This page tells our story. The story of a run-down marina in Airlie Beach which has grown to become the beating heart of the Whitsundays.
Our story begins with a vision to create a better place for people to visit, live and work. A vision to develop a stronger economy for the Whitsundays and for our region to be renowned for quality tourism products and experiences. A vision to protect the natural assets that surround us and to make meaningful contributions to our community. A vision to affect positive change.
Today, that vision has been realised, through investment, dedication and commitment.
As visitors drive over the hill into Airlie Beach, the first thing they see is the stunning turquoise of the Coral Sea, the beauty of the islands and the world class Coral Sea Marina Resort
Our FamilyOur Family
The Coral Sea Marina Resort precinct provides a one-stop-shop for those wishing to experience the very best of the Whitsundays, both on-water and on-land.
With two marina villages offering a range of tourism and hospitality experiences, a picturesque absolute waterfront resort, multiple marina services available, an engaging calendar of events and a passion for sustainable tourism, Coral Sea Marina Resort attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to its vibrant precinct.
Coral Sea Marina Resort is home to over 80% of on-water tourism in the Whitsundays. Our tenants and operators are arguably the best in the business, with both Queensland and Australian Tourism Award winners amongst them.
Whether it be a relaxing poolside getaway, overnight sailing adventures, bareboat charters, scenic flights from the private helipads, jetboats or jetskis - Coral Sea Marina Resort acts as the gateway to the stunning Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic heavily impacted our tourism industry as international travel ceased. Our tourism operators faced unprecedented challenges, so we joined with them to lobby Government for financial relief and at the same time launched a marketing campaign to assist them reaching a domestic travel market. ‘From Our Family to Yours’ was launched in a time of great uncertainty and shone a spotlight on the incredible family-owned businesses who call Coral Sea Marina Resort home.
Coral Sea AcademyCoral Sea Academy
Coral Sea Academy
The concept of ‘travel for good’ has grown exponentially over recent years, as has the EduTourism sector - travel which offers an educational experience.
The Coral Sea Academy was born from a desire to provide guests and visitors with more from their visit to the Whitsundays than just a holiday, to educate people on our natural environment, on sustainable boating practices and on preserving the Great Barrier Reef.
The vision of our Coral Sea Academy is to take people on a journey that inspires them to be part of something bigger, to be changed and to make change happen. The mission of the Coral Sea Academy is to provide interactive and engaging events which consciously connect visitors and locals to boating, the environment and themselves, leaving them feeling inspired and empowered.
Since the Coral Sea Academy was launched, it has developed to encompass four key pillars - sustainability, better boating, wellness and culture. The events and experiences on offer at the Coral Sea Academy are aimed at transforming the way people think and behave.
Our EnvironmentOur Environment
The Whitsunday Islands form part of the worldheritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and, as a business, we are focused on reducing our impact on the environment, encouraging the long-term health of the reef and preserving the biodiversity of the National Parks which surround us.
At Coral Sea Marina Resort, we understand we have a responsibility to reduce the impact of our business on our natural environment and create sustainable business operations, so future generations can enjoy our natural assets as we do.
Coral Sea Marina is an accredited Clean Marina Level III/ Fish Friendly marina. In 2018, we became the first marina resort in Australia to have all our food and beverage outlets become plastic straw free as part of The Last Straw Campaign and since have pledged to become single-use plastics free by 2025. We are partnering with CQ University and Reef Catchments to develop a test-site in the marina for seagrass nurseries. We are proud partners of the Healthy Heart Reef Project, with the Whitsunday Climate Change Innovation Hub, to decarbonise the Whitsundays tourism sector and achieve a sustainable destination accreditation for the Whitsunday region. We are an ecoBiz Star Partner for our commitment to waste management. We advocate for sustainable boating practices and reef preservation through our Coral Sea Academy.
Looking to the future, we are partnering with industry and local government to bring a Seabin Project to the Whitsundays.
Our CommunityOur Community
Coral Sea Marina Resort is incredibly proud to support a number of community and environmental projects within the local region.
As major sponsors of the Whitsunday Voluntary Marine Rescue, multiple local sports clubs and Sailability Whitsunday, Coral Sea Marina Resort enjoys coordinating and contributing towards fundraising projects. These include the Big Aussie BBQ and Shag Islet Cruising Yacht Club’s (SICYC) annual rendezvous, both of which raise much needed funds for the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.
Through the Coral Sea Academy, we partner with boating professionals, environmental organisations and not-for-profit groups to encourage better boating practices and the preservation of the marine environment in which we work and live.
In addition, we are passionate about bringing community events to the region, attracting more visitors and partnering with key industry stakeholders to put the Whitsundays on the tourism destination map within Australia. Events include Airlie Beach Race Week, Clipper Round the World Yacht Race and the Great Barrier Reef Festival, to name a few, all of which help to showcase the very best of the Whitsundays.
Coral Sea Marina Resort aims to consciously connect guests with the Whitsundays lifestyle, welcoming visitors to experience this destination as their home away from home. We are committed to creating a community-focused recreation hub in which guests can feel part of the Whitsunday community and enjoy the many groups, activities and events on offer throughout the region.
Superyacht HubSuperyacht Hub
A committed effort in attracting superyachts to our region has been a core focus of the business from the beginning, resulting in some solid visitation. Some of the largest yachts in the South Pacific have stayed at Coral Sea Marina Resort, including 75m Lady E and 73m, Dragonfly.
The impact of superyacht visitation on our local economy is significant, with the average superyacht spending $25,000 a day on provisions, supplies and services. Coral Sea Marina Resort acts as their home port whilst exploring the Great Barrier Reef and because of our seamless professional service, superyacht crew travel the world and spread the message of the wonders of the Whitsundays.
With significant investment in infrastructure and through building partnerships within the superyacht industry in Australia and across the globe, Coral Sea Marina Resort has become acknowledged as a key player in the luxury yachting world.
Coral Sea Marina Resort’s owner, Paul Darrouzet, was recognised in 2017 as Australian Superyacht Industry Champion for his commitment to the growth of the industry in Australia. The role our organisation plays in the Australian superyacht industry has also been recognised in recent years with the marina being awarded Superyacht Industry Service Provider of the Year in both 2017 and 2021. On an international level, attaining runner-up in the ACREW Superyacht Business Awards for Best Superyacht Marina in 2021 was also a significant milestone, with this category being contested by marinas across the globe.
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, 2022
- Clean Marina Level III / Fish Friendly Marina
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.