We’re delighted to announce that Douglas Shire Council has granted development approval for our Port Douglas waterfront renewal project.
The project will regenerate the Dickson Inlet waterfront, providing new levels of amenity for locals and visitors, including a waterfront boardwalk and plaza, shaded pedestrian link between the marina and town centre, new dining and entertainment options and a cruise ship tender berth.
We will be creating a limited number of luxury residences and about 40 additional marina berths.
The commercial fishing industry will benefit from long-term berthing arrangements at a new, dedicated trawler & dory berthing facility at the southern end of the marina basin. We have also committed to continuing slipway operations for at least three years, until alternative facilities can be made available.
The Marina Residences will be Port Douglas’ only absolute waterfront townhouses and apartments (ever!). Stage 1 comprises five 3 bedroom townhouses (think…. generous opening plan living, plunge pool, elevator, rooftop balcony, amazing views and more) and fourteen 1 to 4 bedroom apartments, also with luxury appointments.
Yes, it may be possible to cast for barramundi from the balcony! And imagine the views of the Coral Sea and Daintree from the waterfront pool.
Expressions of interest in The Marina Residences can be submitted on our website or by clicking here.
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Port Douglas, 27th December, 2016 – The Reef Marina is celebrating its third anniversary with over $5 million in achievements –  jobs, super yachts and craft beer.

Chris Ellis, Andrew Hooper-Nguyen and Rob Cruz took over the Port Douglas marina in December 2013, renamed it to reflect its unique position as the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and immediately began investing in their vision for the facility to be Australia’s premier marina.  Their goal from the outset has been to transform Port Douglas’ waterfront into a vibrant community, entertainment and residential precinct providing first class facilities and service to boating clients and quality dining, entertainment and shopping experiences for Port Douglas residents and visitors.

“Port Douglas is one of the most beautiful places in the world and we feel honoured to be here and be part of its story now and into the future,” Mr Cruz said.

So far, more than $5 million has been spent refurbishing the retail space and expanding the marina by 30 new berths, including the new Superyacht Hub.

“This investment has allowed The Reef Marina to attract new world-class tenants, including Hemingway’s Brewery and Barbados Port Douglas,” he added.

Hemingway’s microbrewery, bar and restaurant opened mid-year with a range of specially crafted beers reflecting Port Douglas’ unique character and its rich and colourful past, while Barbados Port Douglas embodies the charm of tropical living with a sophisticated setting, creative cocktails and a view over Dickson Inlet that is unrivalled.  The Reef Marina’s investment has also encouraged existing customers such as the Quicksilver Group, Port Douglas’ largest tour operator, to further extend its 30-year presence at the Marina with a new long-term lease agreement finalised this month.

Upgrading the 3866 square metres of retail area, including the slipway and ramp, has stimulated capital expenditure in the order of $11.7 million, including fit-outs, equipment and marketing.

By the time The Reef Marina’s fifth birthday rolls around in 2018, its owners hope the proposed $85 million redevelopment of the Port Douglas waterfront will be well underway.

The work is expected to generate more than 600 jobs during the two-year construction period and around 240 permanent jobs, a 4.4% boost to the regional economy and a $588 million economic contribution over 30 years, according to figures from Cummings Economics.

Once complete, it will offer luxury waterfront living including 85 luxury residences with almost 200 rooms for holidaymakers and permanent residents, as well as shaded pedestrian links connecting the town centre with The Reef Marina, timber waterfront boardwalk, outdoor entertainment spaces, community areas and public art.

Port Douglas, 21st December, 2016 – The Reef Marina and Quicksilver Cruises have today signed a landmark lease agreement that will see Australia’s most awarded reef operator further extend its almost 30-year partnership at its Port Douglas home port.

The Reef Marina general manager Rob Cruz welcomed the news Quicksilver’s fleet of vessels including its iconic silver wavepiercing catamarans, along with Wavedancer and luxury vessels Silversonic and Poseidon, will continue to berth at The Reef Marina.

Quicksilver’s retail tenancies will also remain in place. “Quicksilver has been a key partner of the Marina for three decades and we are pleased this will continue for many more years to come,” Mr Cruz said.  Quicksilver Group managing director Tony Baker said the company was pleased to renew its lease at The Reef Marina, which has been its home since the Marina was first opened in 1987.

“Our current Quicksilver fleet of five vessels and 10 coaches has grown over the years following the development of the Marina and we look forward to continuing to invest in our reef products and the Port Douglas region in the coming years,” he said.  Quicksilver cruises daily to Agincourt ribbon reef on the very outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef and the idyllic coral island of Low Isles.

