Thursday, March 21, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life


The best of the Whitsundays was recognised at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards in Darwin, with Ocean Rafting bringing home gold in the Adventure Tourism category and silver in the Major Tour and Transport Operators category.

The Awards saw more than 180 of Australia’s quality tourism operators from each state and territory vying for top honours across 26 categories, with Ocean Rafting’s back-to-back wins on the night cementing its reputation as the Whitsundays’ original and most awarded tour operator.

Owners Peter and Jan Claxton attended the ceremony, along with Sales Captain, Nathan Fleming, representing their team and the three generations of family working in the business.

“We are so proud to have won these two awards on a national level. It seems extra special given we stood on the same podium, winning gold last time Darwin hosted the awards seven years ago, so we’re absolutely thrilled to have won again,” said Jan.

“These awards, one which recognises us as the best Adventure Tourism experience in Australia, not only reflect our products and the locations we visit, but they are also a testament to the dedication of our team and their ongoing commitment to delivering exceptional experiences in paradise.

“It just shows how much they truly love their job and their beautiful backyard where they work and play, renowned for its unforgettable locations and experiences.”

As a local Whitsunday family owned and operated business, Ocean Rafting shares the wonders of the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef with guests from across the globe.

The business’ many environmental initiatives reflect the team’s love and respect for the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, with weekly environmental activities carried out on a dedicated research vessel.

This past year, Peter and Jan once again circled back to Peter’s aviation roots, adding a second plane to their fleet of vessels and planes for the popular Fly Raft experience, which showcases the best of the Whitsundays from above and below.

“Adventure Tourism can only happen with adventurous guests, an adventurous team and an adventurous industry,” said Jan.

“It’s this adventurous spirit that pushes us to do what we do, while still being recognised as a tourism industry leader after nearly three decades of running high-standard, quality tourism operations.

“We are so grateful for the support of the Whitsunday community, our tourism industry partners, suppliers, our loyal agents and of course our guests.

“We should all be very proud, and of course a special congratulations to the other Whitsunday and Queensland winners and finalists, all so truly deserving of recognition.”

Ocean Rafting offers two exciting day tour adventures, the Northern Exposure and Southern Lights, with an exhilarating ride to Whitehaven Beach, the ultimate access to Hill Inlet and special snorkelling sites, as well as the Fly Raft package, 60-minute scenic flights, charter options and the Reef Seeker environmental educational program.

The fleet of eight semi-rigid inflatable vessels allow guests to experience Ocean Rafting’s signature adrenalin-fuelled ride amongst the beauty of the Whitsundays, while a maximum of 32 passengers allows for a personalised experience in the pleasure of a small group. 

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