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…