Gladstone Region Tours owner Darryl Branthwaite had a busy maiden cruise ship day when the Carnival Spirit arrived on September 20.
Gladstone Region Tours owner Darryl Branthwaite had a busy maiden cruise ship day when the Carnival Spirit arrived on September 20.

Tours prove popular as first cruise keeps Daz on his toes

HE HAD to overcome a few teething issues on the day but Darryl Branthwaite’s first cruise ship day as owner of Gladstone Region Tours was a success.

The man largely responsible for luring cruise ships to Gladstone was on hand at East Shores last Friday when the 2000-passenger Carnival Spirit came to town.

With his colourful 20-seater bus parked ready to go, Darryl’s plan was to run four one-hour tours and a three-hour afternoon tour.

But as he is more than aware, timing can be an issue when you’re dealing with a ship weighing over 80 tonnes.

“The plan was to do five tours but we only got four in and it was a matter of trialling things to see what worked … because the ship was late we couldn’t get the five in,” Darryl said.

“We did an hour’s lap and commentary around the city starting at 11am and midday and had bookings for the three-hour in the afternoon down through Tannum.

“Basically we wanted to connect people with what makes Gladstone tick.

“It was the importance of Gladstone as far as industry goes, the cohesion of a lot of the industries who work here, the reasons why they’re here and the ethos they have around the community and environmental management.

“Then we brought them up to the Round Hill lookout which gives you a good 360 of everything. Then it was back up the main street to talk about the history of our buildings on Goondoon St.”

Gladstone Region Tours owner Darryl Branthwaite had a busy maiden cruise ship day when the Carnival Spirit arrived on September 20.
Gladstone Region Tours owner Darryl Branthwaite had a busy maiden cruise ship day when the Carnival Spirit arrived on September 20.

He also ran a twilight tour which proved popular.

Preparation for Gladstone’s glut of cruise ship arrivals — with eight arriving between October 25 and December 4 — will keep the former GAPDL boss on his toes in the coming months.

Seven of those visits will be from the Explorer Dream that will likely attract a large portion of Asian tourists.

“About 60 per cent of the passengers are likely to be of Asian origin and there will be other European traffic on there,” Darryl said.