Two of the Whitsundays’ most popular tour operators, Whitsunday Jetski Tours and Ocean Rafting have been recognised as 2020 Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best award winners for the Top 10 Experiences in Australia, ranking 7th and 6th respectively. As the only Whitsunday operators, and of only four in Queensland, this accolade means that not only are they in the Top 10 Experiences in Australia, based on a full year of exceptional Tripadvisor reviews, prior to any changes caused by the pandemic, they are also ranked in the top 1% of tourism businesses around the world as travellers’ ultimate favourites.
Both businesses are locally owned and family operated, with Ocean Rafting owned by Peter and Jan Claxton and Whitsunday Jetski Tours owned by Steve and Toni Ward. This 2020 Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best award recognition solidifies last year’s success in the same category when Whitsunday Jetski Tours was recognised as the number one tourism experience in Australia and Ocean Rafting landed in the number seven position.
Ocean Rafting has been owned by Peter and Jan since 2001 and Whitsunday Jetski Tours recently celebrated 10 years of operation in August. Both companies have won multiple tourism awards on a local, state and national level, and over the years have consistently continued to sustainably operate and grow through both positive and challenging periods.
Whitsunday Jetski Tours owner, Toni Ward, said, “Being acknowledged once again as a 2020 Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best award winner, being in the top 10 experiences in the whole of Australia and top 1% in the world is such an incredible achievement for our family run business. We have actually sat at the number one position for tours in the Whitsundays on TripAdvisor for most of the past seven years, so the feedback we have received from guests has been amazing. The whole team put their heart and soul into the business, so that we always exceed guests’ expectations and provide exceptional service, along with a quality product, which we will never compromise on. Given the current circumstances, we are also looking to enhance and diversify the business over the next few months with some exciting new developments in the pipeline.”
Ocean Rafting owner, Jan Claxton, added, “After operating in the Whitsundays for so many years, we have a three-generational family business that we have streamlined to offer the ultimate adventure to some of the most amazing places in the Whitsundays. There has been challenging periods over the past several years, and particularly 2020, but we have successfully established a business which will continue to operate through these times and one that will always set a standard for quality and service. With eight vessels now, we have the capacity to carry 206 people daily, and the reviews we receive reflect our commitment to creating everlasting memories by offering a lifetime adventure for each and every guest. If that happens, we’ve done our job!”
Even though both companies are local adventure tour operators, they have worked successfully together throughout the years, striving to support each other in both business and friendship, creating a great dynamic and positive example for achieving success in a small regional tourism-based community.
Working for both operations for ten years, Sales and Marketing Manager, Tiffany Brett, said, “This recognition is validation for the way both companies are successfully managed and operated. It can be a tough industry, but the way they have sustained such professional and quality operations, is reflected not only in the many awards they have received over the years, but the guest feedback they receive. Both families are involved in the daily operations, but they also have confidence and trust in their staff and as such, it has always been a team effort. Both have so many long term staff and the exceptional service they offer, along with the constant investment to diversify and grow over the years, reflects why they set the standard as two of the top quality tour operations in Australia.”
“Winners of the 2020 Travelers’ Choice Awards should be proud of this distinguished recognition,” said Kanika Soni, Chief Commercial Officer at Tripadvisor. “Although it’s been a challenging year for travel and hospitality, we want to celebrate our partners’ achievements. Award winners are beloved for their exceptional service and quality. Not only are these winners well deserving, they are also a great source of inspiration for travellers as the world begins to venture out again.”
To view the list of winners visit https://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-Experiences-cTop_Experiences-g255055
In these very challenging times, unfortunately we have had to stand down and press the pause button on our operations as of yesterday.
This follows the current COVID-19 guidelines and advice from the government and the health department.
Our team will be in contact to arrange cancellations or amendments to existing bookings shortly.
While there are changes daily and some uncertain times ahead, we remain committed to riding it through and will open our doors again when we are on the other side.
Don’t forget when we restart, you can enjoy the fresh air on our award winning adventure tours for some “back to normal” therapy!
