The Bay of Islands’ sole dinner cruise provider has been placed on the market for sale, offering hospitality-minded entrepreneurs the opportunity to capitalise on the increasing popularity of cruises.
After 20 years of operation, the family run business, ‘Darryl’s Dinner Cruise’ is being marketed by Bayleys, with a price by negotiation.
Sales agent Meredith Graham says the business “presents a uniquely Bay of Islands tourism venture, with plenty of potential to expand on the established reputation and client base.”
Offered for sale as a freehold going concern, the business centers around the purpose-built floating venue named ‘Ratanui’ which measures 16.5 metres in length and has capacity for 55 passengers.
The business offers clients a sea-bound dining experience, and is currently the only commercial boat charter which takes guests to the famed Haruru Falls – a rare horseshoe shaped waterfall billed as one of the town’s biggest scenic attractions, and New Zealand’s first inland river port.
A spot on-board a cruise currently costs between $68-$98 for adults, $25-$35 for children under 15, and those under five admitted for free.
Business owners Darryl and Shelley Honey recommend guests allow up to two-and-a-half hours for the return journey, saying that the historic backdrop and bird-life offer a very special dining experience.
Qualmark recognised, the cruise serves dinner in two courses whilst sailing up the Waitangi River, and showcases some true Kiwi delicacies including mussels, fresh fish and New Zealand lamb. The business currently holds a four-and-a-half out of five-star rating for its services on respected tourism website tripadvisor.com
While the twilight dinner cruise remains the first service offered by Darryl’s, to meet growing demand, lunch sailings and bespoke event packages were added to the menu, and have proven popular with touring wedding parties, office groups and local Christmas parties.
Comprising 144 different islands, the Bay of Islands are some of the busiest waterways in New Zealand, playing host to a constant stream of cruise ships.
Reportedly the fastest growing sector of tourism, business in New Zealand’s cruise sector has doubled over the past five years, with an estimated $543 million dollars of economic value generated for the country.
Paihia alone, widely regarded as ‘the jewel of the Bay of Islands’, is expecting 60 major vessels for the 2016-2017 season – totaling in excess of 90,000 individual visitors.
“Darryl’s is positioned well to benefit from the tremendous growth potential of the cruise industry” Ms Graham said, “with current key contracts that include inbound tour operators such as Grandpacific Tours, Leisure Time Tours/Riviera, Scenic Tours, Kirra Holidays and Flight centre to name only a few.”
Ms Graham added, “strong international affiliations have resulted from attendance at nine conferences run by the Tourism Industry Association of New Zealand (TIA), and the possibility of adding further providers to the schedule this year would result in significant upturn in business.”
“Business is manic while cruise liners are in town, as Darryl’s manages back-to-back bookings for visitors looking to enjoy the history, scenery and wildlife of Paihia in the relaxed cruise environment.”
“As the only dinner cruise provider in Paihia, the business has enjoyed a monopoly on the sector, and with expansion planned for the area through developments like the new ‘Te Kongahu’ Waitangi Museum and the ‘Tai Tokerau’ Queenstown Resort College tourism training facility.”
Ms Graham sees that there is potential to expand the fleet and capitilise on the growing number of touring groups visiting Paihia’s shores for yacht races, sporting events, food and wine festivals.