Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones has today launched Queensland’s newest tourist experience.
Ms Jones officially welcomed the first tourists onto River to Bay’s first adventure tours from Brisbane to Moreton Bay.
The Minister said the $2.1 million project – delivered through a partnership with the Palaszczuk Government – would generate up to $6 million a year, support dozens of new jobs and bring an extra 62,000 tourists per annum to Queensland.
“We invest in tourism attractions that we know will bring more tourists to Queensland and create local jobs,” she said.
“Connecting the city to the Bay is crucial to southeast’s Queensland’s growth as a tourism destination.
“With fast boats like these, we’ll be able to ferry more tourists out to the Bay quicker than ever before.
“Tourists will be able to go from fine dining and city life in the city to a unique ecotourism and cultural experience in the Bay in under half-an-hour – it’s potentially a game changer.”
The first of four locally-built boats built for River to Bay has been launched today.
The boat has been named Kabul in the Jandai language meaning carpet snake, totem ancestor of the Noonuccal people.
From today, visitors can choose between two full day tours, the Straddie Safari or the Best of Moreton Bay.
Ms Jones said the new boats could travel at up to 45 knots (83 km/h) and would carry up to 30 people.
“The first tourists on the Straddie Safari tour will go to Moreton Bay where they’ll spend the day exploring the beaches, learning about local history and enjoying the laid back island vibe of Minjerribah,” she said.
“They’ll also have the special opportunity to see koalas, kangaroos, dolphins, rays and dugongs in their natural habitat.”
Departing on alternate days, the Best of Moreton Bay tour will also take visitors from the Brisbane River to Moreton Bay and includes an island hopping adventure.
Visitors can experience snorkelling and bushwalking and discover historic ruins, shipwrecks, deserted beaches, endangered shorebirds and our distinctive native wildlife all in one day directly from the city.
“Many tourists arrive in Brisbane and use the city as a stepping stone to other Queensland destinations. We hope by linking the city’s key accommodation areas to the wonders of the Bay, we can keep these visitors here longer,” Ms Jones said.
The next boat is expected to be operational by April 2020 with the last two planned to be finished by the end of the year.
River to Bay director Anthony Stanton said the flexibility of these relatively small fast tour boats allows pick up of passengers from various departure points such as the Cruise Ship Terminal at Portside, Howard Smith Wharves and other River Access Hub Pontoons.
“Constructed here in Brisbane, each of these boats will take about 2000 hours to build and are powered by efficient outboard motors.
“Our hope is that our boats will become an instrument for us to showcase the story of the Bay, its traditional owners and newer settlers alike.
“We hope our design strikes the perfect balance of being small enough to allow the intimacy of a small group tour, while being large enough to provide that experience in safety and comfort.
“Each boat is a visitor’s passport to adventure, with beach landing capability and integrated snorkel/swim facilities.
“River to Bay provides direct access from Brisbane City to the most secret and special locations in Moreton Bay – back in time for dinner.”