Biggest Ferry Launched by Tourism Minister in Docklands

The newly refurbished MV Queenscliff, the pride of the Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry fleet, has launched officially at Waterfront City, Docklands by The Hon Louise Asher, Minister for Tourism and Major Events, and the crew from Searoad Ferries. This official event followed on from a successful free public event that saw a whopping 20,000 people alight the vessel to get their first glimpse of the ferry's retro-inspired new interior. The vessel also broke a record for being the biggest vessel to have moored in the Docklands since the area was transformed into a residential precinct in the 1990s.

At the official launch event, guests including media, members of the tourism industry and friends of the ferry, celebrated the vessel's shining new fit-out with a perfect Melbourne spring day, a glass of Victorian sparkling wine and an afternoon high tea in the new lounge.

"I was delighted to re-launch the upgraded MV Queenscliff. The MV Queenscliff is an important tourism infrastructure and has been for some time as it links Mornington Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road, showcasing the Bay. I think it's a wonderful addition to the tourism product we have in Victoria. The upgrade is outstanding and I'm particularly interested in the High Tea on the High Seas event - it's a great concept!" said The Hon. Louise Asher MP.

The new ferry is unlike any other ferry in Australia, creating a new, world-class tourism entity. The refurbishment sees a new lounge with super comfortable chairs and full 360-degree views. It provides a haven for relaxing and reading the complimentary newspapers, whilst the kids can enjoy a dedicated children's playground. A new on-board café led by well-known local chef Ken Wall has been built and offers a grazing menu with drinks and produce sourced from neighbouring regions. And of course, excellent coffee from a qualified barista is a mandatory addition.

The refurbishment of the 18-year old signals a change in direction for the newly re-branded Searoad Ferries business. Operating since 1987, it is Australia's busiest car and passenger route, with over 700,000 passengers transported per annum. It generates some $130 million in revenue for the local economy and is a primary cog in the whole region's tourism experience. Searoad Ferries links the Great Ocean Road, The Bellarine, Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island and Wilsons Promontory, providing a unique, continuous coastal tourism experience in a four-hour journey that has become one of Victoria's most popular touring routes.

Driving these changes and responsible for creating a new vision for Searoad Ferries is the brand new captain of the business, General Manager and CEO, Matt McDonald. Aged just 29, Matt is a veteran of the high seas. A qualified scuba diver, marine biologist and ship's captain, he decided early on to commit to his love of the sea and has clocked up some 50,000 nautical miles, the equivalent to sailing twice around the world. He has circumnavigated Tassie in a tall ship and toured pleasure craft around some of the world's most picturesque and sun-kissed spots. His most recent role was captain and manager of the luxury yacht Platinum. A 140ft vessel, it plied Australia and the South Pacific, creating an absolute luxury cruising experience attracting superstar passengers the likes of Robbie Williams and Lily Allen.

"We were thrilled that Minister Asher could join us again today to relaunch the new-look MV Queenscliff. Judging from the number of people that came to visit her yesterday and their glowing reviews I'm sure she will have a very warm welcome when she gets home. A world-class experience awaits travellers on the MV Queenscliff and we're looking forward to welcoming people onboard. Searoad Ferries is now truly about the journey, and not just the destination," said Matt.

The new-look MV Queenscliff made her way back to Queesncliff yesterday afternoon to recommence her regular route from Queenscliff to Sorrento return.

Searoad Ferries, 1 Wharf St Queenscliff, Victoria 3225

T: 03 5258 3244 | E: | W: | Twitter & Facebook: Searoad Ferries

Searoad Ferries operates in all weather, seven days a week, 365 days a year, on the hour, every hour from 7am until 6pmfrom both Queenscliff and Sorrento. An extra service at 7pm is available from 26 December 2011 until 9 April 2012. For fares visit

Upcoming onboard events:

High Tea On The High Seas - the last Sunday of each month (excl Dec and Jan):

Be served High Tea in the privacy of the Portsea Lounge on board the Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry. Indulge in an afternoon tea of exquisite cakes and desserts, finger sandwiches, espresso coffee, freshly brewed tea or sparkling wine and watch the spectacular coastal scenery slide past. Cost: $35.


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