Our check in office at Coral Sea Marina is now closed until further notice, however we are, as always, contactable via 0459 538 754 and email [email protected]
We send all of our best wishes and support to you all throughout this time! Stay safe and hang in there!
From Steve, Toni and the Whitsunday Jetski Tours team.
Given the increasing concerns regarding COVID-19 Coronavirus, Whitsunday Jetski Tours reiterates its dedication to continuing to ensure the highest levels of safety for our guests and staff.
We will continue to follow all latest advice from the relevant health and government bodies and adhere to any directives as the situation evolves. Tours are still operating as normal while additional sanitisation methods and activities have been put in place.
Although there is already a very thorough daily cleaning process, the following procedures have been implemented:
Please remember, our flexible cancellation policy allows guests to cancel up to 6pm prior to the date of travel.
For any queries, please contact us on 0459 538 754 or email [email protected]. We will continue to issue updates if/when there are any changes to the existing situation.
Local father and son duo, Steve and Rhys Ward, are getting ready to make some waves on Rhys’ first and Steve’s tenth Yamaha Variety Jet Trek which will set off from Coffs Harbour to the Sunshine Coast from 16th to 21st March. Steve, owner and operator of Whitsunday Jetski Tours, and his 16 year old son, Rhys, are part of nearly 100 riders on personal watercraft who will undertake the six-day, 630 km adventure – all to raise funds to give more Aussie kids a fair go.
By embarking on the adrenaline-packed Jet Trek, Steve and Rhys will travel to some of Australia’s most spectacular coastline while directly changing the lives of Aussie kids who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs. That’s why they have set a goal of raising $5,000 to provide practical equipment and experiences for kids in need and their families to overcome the obstacles they face, and help kids be kids.
The iconic Yamaha Variety Jet Trek is Australia’s largest and most successful charity personal watercraft (PWC) event, taking place annually for the last 21 years. It’s an adrenaline-packed adventure, travelling via some of the most amazing coastline and scenery Australia has to offer. Since inception, Trekkers have raised over $2 million to give more Aussie kids a fair go.
Steve was first inspired to take part in the action-packed and fun-fuelled trek 10 years ago because it was the perfect combination of raising funds for children while being part of a special jetski community of “Trekkers”.
“Our motto has always been ‘Doing it for the kids’. There are some very special kids and families out there who are struggling a little harder than most and we are more than happy to give up a week of our fortunate lives and dedicate our time to giving, as well as take on the challenges of jetskiing some incredible coastlines of Australia. It’s easy to pay it forward when you see how dramatically improved these families’ lives are. With support we can reach our charitable goal of at least $5,000 this year and I’m really looking forward to the experience of doing this year’s trek with my son, Rhys,” said Steve.
With a support crew over the past 10 years, consisting of wife Toni and other son, Will, nine, as well as Rhys, Steve alone has raised nearly $35,000 for Variety – the Children’s Charity
You too can make a difference to Aussie kids in need by helping Steve and Rhys reach their goal of $5,000. Simply visit https://www.varietyjettrekautumn.com.au/the-wardys to donate.
Once again showing the spirit the Whitsundays is known for, over 400 locals came together on Sunday afternoon to raise funds for fellow Aussies affected by the recent bushfire crisis. Light winds, a sunny sky and a stunning sunset provided the perfect backdrop for the Whitsundays’ Bushfire Benefit charity event held at Coral Sea Marina.
A total of $6,438.20 was raised for the Whitsundays’ Bushfire Benefit by the Whitsundays community which saw a range of local operators come together for a family friendly event for a good cause, with 100% of all proceeds being donated to the Australian Tourism Industry Bushfire Relief Fund. With rides starting from $5 per adult and $3 per child, locals and tourists alike were able to enjoy a taste of some of the Whitsundays’ favourite activities including exhilarating joyrides with Ocean Rafting, a spin off shore with Whitsunday Jetski Tours, a glide around the marina with Whitsunday Segway Tours or a pedicab through the streets with Just Tukin’ Around.
