ention Australia to those who have never
been there and, chances are, they’ll
think outback, or Sydney Harbour’s
internationally recognizable bridge and opera
house or putting shrimp on the barbie, mate.
But as a cruising destination, Australia has
vastly more to offer than the standard Down
Under stereotype suggests, as an increasing
number of Northern Hemisphere superyacht
owners are discovering.
Australia’s coastline is varied, vast and spec-
tacular. With numerous iconic marine locations
such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Kimberley
Coast and the Whitsunday Islands, combined
with a wide range of international attractions
and events such as the Melbourne Formula
One Grand Prix, the Gold Coast Indy 300, the
Melbourne Cup, Hervey Bay whale watching
and New Year’s Eve on Sydney Harbour, it’s
hardly surprising that Australia is fast becoming
the new mecca for large-yacht owners from all
over the world. »
Cruising in the
Land of World-class destinations and
expanding facilities attract
superyachts to Australia.
Story by MArk CAirney
124 march 2007 | ShOWBOaTS.cOm
The New Year’s Eve
fireworks display in
Sydney Harbour is one
of the world’s finest.
An estimated 95 percent of the Still, an estimated 95 percent or more of the recreational
vessels in excess of 100 feet worldwide have never ventured
recreational vessels in the world south of the equator, with the main obstacles being the travel
distance and corresponding cost and the lack of internation-
in excess of 100 feet have never ally standard facilities for yachts over 100 feet. But some of
those obstacles are falling away.
ventured south of the equator. Accompanying the growth in large-yacht visitors in
the nineties was the acknowledgement of the need for an
infrastructure upgrade to accommodate those vessels. Both
Combine this with the equally superb cruising to be the private sector and the state and federal governments of
found across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand along the Australia have subsequently made substantial investments. A
Coromandel Coast, in Auckland Harbour and in the Bay of recent audit of superyacht-oriented facilities either completed
Islands, and Down Under makes for an extremely attractive or under construction in Australia showed an asset value well
alternative to the more crowded locations in the Mediter- in excess of $1 billion nationwide.
ranean and Caribbean. An industry representative body, Superyacht Base Austra-
When Australia’s Alan Bond defeated Dennis Conner lia, was formed in 1999 to develop, promote and facilitate
to win the America’s Cup in 1983, and then lost it back to the Australian region as a desirable and easy destination
Conner in 1987, the world’s yachting community began to for superyacht owners and skippers alike. A private-sector
turn its attention to this part of the Southern Hemisphere. initiative known as the Great Southern Route is expected to
Slowly, superyachts began appearing in local waters. When be launched this year, offering a one-stop shop for skippers
the 2000 Sydney Olympics closely followed the Louis needing berthing, service and provisions information for
Vuitton Cup regatta and the New Zealand America’s Cup travel en route to and around Australia. It includes transit
defenses in Auckland, an unprecedented number of vessels information and information on cruising in other locations
larger than 100 feet made their way to the region and word such as the Galapagos Islands, the Cook Islands, Tahiti, Fiji,
began to spread north. the Maldives and Southeast Asia.
126 march 2007 | ShOWBOaTS.cOm
A vessel-exchange option has also recently become available Europe-to-Cairns service via Southeast Asia, due to commence
through fractional exchange network Global Boating Limited, in May of this year.
which provides reciprocal access to yachts in cruising grounds With more than 7,000 superyachts over 24 meters cur-
around Australia, New Zealand, Thailand and Fiji. rently cruising the Northern Hemisphere’s waterways, and
Simultaneously, the increased interest in the Australasian another 700-plus under construction or in the planning stage,
region and demand for more affordable ways to transport yachts the shortage and unreliability of berthing and marina facili-
from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere has resulted ties in the traditional European and North American cruising
in the introduction of a regular Fort Lauderdale–to-Brisbane regions is not likely to improve any time soon. The Southern
transportation service by the float-on, float-off shipping com- Hemisphere is poised to become the largest destination growth
pany Dockwise Yacht Transport in August 2003, and a new market for superyacht owners over the next 10 years.
