“They are loving the cruising grounds around Papua New Guinea and Indonesia…”

  • By Hayden Smith | The Cairns Post
Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef is celebrating a great start to 2016. SYGGBR manager Joanne Drake at Cairns’ Marlin Marina. PICTURE: JUSTIN BRIERTY

DAZZLING superyachts are visiting the Far North in numbers not seen since before the global financial crisis.

A bumper year is forecast with 37 multi-million-dollar vessels having already moored at Cairns and Port Douglas in 2016.

Last year, 46 superyachts visited the region.


Super Yacht Group Great Barrier Reef manager Joanne Drake said the Far North was on track for its biggest annual visitation since the group was incorporated in 2000.

“Marlin Marina has forecast bookings for the arrival of 14 superyachts over July and August,” she said.

“They are loving the cruising grounds around Papua New Guinea and Indonesia at the moment, and due to our proximity to these hot spots we are a logical port of call for bunkering, provisioning, maintenance, private jet services and crew pit stops.”

Luxury 48-metre yacht Gran Finale and world class 56-metre sailing vessel Fidelis are this week anchored at Cairns’ Marlin Marina.

Ms Drake said the $3 million expansion of Port Douglas’ Reef Marina and low Australian dollar were helping to drive the increased super-yacht visitation.

“We have been fervently promoting the region’s capability, which is a key factor, but also the dollar value is attractive to the yachts, not to mention we have a warm, tropical and unique destination,” she said. “Cairns has so much to offer the global superyacht community.”

Superyachts inject about $22 million into the local economy, with Cairns also a hub for vessel maintenance.

SYGGBR chairman Matthew Templeton was among guests at this month’s Tahiti Rendezvous, a huge networking event for the South Pacific superyacht community.

Ms Drake said having a Far North presence at these events had proven invaluable for promoting the region.

“We have found in the past that many boats have journeyed to Cairns following our input into such events – it is a proven revenue spinner,” she said.

The largest annual super-yacht visitation since SYGGBR became incorporated was 53 in 2008. This number dropped to 33 in 2009, following the GFC.