Guests had a choice of venues to enjoy the atmosphere with a bite to eat and a drink or two, with a BBQ fired up by Coral Sea Marina, a special “Bushfire Benefit Cocktail” on offer at Sorrento Restaurant & Bar, a discounted menu at Garden Bar Bistro, delicious platters by Marine Provisioning Australia and a cool evening drink from The Kiosk Café.
Live music played until 7.30pm with local musicians Kaylee West, Jack McCabe and Tim Eastwood donating their talent and time to provide the perfect laid back atmosphere. Whitsundays Rocks held painting workshops and children delighted in face painting provided by Colourful Faces.
A range of other Whitsunday businesses donated their equipment and time including Whitsunday Party Hire who provided high bars, Rewards Distribution donated the plates and cutlery and Whitsunday Audio Visual supplied the PA equipment.
Over 750 raffle tickets were sold on the night, with prizes donated by local businesses including Ocean Rafting, Skydive Australia, Heli Biz, A-One Fishing Charters, Sundowner Cruises, Shingley Beach Resort, Hangar Bar and Café, Sorrento Restaurant and Bar, Garden Bar and Bistro and Northerlies Bar and Grill.
Ocean Rafting owner, Jan Claxton, whose team was responsible for the conception and organisation of the event in a period of just two weeks, expressed her gratitude to the local community and all the local businesses involved.
“From the 24 businesses involved in this event who all donated their time, services, equipment and product offerings, as well as everyone’s staff, we extend a very big thank you to the local community who all came down and enjoyed this event, while at the heart of it, dug deep to support our friends down south affected by the bushfire crisis. The Whitsundays were tested with Cyclone Debbie nearly three years ago and the rest of Australia helped out in many ways, including visiting the Whitsundays the following year, many of them from these regions affected, so we really wanted to reach out and support our fellow Australians as a community,” said Mrs Claxton.
Whitsunday Jetski Tours owner, Toni, Ward, said “It makes me so proud to be a Whitsunday local when I see an event like this come together. It was a great afternoon and a great vibe all round with lots of people having fun, while coming together for a good cause. We are so happy we were able to be a part of it all.”
Zak Kelly, owner of Whitsunday Segway Tours, continued “As a born and bred Whitsunday local it was so humbling to see our community doing the Australian thing in supporting our friends down south. It was great to see so many people including locals, tourists and families have an afternoon out enjoying the many experiences the Whitsundays offer.”
After recently purchasing Just Tukin’ Around and moving to the Whitsundays, Marty and Brooke Mosley, enjoyed their first big Whitsunday community event. “Wow, to see the community spirit is such a wonderful impression of this beautiful place we have moved to and invested in. We loved working with everyone on this charity event and so pleased we were collaboratively able to raise these funds for those in need,” said Mr Mosley.
Whitsunday local, Tanya Cran, was one of the many who attended the event with her family and friends. “Our kids enjoyed all the activities on offer, doing more than one ride I must say. We wanted to come down for an afternoon out with our family and friends but it was just as important to support this event. Everyone’s small contribution will hopefully make a big difference for our friends down south. We saw some of the worst of it when we were holidaying over Christmas and had to evacuate. We left feeling so sad and helpless for those poor people so we will help in any way we can and our kids feel very strongly about it as well,” said Mrs Cran.
All proceeds from the Whitsundays’ Bushfire Benefit will be donated to the Australian Tourism Industry Bushfire Relief Fund and anyone else who would like to donate can visit: https://fundraise.redcross.org.au/fundraisers/AustralianTravelIndustrysBushfireReliefFund/fundraise-for-disaster-relief-and-recovery
Whitsunday Jetski Tours’ five male staff have taken on a new challenge and a new alias, in the form of the Whitsunday Jet Mos. The team are supporting well know charity, Movember, raising funds for men’s health with a ‘mo’ of their own.
Movember is the leading charity changing the face of men’s health. Since 2003, Movember has funded more than 1,250 men’s health projects around the world, challenging the status quo, shaking up men’s health research and transforming the way health services reach and support men. By 2030, Movember aim to reduce the number of men dying prematurely by 25%.