All Quicksilver’s tours are accredited with Advanced Ecotourism Certification and each day, its team of marine biologists are on hand to ensure guests gain an appreciation of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef.

Mossman Gazette Cairns Post

The Reef Marina $85 million redevelopment proposal for the Port Douglas waterfront is expected to generate employment for about 320 people and create a further 300 indirect jobs over the two-year construction period, according to figures from Cummings Economics.

The independent economic impact statement for the proposed redevelopment, also found in addition to boosting employment in the Douglas Shire by about 5.8%, the regional economy would grow by 4.4%.

The projects overall economic contribution was valued at $588 million over 30 years.

The proposed waterfront transformation features 85 luxury residences with almost 200 rooms, increasing Port Douglas holiday and permanent accommodation options.

The project will also offer new waterfront dining and entertainment areas along with an additional 44 marina berths.

The Reef Marina co-owner Andrew Hooper-Nguyen said the raw data was exciting for Port Douglas, not only providing the economic stimulus for jobs and growth during the initial construction phase, but longer term, benefiting the entire community.

Looking forward, this redevelopment has the opportunity to change the future for our children, creating pathways for employment across a number of different sectors from hospitality and retail to tourism and other service related industries, creating around 240 permanent jobs.

Once complete, total expenditure on holiday and residential rentals, commercial space expenditure and increased marina activity is expected to be approximately $48 million annually, Mr Hooper-Nguyen added.

Highlights of the redevelopment include a rainforest walkway to connect the marina to the town centre and a timber boardwalk spanning the entire waterfront.

This will feature public art, shaded seating, viewing stages to make the most of the ports scenic beauty, restaurants, cafes and other retail outlets.

The development application to transform the Port Douglas waterfront into a vibrant community, entertainment and cultural precinct is before the Douglas Shire Council.


It is absolutely magic to see the marina coming alive! With the opening of Hemingway’s Brewery, Barbados Port Douglas and The Boat House, it has been remarked that the marina hasn’t seen such a festive atmosphere for many, many years… perhaps decades.

Our operators are also reporting a very strong season, certainly the best post-GFC; and a new Calypso vessel seems to be joining us every month…. OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but congratulations to Graham & Cathie on the arrival of Calypso X which is offering snorkelling experiences at Low Isles. See www.calypsoreefcruises.com.

Let’s also welcome back Shaolin, an icon of Port Douglas since the 1980s. New owners Skye & Flynn are operating unique sunset and Low Isles cruises. Seewww.shaolinchartersportdouglas.com.


We are frequently asked why marina berths are so expensive. After all… “it’s just a piece of water“.

Alas, it’s a piece of water for which we pay a handsome price… and the price is about to become much more handsome. State Government recently increased by 60% the statutory value of its own lands & water upon which The Reef Marina is built. That’s right… the lands & water (which does not include our buildings, marina structure etc) are apparently worth 60% more than they were last year! As a result, our costs to lease the land and water is also rising by 60%.

Further, while Council has implemented only modest rate increases this year – and we thank them for this – The Reef Marina is levied at our own special rate which is 467% higher than all other commercial properties in Port Douglas. Peculiarly, being classed as a “shopping centre & marina with more than 6 shops“, our business is levied at 4.02% of land value; while all other marinas, shopping centres, hotels, restaurants and other businesses in Port Douglas are levied at 0.86% of land value!

So what does this mean?

When the rent and rate increases take full effect, The Reef Marina’s annual government charges will rise to an amount equivalent to about $8,350 PER MARINA BERTH.

We are unable to absorb these cost increases as they threaten the viability of the marina (it has already gone broke plenty of times in the past). We have invested heavily in the revitalisation of The Reef Marina, and it is in everyone’s interest that the marina remains viable and that we are able to continue investing in its improvement.

We are currently reviewing our berth pricing with a view to implementing a Government Charges Recovery Levy from 1 October 2016. At this stage, we have not determined the size of the levy or its application; but will communicate with affected customers as soon as possible. The levy will be separately itemised within invoices and 100% of the levy will be applied to cover increases in government charges.

I sincerely regret any berthing cost increases, especially insofar as it impacts upon peoples’ choices to visit or base themselves in Port Douglas, or upon our important tourism industry; but sadly our hand has been forced 🙁


OK, cranky hat off….exhale….. And what could be sunnier than beer?

