Red Cat Adventures buys Whitsunday Jetski Tours

Asher and Julie Telford in their Red Cat Adventure uniforms standing with Steve and Tony Ward in Whitsunday Jetski Tours uniforms.

Two of Australia’s top marine tourism companies are about to become one, with Red Cat Adventures acquiring Whitsunday Jetski Tours.

At each of these Whitsunday businesses, locally owned and operated by Asher and Julie Telford and Steve and Toni Ward respectively, it will be ‘business as usual’ for consumers and staff, with both brands continuing to offer their much-loved award-winning tours.

For the Wards, this was an important factor in handing over their baby of 12 years.

“Whitsunday Jetski Tours has been a part of our family and the Whitsunday community for over a decade, so we knew that when the time came to let it go, it would need to be taken on by people we could trust to maintain the team spirit, ethos and high service levels we’ve worked so hard to achieve,” Toni Ward said.

“The fact that they’re both iconic, nationally acclaimed Whitsunday businesses is also significant,” Steve Ward added.

“Over the course of our tenure, Whitsunday Jetski Tours has had the honour of being named Trip Advisor’s number one rated experience and a 2022 Traveller’s Choice award winner – and here we are handing over to Australia’s top adventure tourism operator, also twice inducted into Queensland Tourism’s Hall of Fame.”

For Asher Telford the opportunity to take on another unique, securely established, premium tourism product was too good to overlook.

“For a long time now, we have felt that the offering provided by Whitsunday Jetski Tours would compliment our existing experiences perfectly,” he said.

“Both brands are bold, resilient, and renowned for their integrity, so it is an honour to add Whitsunday Jetski Tours to our Red Cat Adventures suite.”

Julie Telford said the future for both brands and the Whitsunday tourism scene was bright.

“Now we can be a one-stop adventure shop, offering visitors to the Whitsundays a week-long itinerary if they so choose,” she said.

“With Red Cat Adventures, you can now ride a fast boat to the Whitsundays’ most iconic spots, or slow down and sail the 74-island paradise.

“You can snorkel, bush-walk, take banana boat rides, go on waterfall and sunset tours, embark on adrenalin-filled jetski tours, paddleboard, kayak and camp at Lake Proserpine, or even extend your trip with our Wild Cat tours from Mackay.”

Red Cat Adventures operates the purpose-built vessel ‘Thundercat’ and sailing vessel Tongarra, as well as running mainland ‘Falls to Paradise’ combined waterfall and beach bar tours, and ‘Wild Cat’ tours to Great Barrier Reef islands off Mackay.

The company also runs school-based Coxswain’s courses and various Eco and Edu-tourism-tailored tours, including the curriculum-based ‘Immersive Learning Project’, designed to foster ‘travel for good’ and broaden stewardship of the Great Barrier Reef.

With the tagline “your ride, your adventure”, Whitsunday Jetski Tours offers the daily 1.5-hour Airlie Adventure Tour, two-hour Two Island Safari and four-hour Ultimate Trek, visiting Long Island’s Palm Bay.

Tourism Whitsundays Chief Executive Officer, Rick Hamilton, said being able to access all these experiences through one operator would be an incredible bonus for visitors to the Whitsundays and an asset to the region.

“Asher and Julie’s confidence in the Whitsunday tourism market is inspiring and a sign of the region’s meteoric rise from the depths of the pandemic to the thriving environment we find ourselves in now,” he said.

“This announcement means there’s now an even better way to adventure with Australia’s best.”