian Superyacht Rendezvous is about the superyacht industry banding together to put an international spotlight on our amazing country as the ultimate cruising destination and collaborating to attract a larger superyacht fleet to our pristine waters”.

Coming together as co-sponsors of this prestigious event are four superyacht marinas based on the Great Barrier Reef. With a shared vision to promote the Great Barrier Reef region to domestic and international superyachts, this will be the first time the group has worked this closely together to communicate the itinerary potential of the world-heritage listed cruising grounds.

Luke McCaul, general manager Abell Point Marina confirms the rationale behind the collaboration, “to work alongside other quality superyacht marinas in the region is essential to secure increased visitation to the region.”

“The diversity of the cruising grounds, marina facilities and superyacht support services available to visiting vessels in the Great Barrier region is world-class. If the Superyacht industry are smart in promoting our national assets in a collaborative and consistent nature, we will realise our message will emerge stronger and more competitive in the global market.”

Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina in Port Douglas, Cairns Marlin Marina, Abell Point Marina and Hamilton island in the Whitsundays, are collaborating under industry association banner Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef (SYGGBR) in a real example of how superyacht industry partners are working together to secure the future growth of the superyacht industry in Australia.

MaryAnne Edwards of Superyacht Australia agrees that ‘’this type of collaboration is exactly what the industry needs and it is exciting to see Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Cairns Marlin Marina, Abell Point Marina and Hamilton Island marina join forces at the Australian Superyacht Rendezvous to promote the Great Barrier Reef. With the newly launched Superyacht Guide to the Great Barrier Reef and marketing efforts like this we expect to see an increase in vessels heading their way. This increase in visitation would be a boost for regional Australia”

Chair of Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef (SYGGBR), Carrie Carter supports the collaborative venture, ‘’as the sole Far North Queensland superyacht cluster, the SYGGBR are extremely pleased to announce the collaboration of our four world-class marinas at the Australian Superyacht Rendezvous. By imparting their collective capability and high-end services to the global superyacht fleet, our marinas will also showcase their complimentary itineraries and destinations, encompassing the magic of the amazing cruising grounds of the GBR from North to South.”

The Australian Superyacht Rendezvous shines an international spotlight on Australia’s first-class superyacht facilities, hero tourism experiences and safe cruising grounds, making Australia the ultimate cruising destination for overseas yachts.

For more information visit – http://australiansuperyachtrendezvous.com.au/

DEVELOPMENT company Crystalbrook Collection has purchased The Reef Marina.

The Port Douglas marina will now be known as the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina and becomes billionaire developer Ghassan Aboud’s fourth major investment in Far North Queensland.

His tourism and hospitality group will now pour at least another $100 million into the precinct to build a 100-room luxury waterfront hotel, 50 premium apartments and enhanced retail and dining areas.

“With our plans, we believe we can redefine the Australian marina experience and ensure Port Douglas is an essential-visit location for high-end global travellers,” Aboud said.

Mark Davie, CEO of Crystalbrook Collection, said central to the expansion was the creation of a ‘world-class’ hotel in Port Douglas.

“This site demands a hotel of the highest calibre,” he said.

“We have been travelling the world for inspiration. We want to bring to Port Douglas a globally recognized hotel and an incomparable experience for its guests.”

In a boon for Port Douglas, more than 600 jobs will be created over the construction phase, slated for mid 2018, with 240 permanent jobs post completion.

The development is expected to be completed by 2020, and will include 24 more berths to the marina to accommodate superyachts of up to 50 metres.

The Reef Marina’s Andrew Hooper-Nguyen said he was extremely proud of what his team had achieved over the last four years, including obtaining development approval for an $85 million waterfront transformation.

“We have transformed a marina that was literally falling apart into a superyacht hub with world-class entertainment venues,” he told Newsport today.

“It is not without sadness that we pass the marina onto its new owners. However, our strength is in marina investment and operations, and having navigated the challenging path to obtaining approvals for redevelopment of the site, it is now appropriate that we entrust The Reef Marina to experienced developers.”

Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu said she was thrilled to see investment coming to the region in an encouraging sign for Port Douglas.

“It’s many years since we have seen a development of this size and Crystalbrook Collection have demonstrated with their recent significant investments in Far North Queensland that they mean business and are committed to the ongoing growth of the region,” Leu said.

“This investment in the marina will endorse Port Douglas as one of Australia’s most idyllic getaways and bring great economic growth for the wider community.”

Aboud’s group has already invested over $370 million into three separate hotels in Cairns. Like those projects, Prime Group has been appointed to project manage and construct the expansion.

The group also owns and operates Crystalbrook Lodge and the MV Bahama motor yacht berthed at the Port Douglas marina.

Source: http://www.newsport.com.au/2017/september/crystalbrook-collection-buys-port-douglas-marina/