PORTOBERFEST, now in its 9th year, has found a new and natural home at Hemingway’s Brewery. Saturday 15 October should be reserved for a marvellous day of beer, music, the Portoberfest Dancing Girls and beer.


The Reef Marina is joining Keep Paradise Plastic Free, an initiative of the Plastic Free Douglas Group. See www.facebook.com/KeepParadisePlasticFree.

Just think about this…. every piece of plastic that has ever been manufactured still exists today. And about 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the ocean every year.

We are blessed to live in one of the world’s most beautiful places, amongst World Heritage sites and with enormous marine biodiversity. It is a moral imperative to preserve our environment… but as a town which relies upon tourism, it is also an economic imperative.

Our aim is to reduce plastic usage across the marina. We will be approaching all commercial customers in coming weeks to discuss ways to reduce plastic products such as single-use bags, drinking straws and the like. In exchange, you will receive 100 turtle karma credits.

That’s all for now…

CHECK OUT THE HEAD ON THAT (tasty, tasty craft beer)

Hemingway’s Brewery is now open at The Reef Marina….. and WE’RE EXCITED!

Like a proud parent, I am thrilled to have seen a fairly tired end of the marina’s retail centre (to be polite) transformed into world-class boutique brewery. Even Christopher Skase, whos legendary apartment made way for the upstairs@hemingways bar, would have given the two thumbs up.

Hemingway’s opening is not just a milestone for its founders – Tony Fyfe and Craig Parsell – but for the region at large. Employing about 30 people and hosting up to 650 guests, the brewery will play an important part in promoting FNQ tourism, especially conferences and events.

Our warm congratulations goes out to Tony, Craig, the rest of the Hemingway’s team and all those people who made it happen.


Coinciding with the opening of Hemingway’s, the Ballyhooley railway is now operating a daily commuter service. Trains operate four times a day between the marina and St Crispins Station. See the timetable at www.ballyhooley.com.au.


Environmental compliance works are almost complete. Amongst other things, infrastructure is being installed to collect and store water runoff. We are now taking slipway bookings for a planned opening in the week of 11 July. Email service@thereefmarina.com.au


We welcome the immaculate 35 meter Dream Time to The Reef Marina. Less than a year since the opening of our superyacht expansion, we now have five permanent superyachts and many more are scheduled to visit this year.

A big welcome also to Indigo Charter’s new Fontaine Pajot catamaran ‘Indigo 2’. For sunset cruises and charters visit www.indigoportdouglas.com.au.

That’s all the marina news for now. I’ll see you at Hemingway’s for a Doug’s Courage IPA.

We have this week been notified by Douglas Shire Council that our slipway is currently operating without the required approvals and that several actions and site upgrades are required before Environmental Authority can be obtained.

The Reef Marina takes its environmental obligations seriously. Accordingly, we are obliged to suspend slipway operations until all environmental approvals are obtained.

We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused. Please contact Rob Cruz (General Manager) or Mark Thompson (Slipway Manager) if you would like assistance in arranging alternative slipway services.

The Reef Marina proposes the development of an exciting new ‘Seafood & Fishing Precinct’ to preserve and grow the Port Douglas fishing industry. The precinct will feature the sale of fresh and cooked seafood to locals and visitors, and the construction of a dedicated trawler berthing facility.

The Reef Marina’s waterfront masterplan, which is currently before Douglas Shire Council, has been developed after extensive consultation with the fishing industry and other stakeholders. To accommodate trawler customers, the marina has offered various alternatives: – remain in the current location on Dickson Inlet; relocate to the Duck Pond adjacent to the proposed Public Plaza; or relocate to the southern end of the marina basin and partner in the development of a new ‘Seafood & Fishing Precinct’.

A Seafood & Fishing Precinct will be a tourism drawcard for Port Douglas and promote growth of the local fishing industry. Under the proposal, the marina will construct a dedicated trawler berthing facility which will be leased to the fishermen on a long-term basis. The fishing industry will seek to procure the adjacent land (Lot 96) from which to sell fresh and cooked seafood and to support trawler operations. This land is currently controlled by Council.

Representatives of the fishing industry, at a meeting in November last year, unanimously resolved that the Seafood & Fishing Precinct would be in the industry’s best interests.

To progress the Precinct, the marina stands ready and willing to construct the trawler berthing facility and to lease it long-term to the fishing industry on favourable commercial terms. This commitment is independent of the waterfront renewal project and will also be the catalyst for The Reef Marina’s important stage 2 expansion.

