As an avid boating enthusiast visiting Airlie Beach for over 26 years, I was disappointed with the deterioration of the physical infrastructure and service standard within the marina. When Abell Point went into receivership I saw the opportunity to purchase the asset and turn my vision of a world class destination marina into reality.
Within the first eighteen months of ownership, 21,000 square meters of concrete was poured, we built an arrival and departure plaza and created 305 car parks. Buildings were demolished, new ones erected, the marina dredged to allow access for larger vessels and the entire precinct underwent significant beautification. This was only the beginning.
Fast-forward to today and the marina now includes a 77-room boutique waterfront resort, private helipads, a 2.5 hectare garden area, floating amenities, a private guest lounge, multiple cafes and restaurants and a multitude of award-winning tourism and adventure operators.
The aim throughout the development process has been to create an entry statement for Airlie Beach, a premium destination for locals, visitors, and tourists and the Monaco of the South Pacific for superyachts.
I would like to take this opportunity to personally welcome you to Coral Sea Marina Resort and invite you to experience our journey through the below information. Rest assured the journey does not end here. The team at Coral Sea Marina Resort to ensure that we are continuously improving our services and providing transformational guest experiences here in Australia’s most iconic destination.
The year 2013 will go down in Coral Sea Marina history as the year of change, marking the beginning of a new future for the marina precinct and the Whitsunday region as a whole.
Work commenced almost immediately with the original north marina office building being demolished to expose the once-hidden waterfront aspect. Construction works on the car park commenced the same year. 21,000 square metres of concrete were poured and staff and contractors worked tirelessly to transform the marina precinct.
From the construction of the new arrival and departure plaza in the south village, to the refurbishment of offices and amenities throughout the north and south villages, 2014 was a year of progress.
Extensive beautification works were completed throughout the marina, including the upgrade and widening of the customer walkways and the boardwalk which winds through the village.
The addition of shaded foreshore areas for the enjoyment of guests and visitors, as well as the repainting and restyling of the buildings in the north marina village, created an enhanced village atmosphere.
Sorrento Restaurant & Bar received the welcome addition of an expansive sun deck for marina guests and visitors to enjoy stunning views over the Coral Sea. To further improve the marina village offering, Paddons Café in the south village was revitalized into Barcelona Tapas Bar & Restaurant offering Spanish inspired cuisine with uninhibited marina views.
By 2015, the marina’s reputation had turned a corner and word of the revitalised Abell Point Marina was fast making its way around the boating community.
The plan for 2015 was to further enhance the guest experience. This included the addition of a private helipad on the marina rock wall, upgrades to the fuel wharf enabling 24-hour fuel access and introduction of new café Bohemian Raw. The guest feedback received indicated the marina was achieving the vision.
Of major significance in 2015 was the launch of Abell Point Marina’s very own conference and wedding venue, Lure.
Lure offered a fresh contemporary venue space in the heart of the marina village with incredible ocean views, catering for the growing Whitsunday wedding and conference markets.
2016 was a huge year for the marina starting in January, with the hosting of the rest leg of the 2015/16 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. This event officially put the Whitsundays on the global sailing map.
The marina’s service focus was reinforced by implementing the Blue Carpet Treatment, providing a full range of on and off-water concierge services.
In September, the marina received the first global 5 Gold Anchor Marina Accreditation in the world, an amazing achievement for the business and recognition of the hard work of all the staff and management. The same year Clean Marina Level III and Fish Friendly Marina accreditation was achieved via the Marina Industry Association.
The year ended on a high with Gold for Major Tourism Attraction at the Whitsunday Tourism Awards, showcasing the vision of becoming a vibrant destination marina was being realized.
A second helipad was built on the marina rock wall and the marina village welcomed new service providers, Airlie Adventure Central and R Marine Crawley (Riviera).
From experiencing one of the worst weather events ever to hit the Whitsundays (Tropical Cyclone Debbie), to the achievement of winning prestigious awards and accolades, it is safe to say 2017 was a roller coaster ride for Abell Point Marina.
The year commenced with a focus on continuous improvement in the form of upgrades to private and public amenities, the dredging and garden project was in full swing and progress was steadily being made on Ocean Club.
In February, the marina purchased Barcelona Restaurant in the south village and in May Hemingway’s was launched after a full restaurant renovation.
Additional aesthetic developments were completed, including the upper balcony extension at Sorrento Restaurant & Bar and patio upgrades to the Kiosk Café.
July saw the launch of our 26m floating customer lounge Ocean Club. With 12 ensuite bathrooms, guest check in office and reception as well as an expansive sundeck with marina views, this addition proved incredibly popular with marina guests.
Tropical Cyclone Debbie
On 28 March, Tropical Cyclone Debbie hit the Whitsunday coast causing vast destruction to the marina infrastructure, the Whitsunday Islands and the surrounding region.
With 20% of on-water infrastructure damaged, as well as no power or water to the region, the aftermath proved to be a very challenging time. Not to be beaten, the plans for infrastructure restoration were drafted almost immediately and the team from Superior Jetties were on-site within 48 hours.
Within days a temporary walkway for L Arm and the marina’s fuel dock was fitted and by week six the walkway had been replaced for new.