Heading the Whitsunday Jet Mos is owner of Whitsunday Jetski Tours, Steve Ward, supported by staff members Ian Wilson, Alex Taylor, Nathan Linnell and Rick Dawson.
Mr Ward said, “The team have been proudly growing and manicuring their fine new facial hair and now it’s time to show it off and ask for people to support us with our Movember fundraising goal. We are aiming to raise $2,000 by the end of November and are confident we can reach this amount.”
“We are participating in Movember as we all have so many important boys and men in our lives, from our Whitsunday Jetski Tours crew to our family including sons, brothers, fathers, grandfathers, uncles and family friends. It’s always time to look after them and be aware of men’s physical and mental conditions. We have experienced men’s health issues on a personal level, as have most people, so we feel this is a charity that everyone would be passionate about and can resonate with,” continued Mr Ward.
Funds raised through Movember go towards world-class programs in the areas of mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
To donate to the Whitsunday Jet Mos please visit: https://mobro.co/14187953
The Whitsunday Jetski Tours team proudly took home silver in the much-contested Adventure Tourism category at the 2019 Queensland Tourism Awards held on the Sunshine Coast on Friday night.
Owners, Steve and Toni Ward, attended the gala event and were thrilled to have been acknowledged at a state level in this category. “This award recognition reflects the unique adventure experience we offer with the aim to create lifelong memories for our guests. Our passionate staff complement the excitement of the tour with exceptional and personalised customer service,” said Mr Ward.
Mr Ward continued, “Our adventure tours offer a thrill for everyone, whether they have ridden a jetski before or not. The exhilaration of riding a jetski for the first time, while having control of your own ‘ride’ is a unique experience for many. Our tag line says it all; “your ride, your adventure”. Our guests enjoy the thrill of riding the latest model Sea-Doo jetskis into the world heritage Whitsunday Island Marine Park on four exciting adventure tours.”
“We would like to acknowledge our team’s outstanding contribution to the business and dedicate this award to them, as well as all everyone who supports our business, including our guests, agents and partners within the industry. We also extend our congratulations to all the other winners, finalists and entrants from the 2019 Queensland Tourism Awards, particularly our fellow Whitsunday operators,” said Mr Ward.
Whitsunday Jetski Tours offers exciting guided jetski tours from Airlie Beach to the Whitsunday Islands. Guests ride the latest model jetski into the beautiful world heritage Whitsunday Island Marine Park. Four tours operate daily, the Airlie Adventure, with sea turtles often encountered, the Two Island Safari, exploring the waterways of South Molle and Daydream Islands, the Jetski to Paradise, a jetski adventure visiting exclusive Paradise Cove Resort and the Ultimate Island Trek, an epic jetski journey to the island oasis of Palm Bay. All riding apparel is included and no licence or experience is necessary, offering an adventure for everyone!
The Whitsunday Jetski Tours team walked away with both a gold and bronze award at the 2019 Whitsunday Tourism Awards held at Daydream Island on Saturday night, winning gold in the Tour and Transport Operator category and bronze in the Adventure Tourism category.
It’s been quite the year for Whitsunday Jetski Tours with the company being awarded the #1 Tourism Experience in the whole of Australia in the 2019 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2019, as well as the #5 Top 10 Experience in the South Pacific, being the only Australian company.
Whitsunday Jetski Tours also launched two exclusive new tours to unique locations at Paradise Cove Resort and Palm Bay Resort and created three exciting new packages with fellow adventure tourism operators.
Owners Steve and Toni Ward attended the gala event with staff.
“The recognition from these awards was achieved by offering a fully-inclusive immersive adventure and a unique experience. The tours are more than just a jetski ride. Guests immerse themselves in the experience, stopping between the action of driving their own jetskis to catch their breath and enjoy the natural beauty of this World Heritage listed area. It’s here where the guides share entertaining stories of the Whitsundays, its islands, history and marine life, offering a truly memorable experience,” said Toni.