The marina is also delighted that, having previously rejected a similar proposal last year (see http://douglas.qld.gov.au/?wpfb_dl=1265), the Douglas Shire Council has now thrown its support behind the Seafood & Fishing Precinct. The Council has a vital role to play in securing the land for the fishing industry.

The Reef Marina has made a huge investment in purchasing the marina basin and improving it. It is therefore regrettable that Council now proposes the marina pay to construct the trawler berthing facility and then give it – together with the surrounding marina basin – at no cost to the Council and/or fishing industry. This is not a reasonable proposal. Notwithstanding the importance of the fishing industry, it is not the Council’s role to use ratepayers’ money to subsidise private fishing businesses; nor to compel the marina to subsidise private fishing businesses. The Councillors’ heavy-handed approach risks further damaging already-fragile business confidence within the Douglas Shire.

The Reef Marina is committed to the preservation and growth of the fishing industry and believes a privately funded and commercially viable Seafood & Fishing Precinct is the best way to achieve this important goal. Until it is realised, the marina’s trawler customers are invited to remain within the existing marina berthing facilities.

‘Al fresco’ waterfront dining with spectacular views over the Coral Sea; a café-lined public plaza for catching up with friends; public art pieces showcasing the Port Douglas narrative; luxury townhouses, apartments and high-end holiday accommodation; a lush landscaped Arbour Park linking the marina and the town centre; an iconic over-water public boardwalk experience; and new berthing facilities to promote cruise ship visitation…

This is The Reef Marina’s vision for the renewal of the Port Douglas waterfront. This vision has now moved one step closer with the lodgement last week of a waterfront redevelopment masterplan for consideration by Douglas Shire Council.

The Port Douglas waterfront adjacent to the marina is dilapidated and a scar upon a town that relies so heavily upon tourism. Redevelopment of the waterfront has been mooted for decades but is now able to progress under the stewardship of The Reef Marina.

The masterplan establishes key features, land-uses and staging for the redevelopment of the Port Douglas waterfront. Once approved, detailed architectural designs will be submitted for Council consideration seeking approval to commence this important project.

The Reef Marina’s plan embraces the key themes of the Port Douglas Waterfront Masterplan (2009). The unused northern wing of the retail complex will be replaced by a beautifully landscaped Arbour Park to strengthen the connections between the marina and the Port Douglas town centre. Adjacent to the Duck Pond, a public plaza will replace the slipway and provide a place to congregate and to enjoy a new viewing corridor across Dicksons Inlet. A public boardwalk will run along the waterfront between the marina and the public plaza and provide spectacular views across the Coral Sea and towards the Daintree Rainforest. Luxury townhouses and apartments will provide new high-end accommodation options for visitors and residents. New restaurants, bars, cafes and retail spaces will enhance the lifestyle amenity of the Port Douglas waterfront. And new dedicated berthing facilities for cruise ship tenders will promote increased cruise ship visitation.

The Reef Marina’s waterfront renewal masterplan represents the largest development project proposed in Port Douglas. The multi-million dollar investment will create hundreds of construction and permanent jobs and will revitalise Port Douglas’ reputation as a premium tourist destination. The project will complement The Reef Marina’s upgrade works and recently completed ‘superyacht’ expansion project.

The Reef Marina has proactively addressed important community expectations such as public waterfront access and berthing of commercial fishing trawlers. But the Council’s desire to retain the slipway until alternative slipway facilities are operating is not practical and may jeopardise the viability of the project. There is no place for an outdated heavy industrial facility in the heart of this vibrant tourist town and residential community. The Reef Marina’s vision, when realised – and in anticipation of a prompt masterplan approval by the Council – will establish the Port Douglas waterfront as a world-class dining, entertainment, maritime, residential and tourism showcase.

Customers and friends…

We don’t normally send out two updates in a month, but then again, we don’t normally get to talk about fine craft beer!

I’m thrilled to announce that construction of Hemingway’s Brewery commenced today.

Hemingway’s will occupy both levels of the south-eastern end of our retail complex and will feature working microbrewery, three bars, function centre, childrens’ play area, and of course, stunning views across the marina. The brewery will be a fantastic component in the revitalisation of The Reef Marina and broaden our dining & entertainment options.

Its’ announcement follows closely from last week’s official opening of our superyacht expansion. I want to congratulate proprietors Tony Fyfe and Craig Parsell (also known from Far North Sports Fishing) on the development of Hemingway’s. A press release is attached for your information.

Construction of Hemingway’s will necessarily involve noise and disruption, and we will contact affected retail tenants and boat owners as necessary to keep you up to date.

Have a grand Port Douglas day!