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Our Story

Sailing Darwin Harbour

About Us

We do things a bit differently, and that's the way we like it!

welcoming new kuru

Our Team

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Our Story

City of Darwin Cruises Pty Ltd is owned and operated harbour cruise business since 2002 by  Territorians (over 42 years), Les, Leslee and Jevon Reif. We commenced operating sunset, daytime and charter cruises on their original vessel EcoVenture, a SeaWind 1000 in 2002 after purchasing in 2001.

Darwin Harbour with its well-known top end sunset combined with a cool sea breeze (in the sails) might just provide that perfect backdrop for the best social venue in Darwin for your next occasion. 

Kuru sunset Darwin Harbour

Kuru sunset Darwin Harbour

City of Darwin Cruises can provide a different and unique social venue for your group.

Our sailing catamarans KURU  and CHERRY PIE provide a great venue with a unique platform and an ever-changing backdrop encompassing views of Darwin, the harbour foreshore, mangrove environments and sensational sunsets combined with wet season storms.

Over the past 15 years we have enjoyed meeting people who live here, as well as visitors to Darwin from all over the world.  Many are now our friends who we look after, using our vessels as the unique venue, limited only by your imagination to provide and share the best social experience on the harbour.

So apart from our regular scheduled ticketed cruises examples of venue activities we have provide over the years include:

  • weddings, bucks and hen’s nights,
  • documentary film set,
  • family functions social get together for birthdays, proposals, wakes,
  • corporate functions like meetings, team building activities, (MICE),
  • small business learning sessions on using google seo, developing a web site, understanding financials, break even, business costs etc
  • Darwin special history cruises like a visit to old Leprosarium Channel Island, follow Stokes journey leading to naming of Darwin,
  • classroom for students.

Whether you are travelling with a friend or partner, needing that unique venue for a group get together or private charter, we can provide a range of cruise options, pricing, catering requirements and even specialist guest speakers.

Check out our cruise options:

  1. Daytime sailing for 6 or more.
  2. City Lights Cruise for 6 or more
  3. Sunset Cruises
  4. Group bookings
  5. Private Charters

The Beginning of Australian Sailing Experiences

In 2001 Les and Leslee purchased Ecoventure, a Seawind 1000, and proposed to put it into charter on the Gold Coast with Sentinel Sailing run by Bob Van Bodegraven. Sentinel Sailing provided corporate sailing programs using Sentinel Sailing's cunning sailing process - suitable for groups of 10-150 plus! Sentinel Sailing were a team of dedicated sailors with people development skills and life experience sufficient to deliver world class corporate sailing programs.

2001 Ecoventure

Seawind 1000 Ecoventure

They chartered a number of yachts including our Ecoventure for their program. When 9/11 struck chaos and disaster occurred for the corporate market as everyone stopped spending corporate dollars, which meant the Sentinel business had reduced clients.

We then made a decision to sail Ecoventure to Darwin and commence a sailing business. The voyage was a great trip and we picked up  in Cairns, good friends, Trish Sankey and partner Steve Jenkins along with Tony Parker. We had a great sail to Gove where Tony departed. The voyage from Gove was delayed due to cyclone and storm activity in January 2002. We sailed from Gove wth a workmate of Leslee's, Merrilyn Paskin who unfortunately was in the horizontal for the whole journey until Darwin Harbour. Once we departed Gove little did we know that a low that had been hanging about developed into a cyclone and gave us rough weather across the Top End to Port Essington.

We day sailed which certainly tested the Seawind 1000 and gave us plenty of confidence in the seaworthiness of the vessel. We arrived in Darwin with one fuel tank on empty. A great adventure for us all.

 

 

 

 

The Next phase - City of Darwin Cruises

In 2002 we commenced operating sunset and daytime cruises on  vessel EcoVenture, a SeaWind 1000. In July 2002 a sunset cruise business name came available from the deceased estate of Ian Lowe (an old work colleague of Les). Ian had operated sunset cruises from Cullen Bay on a sailing vessel City of Darwin.  We then operated with the business name of City of Darwin Cruises.

In March 2004, we found that the surveyed number of 12 persons on Ecoventure hardly produced decent return. In 2004 we searched for a suitable catamaran that had greater capacity and this led us to purchase a 38 foot Crowther Seafire sailing catamaran (Cherry Pie). The vessel, which had a C class survey max 21 on Harbour day trips and 8 plus 2 crew for overnight trips, meant that we could offer travellers an experience of the Top End’s coastline. We also looked to offer a Bare Sand overnight where clients could see nesting turtles. These experiences were not busy enough for a good cash return, however we did do a number of cruises.

In June 2007 City of Darwin Cruises purchased a brand new sailing catamaran, a SeaWind 1050 Resort (EcoCity), specifically designed for the tourism market which has a capacity of 30 pax.  This vessel had a fully covered area and cushioned seating for passenger comfort and was one of the very few specifically designed tourist vessels on Darwin Harbour.

In November 2007 Les and Leslee purchased a luxury Seawind 1160 catamaran (Ecosafari) being larger, more seaworthy vessel that replaced the Seawind 1000, Ecoventure. This luxury vessel was able to provide daytime, sunset and overnight  luxury day sailing on Darwin Harbour and Bynoe Harbour and was used for up market small number dinner cruises and charters. (max 12 people).