GREAT Barrier Reef tour company Divers Den will operate the Daintree Ferry from 1 July 2021.
Douglas Shire Council today awarded a multi-year ferry services tender for the Daintree River crossing to the Cairns-based tourism company.
The single-ferry services contract will be divided into multiple increments to give Council flexibility while staff obtain permits for a two-ferry crossing and the associated land-based infrastructure.
These increments are designed to give Council an ability to switch to a two-ferry crossing as soon as practicable.
As well as operating the vessel, the Divers Den multi-million-dollar proposal featured customer service improvements over the first year of the contract including online ticketing, free public Wi-Fi, publishing real-time information and social media updates.
Divers Den is owned by Entrada Travel Group – a company which operates New Zealand’s largest passenger transport network, as well as the North Island bus express, and a variety of vessels for tourism experiences.
Council will officially take control of the Daintree Ferry on 1 July 2021 after signing an asset sale agreement with Sirron Enterprises (QLD) Pty Ltd this week.
Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said the Divers Den team would bring a wealth of tourism experience and expertise to the iconic river crossing.
“We are thrilled to have an opportunity to work with such a reputable company that has been delivering world-class tourism experiences in Far North Queensland since 1974,” he said.
“As an eco-certified business, we expect Divers Den to relish the opportunity to operate this fantastic entry into our majestic world heritage rainforest.”
“They are also part of a larger company which operates passenger transport for more than 600 destinations around New Zealand, with over 130 services each day.”
“Council looks forward to working closely with the successful tenderer and the current operator over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth transition for our community.”
Council has hired a Project Manager to co-ordinate upgrades to the land-based infrastructure required for a two-ferry system. A concept design is nearing completion.
A tender for a two-ferry service will be released once these concepts and permits are applied through the relevant departments.