A tradition of Fine Yachtbuilding
spectacular superyachts 30 to 100 meters from its manufacturing examples such as the 147-foot Mari Cha lll
a long list of
manufactured by Australian companies is headquarters in Margate, tasmania. the and the 174-foot Noble House, Sensation
testament to the long history of world- most recent and revolutionary build to now operates from a new facility in
class boatbuilding that has been driven by emerge from its past high-speed, multi-hull newcastle, northern new South Wales.
the quality of the waterways surround- experience is the tri-hull superyacht and
ing Australia. Among Australia’s premier 2006 Showboats international Most WArrEn YAchts (www.warrenyachts.
yachtbuilders are: innovative Motor yacht award-winner com). Warren yachts has been present-
ing an impressive range of top-notch,
AustAl (www.austal.com). Austal is widely large fiberglass sport motor yachts
known for manufacturing large alloy ves- from its manufacturing base in brisbane,
sEnsAtion YAchts (www.sensation.
sels such as high-speed commercial cats co.nz). Sensation yachts has a long history Queensland. the Warren S87 took the
and offshore naval vessels, but the corpo- of building superyachts from its origins in 2006 Showboats international best
rate group has also been recognized as the Auckland, new Zealand. offering an inno- Semi-Production yacht award. Warren
builder of many larger recreational cruis- vative range of custom and semi-custom is planning similar models up to 120 feet
during 2007. »
ing yachts in Western Australia, including motor and sailing yachts, including past
Greg norman’s well-known Aussie Rules.
AzzurA YAchts (www.azzurayachts.
com). Azzura yachts is best known in
Australia for being the manufacturer of
not only some very high-quality, largely
classic-style motor yachts up to 100 feet,
but also now for its involvement with
high-performance yacht racing from its
headquarters in Coomera, Queensland.
Well-known yachtsman iain Murray leads
Evolution YAchts (www.evolution
yachts.com). Another product of the West-
ern Australian influence in the Australian
market, evolution yachts builds high-cali-
ber composite motor yachts, pioneering
many developments in resin-infusion tech-
nology for large composite motor yachts.
yachts and designs in process are available
from 24 to 50 meters.
north WEst BAY ships (nWbS) (www.
yachts.nwbs.com.au). nWbS specializes in
custom superyachts and megayachts from
ShOWBOaTS.cOm | march 2007
superyacht Destination clusters
Australia has now developed seven “destination clusters” of superyacht marina locations, all supported by extensive new or near-new
service and support facilities. one is located in the far north, one on the west coast and five on the east coast.
4. Brisbane and the Gold coast
marine facilities at Airlie beach and Mackay
lie the gorgeous Whitsunday islands and known around the world as an interna-
the central/southern end of the Great tional playground, Queensland’s capital
barrier reef. Abel Point Marina and the city brisbane and the Gold Coast region
nearby Mackay Marina and Hamilton island have been particularly well supported by
Marina offer a full range of support ser- a booming local marine industry in recent
vices for yachts up to 70 meters and four years. the brisbane Marine industry Park
meters draft. the Whitsundays are known and Superyacht base brisbane and the
as the heart of the Great barrier reef and brand-new rivergate Marina support a
offer deepwater cruising among 74 tropical cluster of almost 50 businesses for yachts
1. Darwin, northern territory Australia’s extensive
Situated at the most central, northerly coastline and offshore
location in Australia and on a natural har- islands offer diverse
bor twice the size of Sydney Harbour, the cruising opportunities.
Darwin, northern territory, superyacht
facility provides owners of yachts up to
65 meters with a comprehensive mainte-
nance and provisions service to support
the spectacular cruising destinations of
the kimberley Coast region and World
Heritage site kakadu national Park.
Darwin is Australia’s northernmost
capital city with a population of just more
than 100,000 and features a superb range
of restaurants, fresh seafood and fine
shopping including the world-renowned
2. cairns, tropical north
Queensland and the Great
Located “where the rainforest meets
the reef,” the northern Queensland
cruising grounds center around the up to 60 meters, serving as the home
world-famous, 1,200-mile-long Great port for international yacht-transport
barrier reef. Cairns Marlin Marina is company Dockwise yacht transport. the
home base to the Super yacht Group— Gold Coast City Marina and Superyacht
Great barrier reef, a consortium of base is a top-notch facility occupying more
more than 70 organizations servicing than 30 acres. it offers 18 berths up to 50
yachts up to 80 meters long and up to meters and incorporates comprehensive
six meters draft. Cairns is a vibrant city refit, construction and repaint factories.
of 123,000 that offers a lively contrast Marina oceanus also offers a number
of restaurants, theaters, galleries, night- of berths up to 70 meters. referred to
clubs and the reef Hotel Casino. as the Fort Lauderdale of Australia, the
islands. Most are listed as national parks, Gold Coast plays host to one round of
3. Whitsunday islands and the notably Hamilton island, which is home to the international indy motor races every
Great Barrier reef many international yachting regattas and october/november and attracts over 10
million visitors each year who come to »
Within easy cruising distance of the events each year.