From initial damage assessment to temporary repairs around the marina, from the demolition of debris to piling works to the manufacture, transportation and installation of the new arms – H/J/K/F/G and A – the team coordinated by Superior Jetties worked tirelessly to restore the marina to 100% capacity.
The marina was fully operational once again in August 2017, a short 4 months after the impact of TC Debbie was felt.
By the start of 2018 the focus returned to continuous improvement.
Hemingway’s restaurant was awarded a Chef Hat at the beginning of the year. Hemingway’s was one of only two restaurants in Airlie Beach to ever receive such an accolade at the time.
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race returned to the Whitsundays for the second time, this time with Abell Point Marina acting as host port sponsor. Abell Point Marina also joined “The Last Straw Campaign” and eliminated plastic straws from all marina outlets.
The marina dredging project was finalised and work continued on The Gardens, with a vision to create a 2.5 hectare community garden area. In addition, a Guest Business Centre was launched at Ocean Club and guest Wi-Fi was added throughout the marina village.
The accolades continued with Abell Point Marina being awarded Gold once again at the 2018 Whitsunday Tourism Awards, as well as being entered into the Hall of Fame for this category.
Without a doubt, 2019 was the start of a new era for the business and the Whitsundays with the acquisition of neighbouring Coral Sea Resort. The marina and resort merged and rebranded as Coral Sea Marina Resort, a vibrant destination in the heart of the Coral Sea.
The resort underwent major renovations and refurbishments to raise the service standard and facilities to be more in keeping with the premium reputation of the marina. This included the addition of a private beach, renovations to the entrance plaza, reception, pool area, refurbishments to rooms, and the launch of new waterfront restaurant, The Rocks - Restaurant, Bar & Pool Club.
The marina continued to go from strength to strength by being awarded Platinum accreditation under the Global Anchor Scheme and being announced as Australian Marina of the Year 2019/2020.
The Meeting Space in the north village was created and the Meeting Points constructed providing additional seating and shade. In May, Hemingway’s restaurant was relaunched as The Garden Bar Bistro, with a new outdoor lounge area created for more casual dining. The Garden development continued and lawn was laid and trees planted.
2020 was the year the world changed and Coral Sea Marina Resort changed with it.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic lock down of March 2020, Coral Sea Marina Resort welcomed back the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, and held the Whitsundays Clipper Race Carnival a hugely successful event that welcomed thousands of people to the region.
When lockdown hit, the Coral Sea Resort closed its doors whilst the marina remained operational as an essential service. By June 2020, both businesses were back fully operational.
Coral Sea Marina began to lobby with Government to seek financial relief for the commercial tourism operators who call the marina home and the “From our Family to Yours” campaign was launched.
Whilst the year was a challenge, the dedication of the team saw additional resort renovations, the launch of new day spa, Blush Spa and Beauty Bar, The Rocks hosting some iconic Airlie Beach events, and the marina announced as Runner-Up for the Best Australasian Superyacht Marina 2020 (ACREW).
Whilst 2021 continued to be difficult for the entire tourism industry in the Whitsunday region, Coral Sea Marina Resort successfully pivoted towards a domestic market.
In May, The Lookout Lounge was launched, a private guest and crew lounge at the marina. In addition, The Meeting Space relocated from the north to the south village. An office space for guests working remotely was also added to the Ocean Club Guest Business Centre.
The Coral Sea Resort saw the introduction of The Sand Bar and The Raw Bar adding to The Rocks - Restaurant, Bar and Pool Club experience. Beach cabanas were constructed at the resort’s private beach overlooking the Coral Sea.
The Coral Sea Academy was developed to provide an EduTourism experience for the region. The Coral Sea Academy offers a series of innovative events designed to educate marina guests, locals and visitors about the environment, the Great Barrier Reef, better boating and sustainability.
A marina like no otherA marina like no other
A marina like no other
In 2019, Coral Sea Marina Resort became the first marina in Queensland to attain Platinum level under the 5 Gold Anchor Global Marina accreditation scheme. By continually setting industry benchmarks and being recognised globally as a premium destination, the marina has been awarded the following industry awards / accreditations:
- 5 Gold Anchor Platinum Global Marina Accreditation
- Australian Marina of the Year 2017/18, 2019/20 and Hall of Fame 2021
- Superyacht Industry Service Provider of the Year 2017, 2021
- ACREW Superyacht Business Awards – Best Superyacht Marina (Runner-Up) 2021
- ACREW Superyacht Business Awards - Best Australasian Marina (Runner-Up) 2020
- MIA Best Community Engagement by a Marina 2019/20
- MIA Innovation by a Marina 2017/18
- Superyacht Industry Champion 2017 - Paul Darrouzet
- Major Tourism Attraction (Gold) – Queensland Tourism Awards (2017)
- Major Tourism Attraction (Finalist) – Australian Tourism Awards (2017)
- Major Tourism Attraction (Gold) – Whitsunday Tourism Awards – 2016, 2017, 2018, Hall of Fame 2019
- Best of Queensland Expereinces 2018, 2019, 2021
- TripAdvisor Travellers Choice 2020
- ecoBiz Star Rated Partner 2021
- Clean Marina Level III / Fish Friendly Marina