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“Awesome snorkeling, and the sailing was cool” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Derwent Hunter Day Tours

Derwent Hunter Day Tours
Abel Point Marina South | Shingley Drive, Airlie Beach, Queensland 4802, Australia
+61 7 4946 7124
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Ranked #12 of 56 activities in Airlie Beach
Type: Boat Tours
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Tall Ship Day Sailing on board the Australian legend Derwent Hunter. Whitsunday Islands, Great Barrier Reef. Help sail, snorkel fringing reefs,explore coral atolls of Langford Reef and Bali Hai. Multi award winning for adventure and eco tourism. Departs Airlie Beach.
Bemidji, Minnesota
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Awesome snorkeling, and the sailing was cool”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2014

The sailing is not really anything crazy or adrenaline rushing, but the snorkelling easily made up for it. The sailing was kinda cool and they fill your time with some information, food, and helping do the ropes and set the sails. But once you get to the destination the snorkelling and mini raft trip to the islands are amazing and so worth it. Also this is more affordable than some of the other things around.

Visited January 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jo L, Owner at Derwent Hunter Day Tours, responded to this review, February 6, 2014
Thanks for taking the time to leave your feedback with us, glad to hear that you had a great day out
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“Kind of rubbish”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2014

At almost AUD$200 each we expected a fantastic trip. We were sorely disappointed.

Firstly when we got on the boat we were horrified to find that there were almost 40 people on board & not enough seats. It was incredibly uncomfortable. We were also made to remove our footwear but as the day went on the floor of the boat was really quite hot.

So onto the trip content. Well, it is basically a 3 hour sail out to two snorkelling places, where you snorkel for an hour and then return for another 3 hour sail back.

On the day we went it turns out they had cancelled several days due to adverse weather conditions and it was still not great when they did our trip. It was incredibly choppy and having sailed before I was surprised to find myself feeling incredibly seasick. But never mind the team were kind enough to sell me seasickness tablets. Personally I think if you are going to sail in these sorts of conditions - seasickness tablets should be provided free of charge to passengers.

As for the three hour sail out and back. Well it was boring. It wasn't particularly scenic - just open water really and the ocassional hill - having since done the Whitehaven Express and can say that there are plenty of beautiful parts to see but the trip we did with Derwent did not go through these parts.

The snorkelling was terrible. Visibility was poor due to sand churning and all I could really see was brown coral, very little sea life.

I would also like to point out that there was a large show of asking if everyone could swim and asking everyone to write down their swimming ability and sign their name against it.

My friend is a weak swimmer & after they had people sign the sheet they didn't even offer the weaker people any help. I just don't understand why they asked for this information if they weren't going to use it?

They also provided no instruction on how to use snorkelling equipment. It was just lazy service

Perhaps the issue is that the team were just the "Xmas" team - so had not been doing the trip that long and were not particularly enthusiastic as guess they wouldn't be doing the trip much longer, when the normal team returns.

The one good thing on the trip was the lunch - it was lovely.

But all in all I felt thoroughly ripped off, and if the weather conditions meant they couldn't go through a scenic part of the Whitsundays and provide decent snorkelling then they should have cancelled the trip.

Visited January 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jo L, Owner at Derwent Hunter Day Tours, responded to this review, February 6, 2014
We are sorry to hear that you were disappointed on your sailing trip, some of which may be attributed to weather conditions. Sailing trips are particularly subject to weather conditions and even though the Whitsundays are classed as "partially smooth" it can still be choppy on some days.

As it is a sailing trip, a large proportion of the trip involves being under sail which is why most people choose our tour, as the opportunity to sail on an historic tall ship is quite unique. There are plenty of motor boats/ferries offering a speedy transfer to the reefs and islands, which is perhaps more along the lines of what you were expecting. Our tour is different and is clearly communicated in our brochure. The map on the brochure clearly shoes the locations visited, and based on countless other feedback the beaches and reefs off Haymen Island are very highly rated and world renowned. Some days the water visibility is better than others, but this is an aspect that we can't control.

With regards to your comments about snorkeling, the reason why we identify weaker swimmers prior to snorkeling is so that our look outs (in our two dinghies) can keep a close eye on them. All snorkeling takes place from the beach in shallow water making it perfect and safe for beginners. A full snorkel brief is given before heading to shore. We do not offer guided snorkeling tours and do not advertise this on our brochures.

Once again we thank you for your feedback
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Nottingham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
182 reviews 182 reviews
54 attraction reviews
Reviews in 72 cities Reviews in 72 cities
114 helpful votes 114 helpful votes
“A good day out but not special”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014

All in all, I rate the Derwent Hunter as a good day out. There are a few issues, but given the age of the ship and the conditions that it has to deal with, you have to expect some people to get a bit grumpy about the day.