128 march 2007 | ShOWBOaTS.cOm
Australian Superyacht Industry Body
Contact: Superyacht Base Australia Ltd.
Tel.: +61 7 5577 9797
Fax: +61 7 5577 9669
Southern Hemisphere Cruising Information
Contact: The Cruising Club International
Tel.: +61 2 9130 2420
Superyacht Base Brisbane
The Sydney Opera Contact: Superyacht Base Brisbane
House is a landmark
Tel.: +61 7 3213 7141
of the harbor city.
Fax: +61 7 3348 6500
enjoy the white sand beaches, more 100 meters and provides the perfect Superyacht Base Cairns
than 40 premier golf courses and an location to enjoy Australia’s finest Contact: Super Yacht Group—Great Barrier Reef
extensive range of cultural and enter- shopping, cultural and sporting events, Tel.: +61 7 4051 2166
tainment activities. including the Australian open, the For- Fax: +61 7 4051 2966
mula one Grand Prix and “the horse E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. sydney—the harbor city race that stops a nation”—the Mel- Website: www.superyachtgroup.com
Surrounded by numerous private, pic- bourne Cup. A short cruise across the
Superyacht Base Darwin
turesque cruising waterways from the 150-mile-wide bass Strait brings you
Contact: Darwin Ship Repair and Engineering Pty. Ltd.
Hawkesbury river to the north, to Port to the island state of tasmania and its
Tel.: +61 8 8981 4244
botany in the south, Sydney Harbour justly deserved reputation as Australia’s
Fax: +61 8 8981 8729
is one of the most desirable cruis- Wilderness State. Hobart, the finish of
ing destinations in the world. Home the Sydney-to-Hobart yacht race, is the
to the challenging Sydney-to-Hobart gateway to a natural paradise of ancient
yacht race every year, and showcas- rainforests, mountain peaks and thou-
Superyacht Base Gold Coast
ing the iconic Sydney Harbour bridge sands of miles of rugged coastline.
Contact: Superyacht Base Gold Coast City
and opera house within hundreds of
Tel.: +61 7 5591 3500
7. perth and Fremantle,
yards of each other, Sydney Harbour is
Fax: +61 7 5532 7507
instantly recognizable to people all over
the world. the rozelle bay Superyacht Western Australia’s capital city Perth, and
Marina supplies berthing up to 100 its neighboring port city of Fremantle, Superyacht Base Melbourne
meters and eight meters draft, plus sit beside the Swan river, which flows Contact: Melbourne Superyacht Marina at Docklands
a comprehensive refit and provisions into the indian ocean, and are the near- Tel.: +61 3 8317 3838
service from 46 member companies est major population centers to the Fax: +61 3 8317 3839
located just minutes from the city cen- emerging yachting locations in Southeast E-mail: email@example.com
ter. Sydney offers excellent cultural, Asia and Asia proper. the southern Website: www.docklands.com/superyachts
entertainment and business activities launching point for a cruise north to the
Superyacht Base Sydney
and is surrounded by scenic and winery kimberley Coast region, the southwest
Contact: NSW Superyacht Industry Association Inc.
regions that are second to none. the corner of the state is known for its
Tel.: +61 2 9338 6780
new year’s eve fireworks display, dazzling beaches, spectacular winemak-
Fax: +61 2 9338 6676
centering on the Sydney Harbour ing regions and presence of enormous
bridge, is also reputed to be the best whale sharks and schools of dolphins.
year-end celebration in the world. Superyacht base Western Australia,
located on the coast near Fremantle,
Superyacht Base Western Australia
6. Melbourne and tasmania boasts a skilled yachting support net-
Contact: Superyacht Base Western Australia
Melbourne is Australia’s newest supery- work that draws on a long history of
Tel.: +61 8 9316 2995
acht destination. the Melbourne Dock- marine manufacturing that has supplied
Fax: +61 8 9364 7557
lands Marina at Waterfront City offers superyachts to Australian celebrities
deepwater berthing for vessels up to such as sporting legend Greg norman.
130 march 2007 | ShOWBOaTS.cOm