Smooth sailing for Ningaloo endeavour
Cruise Ningaloo is the new WA business gaining attention and rave reviews online from keen sailors and adventurers.
Based in Exmouth, Cruise Ningaloo offers “hire and drive” sailing cruises of the Exmouth gulf and Ningaloo reef and is the first of its kind in the State.
Available for hire is the “Ningaloo Virgin” — a 38ft luxury sailing catamaran which sleeps 10 and has two ensuites, a fully equipped kitchenette and spacious deck and saloon.
People can hire the Ningaloo Virgin for around $1000 a night to explore and experience the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef and incredible Exmouth coast in style and comfort.
Cruise Ningaloo director Nick Tutty only bought the catamaran in November last year with his wife Sarah and two business partners and has been operating cruises since January.
“Since then we’ve been frantically working to try and improve the boat for this region,” he said.
“It was operating as a bareboat in Thailand but there are certain things that you need in this part of the world that they didn’t have over there like the communications; the Telstra phone booster, and satellite communications.”
The vessel is equipped with state-of-the-art technology to make your cruise carefree.
“We’ve put in the communication system on the boat so that people can call us any time they need to and there’s a massive operating manual that comes with the boat if you’re unsure about anything,” he said.
The Ningaloo Virgin is available for people with varying degrees of sailing experience from novice to professional.
Mr Tutty said experienced sailors are able to take the Ningaloo Virgin out on the ocean unaccompanied and a guide is available for those new to sailing.
“If there are people we deem are not competent or confident enough to take the boat out or if they’re uncomfortable them we can put a sailing guide with
them,” he said. “They can go out with a local sailing guide who’s got the local knowledge and the knowledge of the boat and the knowledge of sailing to make sure that they’re safe and that everything’s OK.”
Mr Tutty said he was keen to get a bareboat sailing company up and running in Exmouth.
“There are several little bareboat sailing hubs around the world and I don’t see any reason why Exmouth can’t be the next hub,” he said.
“Things started slowing down in the oil and gas sector and we started looking at ways to diversify.
“Tourism was going strong and we thought ‘well let’s get into the tourism side of the business’ and that’s where Cruise Ningaloo was forged.”
Business has been sailing steadily since it began in January, however Mr Tutty said he’d like to attract experienced bare-boaters to Exmouth.
“There’s an untapped market there that we’re trying to tap into, which is a bareboat market which has never been tapped into in Western Australia,” he said.
“There are guys that have done these tours in different parts of the world and are used to taking the boat out by themselves and competent enough that we want to bring them here.
“We want to encourage them to come to Exmouth and Ningaloo.
“They might be looking at where (their) next bareboat sailing destination is and they’re comparing Phuket, Greek islands and Whitsundays, so we’re trying to attract some of them to town.”
Mr Tutty hopes to soon be able to crack the international bareboat sailing market.
“We know that there’s a global market there of bareboaters that would love this product and we’re hoping to tap into that,” he said.
“We think that not only will it be good for business but also for the town and the region in general — it’s another area of tourism that could open up a whole new demographic that could come to the region that’s never come before.”
Mr Tutty said the cruises have allowed him and and his family to explore untouched parts of the Exmouth coast.
“As we got the boat here — before we had even got the chance to go explore the Ningaloo Reef — we found ourselves going out on weekends with our friends in the gulf,” he said.
“A couple of months later when it came time to go and explore the Ningaloo Reef and we thought we should really go and do that — we asked ourselves why; we’ve just been having the time of our lives ... these islands that nobody goes to and they’re just magic.”
Sailing is an environmentally friendly way to explore the coast with fuel consumption lower than that of a power boat.
“It has a low impact to the environment and promotes healthy eco-adventure tourism and a wilderness experience,” Mr Tutty said.
For more information or to book a cruise head to cruiseningaloo.com.au.
The Ningaloo Virgin is available to hire to explore the Ningaloo Reef and Exmouth Coast.
The Ningaloo Virgin is a 38ft luxury sailing catamaran.
Getting the sails up is a good way to lower fuel consumption.