A 113-year-old restored sailing ship will help tell the story of the Sunshine Coast’s Indigenous heritage for Saltwater Eco Tours’ unique cultural cruises.

Owner Simon Thornalley has operated the two-hour cruises on the Mooloolah River since last year. And the good news is that they are set to further build on last year’s Year of Indigenous Tourism in Queensland. After a refit of his restored historic huon pine sailing ship Spray of the Coral Coast, tours will sail along the Mooloolaba coastline and around Mudjimba (Old Woman) Island. “It is a replica of the first boat to ever sail solo around the world,” says Thornalley.

He acts as proud captain of the cruises. Of Torres Strait Islander descent, his motivation to start Saltwater Eco Tours was to combine his love for the ocean, sailing and his own heritage. He wanted to collaborat­e with the local Indigenous community to highlight the rich culture on the Sunshine Coast. “Right here in Mooloolaba, in a tourism hub like The Wharf, you can have an authentic Indigenous experience out on a beautiful old timber boat.”

Guests on the Indigenous tour are also invited to sample bushtucker inspired catering including fresh local seafood. saltwatere­cotours.com.au

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