The food, staff and general condition of the ship and the equipment, including the toilets are first rate, however, the seating is not luxurious and you do struggle a little to keep out of the sun, which at 3pm can be blistering. I suggest that if you want a comfortable perch, you take a padded mat of some sort. What dosn't help the space issue is the number of guests and the fact that some ignorant people insist on lying prostrate over several seating positions. Our trip on Boxing Day was fully booked and did get a little cosey at times. The Derwent Hunter is a converted fishing boat cum racing yacht, not a luxury cruise liner or pleasure boat.

On our trip, the sea was mill pond flat with absolutly no wind so we had to motor all the way to the islands and 90% of the way back, just using the sails for about 15 minutes to see if they would work. The crew actually admitted that they hoist the sails more for shade than power. This is not the fault of the ship, no wind is an issue you will have to take up with a higher being than the captain. I can understand people being miffed by this, especially if you wanted to sail, but wind is wind, or not, as the case may be.

Due to using the engine, time on the reef was limited and because it was so hot, the wildlife was limited to a few fish. We did not get time to walk on the islands and snorkle, you really had to pick one or the other. We had no issue with the shuttle, it dropped you on the beach, you grabbed a foam noodle and off you went. A noodle is essential, even if you are an Olympic swimmer. It gives you bouyancy and saves you energy so you can fin round more of the reef. I am a diver and having previously dived the reef off Cairns, I thought that the coral on this trip was much better and more colourfull than Cairns.

We took a couple of litres of our own water so didn't have to buy any, but I do agree that a captive audiance should be given some free water, even just tap from a cooler like they do on many other trips in Australia. Water in this part of the world is a necessity not a luxury. Beer and pop are totally different issues, you want it, you pay, no problem. The same goes for sea sick pills. If you suffer, buy some before you set sail, lots of chemists in town, in short, be prepared.

The wierdest thing of the whole day was the bus trip to the boat. On booking from the UK, I was told that the bus trip from Marina Shores was essential as it was too far to walk. We waited 45 minutes for the bus as it was late, we got on, it struggled to do a 5 point turn on our drive and then went up the hill, turned left, down the hill and stopped in the marina that we could see from the bus stop??? The night before, we had walked further to the Sorrento restaurant for dinner.

I would reccommend this trip, but bear in mind that the weather, hot/cold/rain/wind/sun etc, will have a huge effect on your day, be prepared.

Visited December 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jo L, Owner at Derwent Hunter Day Tours, responded to this review, February 6, 2014
Thank you for your positive feedback about our tour, we are glad to hear that you had a good day. With regard to your bus pick up, we apologize but there must have been a mis communication about our pick up time, which should have been at 7.30am. Six months ago we were departing from a different marina, with an earlier pick up time and believe that this is where the error occurred. We do apologize for this.
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“could do a lot better than this”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2014

Cant believe you can pay $180 for a boat trip and then you have to pay extra for a drink of water.
This boat trip was over crowded with nowhere to sit comfortably.
The health and safety briefings seemed to last forever and when we did get some snorkeling it was all too brief.
The boat is beautiful but is very old and is not built for 35 people to crowd on deck on a day trip. Should be 15 people maximum and then they might all have somewhere to sit.
Was a bit bumpy on the way out and guess what they charge for sea sickness tablets too. Very miserly.

Visited January 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jo L, Owner at Derwent Hunter Day Tours, responded to this review, February 7, 2014
Thank you for your feedback. In relation to the inclusions we are one of the few tours in Airlie Beach to include marine park fees, wetsuits, lunch. Tap water and tea/coffee/Milo are also provided free of charge. All details are included on our brochure.
Sea sickness tablets are sold at cost price. Generally most seasickness medication is recommended to be taken a few hours prior to going out on the water for best effect, we carry a few tablets on board for anyone who has not been prepared. We will take on board your comments.
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Brisbane, Australia
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Would have done a tour every day if I could have!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2014

Bus pick up from hotel, driver was a hoot, fantastic staff getting you organised and on board ship, kickass crew and captain, and thoroughly surprisingly wonderful food.
2 adults and 6 kids, 17yrs-12yrs. I was a bit worried about having all the kids out snorkelling and whether I would actually enjoy myself having to monitor the troop, but the crew watch and monitor everyone and patrol the perimeter where you snorkel so I was able to relax and enjoy myself knowing my kids had many eyes on them.
It was educational also which the kids loved.
The bonus was seeing 2 turtles and a dolphin!
Will be back to do it again next visit to Airlie Beach.

Visited January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jo L, Owner at Derwent Hunter Day Tours, responded to this review, January 12, 2014
Thanks for the great review, we enjoy sharing our ship and our wonderful coral reefs with the kids and love their enthusiasm for everything they do. We limit the number of children on board so that we can offer that extra special attention and experience. See you next time!
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