One of the nation's most luxurious tourism offerings: The adventure ship True North. Photo: North Star Cruises Australia
Imagine wallowing in the crystal-clear waters of a billabong while slurping on a fresh local mango before a gourmet barbecue beside a private waterfall in one of the nation's most remote, pristine locales. On the menu, freshly caught reef fish, local king prawns and squid as well as barbecue staples such as beef or pork from Margaret River.
To top it off, you've arrived at this lunch by helicopter after being flown from one of the nation's most luxurious tourism offerings – the adventure ship True North.
Home-town produce highlights include delicious mangrove jack and fingermark bream, seasonal yellow-fin tuna and Yeeda estate beef.
Managing director Craig Howson says the food and foraging experience is one of the highlights of the True North experience.
Local produce from Australia's north. Photo: North Star Cruises Australia
The picnic involves finding a secluded area accessible only by helicopter, he says.
"It's chosen purely on beauty and the crew head up early to erect an exclusive one-day-only picnic spot with shade sails and a bar serving ice-cold local craft beers and Australian wines," Howson says.
"We create the ultimate gourmet barbecue in one of the world's most beautiful natural landscapes."
Photo: North Star Cruises Australia
One of the great attractions of True North is much of the cuisine served on board is caught and served by the guests.
"We keep guests pretty busy and there's a variety of daily activities available," Howson says. "With a maximum of 36 guests on board, we head out in small groups aboard our expedition boats on fishing and sightseeing tours with our naturalists."
Head chef and Vue de Monde alumni Nik Flak leads interested guests on foraging expeditions where they can eat black-lipped oysters freshly wrested from their rocky home, or fish for barramundi, mangrove jack and mud crab, which is then cooked on a secluded beach at sunset.
On board, guests can continue to gorge themselves on this freshly caught bounty including Spanish mackerel sashimi while sipping champagne.
"Our fantastic chefs prepare a set menu every day depending on the seasonal produce available and obviously the day's catch as well," Howson says.
All of this is done in pure, unadulterated luxury. A level of luxury Howson maintains by spending more than $1 million annually on refitting.
"It's virtually a new ship every season," he says.
"And what we've created is one of those rare experiences where a group of strangers come together, share their stories daily and forge friendships forever."
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