New eco cruise for Sunshine Coast

New eco cruise for Sunshine Coast

Operating from Mooloolaba, Saltwater Eco Tours is using a century-old historic timber sailing vessel, Spray of the Coral Coast, to showcase the Sunshine Coast’s Indigenous heritage and marine beauty.

Each tour will have an Indigenous story-teller on board to share the stories, traditions and culture of the Sunshine Coast’s original Indigenous inhabitants and first eco custodians, the Kabi Kabi people (who were originally known as the ‘Saltwater People’). 

Saltwater Eco Tours is the brainchild of Simon Thornalley, a young Indigenous man of Torres Strait Island descent. Simon spent his life sailing through the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Straits as a child, honing his skills before gaining his Commercial Master Class 5 licence, which took him across many oceans, including six cruises to Antarctica as First Officer on a charter vessel. 

Simon has incorporated his love for the marine environment, his cultural heritage, and his passion for sailing by launching a series of tours aboard Spray of the Coral Coast. These include:

Private Charters – available for exclusive hire for cruises of 2 to 4 hours, Saltwater Eco Tours can accommodate a wide range of requirements including custom catering, live music and story-telling. 

The historic Spray of the Coral Coast is a beautifully-restored, classic 58ft gaff-rigged Huon-pine ketch with a fascinating history of its own. The vessel has the same design as the Spray, which Joshua Slocum skippered in the late 19th century to become the first person to circumnavigate the world singlehanded.

The vessel can cater for 35 passengers, but is restricting numbers to 20 currently, to adhere to its Covid-safety plan.

Launching the new tour operation is Simon Thornalley, who was recently appointed as a Young Indigenous Tourism Leader.  "I am honoured and proud to launch a business that encompasses my passion for culture, as well as maritime history and sailing. Sustainable tourism plays a crucial role in today's society and in the year of Indigenous tourism I am excited to launch Saltwater Eco Tours on the Sunshine Coast." Says Thornalley.


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