“We are so pleased with all the results from the last year and being named as the number one tourism experience in the whole of Australia by TripAdvisor was a very big deal. Now these awards are the icing on the cake. We would like to acknowledge our team’s outstanding contribution to the business, as well as our guests, agents and partners within the industry. A big thank you also to the team at Tourism Whitsundays for putting on such a brilliant 2019 Whitsunday Tourism Awards event and congratulations to all the winners on the night,” said Toni.
Whitsunday Jetski Tours has also entered the upcoming Queensland Tourism Awards in the same two categories and the team are looking forward to representing the Whitsundays on a state level.
Whitsunday Jetski Tours offers exciting adventure tours in the Whitsundays and is the first and only guided jetski tour operating from Coral Sea Marina, Airlie Beach to the Whitsunday Islands, with guests riding the latest model Sea-Doo jetskis into the beautiful world heritage Whitsunday Island Marine Park.
Airlie Beach’s premier adventure activity operators have been wrapped into a range of combos offering guests the ultimate Whitsunday experiences with the recently launched Airlie Adrenalin Adventures packages.
Ocean Rafting Whitehaven Beach and snorkelling adventure including lunch and Whitsunday Jetski Tours’ Airlie Adventure!
Ocean Rafting Whitehaven Beach and snorkelling adventure including lunch and Whitsunday Jetski Tours’ 2 Island Safari!
Whitsunday Jetski Tours’ Airlie Adventure and Whitsunday Segway Tours’ Sunset & Boardwalk Tour!
Whitsunday Segway Tours’ Rainforest Discovery Tour and Whitsunday Jetski Tours’ Two Island Safari!
Whitsunday Jetski Tours’ Airlie Adventure, Whitsunday Segway Tours’ Sunset & Boardwalk Tour and Ocean Rafting Whitehaven Beach and snorkelling adventure including lunch!
The Airlie Adrenalin Adventures packages make the most of your time in the Whitsundays, bundled into special offers to provide an exciting Whitsunday adventure, both on and off the water!
In more exciting news, not only did the team achieve this accolade in winning the top spot on an Australian level, but were also announced as number five in the Top 10 Experiences in the whole of the South Pacific.
Owners Steve and Toni Ward were ecstatic to receive the news that they had just been voted the number one tourism experience in Australia.
“This came as a complete surprise but it is a testament to all of our hard work since starting the business in 2010. Even more satisfying is the fact that we don’t specifically focus on reviews or ratings. Our focus is more holistic and has always been to exceed guests’ expectations and provide exceptional service with state-of-the-art equipment in one of the most beautiful areas of the world, the Whitsundays, and this award is a consequence of that effort,” said Steve.
Steve continued, “This award is particularly special as it is from guests giving first-hand feedback of the experience they have had with us. It is that combination of two main things, the unique product that we offer and the exceptional, personalised service that our team provide from start to finish which delivers that ultimate accolade.”
Steve and Toni acknowledge that this achievement in being recognised as a truly exceptional business wouldn’t be possible if it didn’t start from the ground up.
“We have the amazing support of people who help us pull it all together to achieve this, from our guests, loyal agents, suppliers and our tourism industry partners, to the world class marina facility that we operate from. Most importantly, it is ultimately our passionate team who deliver amazing customer service over and above and an experience whereby guests leave like friends and feeling like they have had one of the best adventures of their holiday,” said Steve.
With the tag line, “Your ride, your adventure”, Toni believes that guests are searching for immersive unique experiences that offer healthy outdoor adventure activities and tours, with that combination in mind. TripAdvisor’s 2019 Experiences Trends Report correlates with that, showing that preferences for outdoor activities are increasing, with global bookings in the category jumping 56% this past year.
“People want more adventure and outdoor activities and, of course, with that adventure comes the natural beauty of the Whitsundays, so we’ve got a good combination,” said Toni.
The Whitsundays is the only region in Australia featuring twice on the list, with Ocean Rafting also being awarded the number seven spot.