A Magnetic Island small business is making big waves as a world leader in the tourism industry after being recognised for giving tourists a first-class North Queensland experience.
Aquascene Charters Magnetic Island have been in operation for 17 years with owners Steph and Adam Hinks starting the business to share their love of Magnetic Island with others and to raise their young family together.
The high school sweethearts operate Aquascene 2 – a 24 seat boat offering their guests a variety of different tour options to explore Magnetic Island’s beautiful beaches and secluded bays, as well as the shipwreck SS City of Adelaide.
Steph says the family business had grown organically from sharing the love of their island home.
“We have always been based here and growing up here, you become a tour guide from a young age and as a kid you have your family visit, so you are always showing people where you live,” she says.
“At the heart of what we have done, is our love for where we live and sharing this with others, it has come very naturally for us.”
Adam is also the proud skipper of Aquascene 2 and says the tours were about igniting a spark for the purity, history and wildlife of the region.
“You can show people the island, but we always wanted people to feel connected and to feel how we live here,” he says.
“It is different from showing people because people will remember a connection.”
Last September, Tripadvisor named Aquascene Charters Magnetic Island as number 7 out of 10 in the world for “Best Experiences To Do” in 2021.
The award ranking is calculated by the number of positive reviews an experience receives on Tripadvisor.
Both Adam and Steph say they thought the win was “a fake email joke” when they received the exciting news.
They say the international accolade was also contributed to living in a beautiful part of the world.
“Personally, what we do know is, it means it’s not just the tour; it is also the destination and it lets the world know that Magnetic Island is a beautiful place,” Adam says.
“It is a profession and we have been doing it a while, but you don’t get that ranking unless it is a beautiful destination.”
Adding another feather to their hat was the recent recognition at the North Queensland Tourism Awards held at The Ville in October.
Steph and Adam were announced as the winners of the Richard Power Award for Outstanding Contribution to tourism over many years.
The award highlights some of North Queensland’s best tourist attractions, operators, experiences and events.
“No way would we think we would even have a chance to win this, just to be nominated was an honour,” says Steph.
“This one means a lot because I think to be recognised in the legacy and footsteps of a great man like Richard Power for your contribution to an industry he was so passionate about, to me, that is a pretty humbling thing and we were both in tears on the stage that night.”
By Elisabeth Silvester.
Photography credit: Townsville Enterprise – Cleo Cohen.