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Discover Australia’s best kept secret gateway to the Great Barrier Reef

Ocean Safari turtles
Roberts Kellie

Kellie Roberts
Manager for Ocean Safari

Hi Kellie, what is the name of your tour activity, where are you located and what do you offer as a product?

We are Ocean Safari, we are located right in the heart of Cape Tribulation on the far North Queensland coast, and we offer a half day reef experience.

What age demographic usually travels on your tours?

We get a wide range of people who join us on our tours. From backpackers, families, couples, groups and in terms of age limits the youngest child we take on board is four years old. 

What level of fitness would you say you need to participate on your tour?

You don't really need any particular level of fitness. Anyone can join the tour, though if anyone has any medical conditions, or anything like that, we'd like to be aware of so that we can ensure we cater to them. But, other than that, no previous experience or fitness levels are required.

If people aren't strong swimmers do you have any kind of help or floatation devices in place for them to use?

Yes, absolutely. If you're not a strong swimmer or can't swim we can definitely help in that area. We've got a guide in the water with you for the duration of the tour, so they can certainly provide assistance. We also have flotation devices such as pool noodles and life jackets available.

Make sure you have your Go-Pro, a charged battery or any kind of camera. You're going to see some amazing stuff.

Ocean Safari
Ocean Safari on clear water

Do you offer a range of pick up and drop off locations, and what's the average pick-up and drop-off time?

Certainly do offer pick-up and drop-offs. The average time would probably be 3 to 5 minutes’ drive for transfer. The morning tour pickup will be around 8am or just before and you can be dropped off back at your accommodation should you require a transfer around 1pm.

So Kelly, what are some tips to bring or have prepared before arriving on the tour?

Make sure you have your Go-Pro, a charged battery or any kind of camera. You're going to see some amazing stuff. Towel, dry change of clothes. If it's winter maybe a light jacket or something like that is a good idea for the return journey.

What type of training do your guides receive and how experienced are they?

Our guides have been working in the industry for some time, whether it be on dive boats, snorkel boats, things like that. They receive a range of different training, from health and safety, first-aid and emergency ship-board safety plus even more. We also do a lot of in house training and performance reviews.

What qualifications, certificates or awards has company obtained?

Oh wow. We've gotten a lot of them. So, we recently won gold at the 2016 Queensland Tourism Awards. We won silver at the Australian Awards. We won a number of bronzes across the past few years.

What type of vessel does your company offer guests and how many people usually travel on the tour?

We can take a maximum of 25 guests on board our vessel. She is a 12-meter rigid, inflatable based on a design of a rescue craft. So, it's a fun, fast ride.

Is food included or available to purchase on your tour? If so, what are the options and do you cater for any travellers with any dietary requirements?

So, because it's a half day we don't really offer food packages on board. We do have water, soft drink, chocolates, beer and cider available on board. All cash purchases. We have the Turtle Rock Café onsite that can cater to breakfast prior to the tour or lunch afterwards and they can pay with card there.

Can you run me through an itinerary of what the client will experience on the tour?

At 8:00 am we pick up from Cape Tribulation accommodation houses or they're arriving at our office here at the Turtle Rock Café.

Check-in will run for about half an hour, at which time we'll just run through conditions of the day, check on any medical conditions and get them checked in, and suited up.

At that point, about 8:30am we'll wrap up check-in, we'll give them a brief and take them down to board the vessel from the beach. So, Rainforest meets reef, one of the only locations in the world where you can get those two world heritages side-by-side. It's about at 25 to 30 minute journey out to the reef from there. It's a fun, fast ride.

We arrive at our first sight at Mackay Reef. You'll have a snorkel safety brief before we jump into the water and then you'll have an hour at your first location to explore. Then we'll move on to our second location. We'll have roughly an hour there. This could be at the same reef or at a different reef depending on conditions of the day.

Rainforest meets reef, one of the only locations in the world where you can get those two world heritages side-by-side

Ocean Safari turtles
Swimming with Turtles on Ocean Safari

Is there much marine life and coral that they can see out there?

There is heaps of marine life and coral. So, there's all your different kinds of soft and hard corals. The entire gamut of fish, all different kinds of colours. We get heaps of turtles, our first sight that we usually visit is actually called Turtles, funnily enough. We also get a few different types of sharks like reef sharks, epaulette sharks and guitar sharks. We get all different kinds of fun, and interesting creatures out there as well: octopuses, different types of eels, all that kind of thing.

Are there any extra costs or optional extras to be aware of or be prepared for?

Generally, the only extra costs that you'd be looking at is for some kind of suit hire. So in winter you'd be looking at essentially $8.00 for a wetsuit, or in the summer $4.00 for a stinger-suit, but we do provide those free of charge to pension students and under 18's.

What's the best time of year to travel on your product?

Any time of year is a good time of year to go to the reef, but there's certainly some different highlights throughout the year. July to end of September we're usually seeing whales move through. Which is always bit of a treat for the guests. November's really an exciting time on the reef as we've got the corals spawn, so there tends to be a lot of activity. December and January are usually good months; really, really calm seas, awesome visibility.

Do you have a high and low season? If so, how far in advance should people be booking?

Generally, in mid-June is the start of our high season. That will usually run through to about November. We are very heavily booked during that time, so it's definitely a good idea to book well in advance.

How far in advance would you recommend to book over those times?

I would advise at least a month or two out if there's a specific date around June, July, August, September that you're looking at traveling.

Do you have safety systems and procedures in place for travellers?

Absolutely we do. We are well and truly ahead of the game when it comes to workplace health and safety procedures and that is something that is really important to us. We do a lot of training and assessments.

Why should travellers choose your product?

Because it is one of the best tours in Cape Tribulation. We have great staff, are eco-accredited. It's an amazing piece of reef to visit. One of the fastest rides to the Great Barrier Reef, small numbers, and one of the only places in the world where two World Heritage areas meet.

Is there any other tips or advice or anything we've missed that you'd like to suggest to travellers?

Get yourselves to Cape Tribulation!

cape tribulation ocean safari
Snorkelling with Turtles on Ocean Safari
Ocean Safari
Ocean Safari flying along
Ocean Safari
Ocean Safari on clear water
Ocean Safari Trip Map
Ocean Safari Map
Aerial view of Mackay Reef
Aerial view of Mackay Reef
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