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The Best Work Party Ever!

Christmas-party-castle-bay

I always try to make our Christmas work party a memorable, enjoyable occasion where our staff and their partners can relax and let their hair down. After hearing great reports about this new jet boating company Jet Adventures and reading some of their fantastic reviews on Trip Advisor I decided we might try something a little more adventurous this year and see what they may be able to offer us.

We have just five staff and their partners to cater for plus my husband and I so with twelve of us in total our numbers worked out the a perfect size for a private tour aboard their boat Exhilarator. I spoke with Skipper and owner Pete about the trip and he suggested a wilderness cruise/thrill ride mix if we had an adventurous group and promised a fantastic day for us.

The Exhilarator at the Old Dunsborough Jetty

The Boat is easy to board from the Old Dunsborough Jetty

We usually book a fancy lunch at one of the local wineries or an amazing dinner at one of the excellent restaurants around Dunsborough so this is a bit of a change from the norm with a two and a half hour jet boating experience followed by a barbeque at the beautiful Old Dunsborough foreshore. This is an amazing location for a party where the grassy banks and shady trees go just about to the waterline and the granite outcrops on the coastline make this one the most interesting bays in the area. Everyone is going to love this work party!

Getting our work party under way

It was a warm and clear early Summers day and the ocean looked calm when we meet Pete down at the Old Dunsborough jetty just before 11am. We step aboard the Exhilarator, none of us quite knowing what to expect. Pete had assured us earlier just bring ourselves and the bare essentials and he would take care of the rest so we just bought a couple of small backpacks between us. After some safety instructions and donning our lifejackets Pete gave us a rundown of our tour and what to lookout for, it’s sounding great!

Cormorants soaking up some rays

Cormorants like to roost on Gannet rock

 

After slowly motoring to deeper water Pete opens up the Exhilarator,  the power of this boat is so exciting! In an instant we are travelling at high speed, I can feel the breeze blowing through my hair as I look around and see the smiles on everyone’s faces. This is going to be a great day!

Pete gradually drops the speed as we come in close to Castle Rock and the adjacent bays. The water is so crystal clear it looks like something from a magazine. The anchor is dropped in shallow water and Pete suggests this is a fantastic bay for a quick swim if anyone is keen. It’s a hot day so we all take up the offer as it’s not everyday you can swim in a spot as beautiful as this. The Exhilarator is perfectly setup for swimming with a easy to board ladder at the back and side rails to jump off the boat.

Swimming at Castle Rock Dunsborough

Swimming at Castle Rock is a highlight of the Jet Boat Tours

Drinks and dolphins

After a refreshing dip we all feel it’s time to open the bar. Eagle Bay brewery beers and Flametree white wines and Madfish sparkling  has been provided for us as part of the tour so we decided to crack a sparkling to start with and pass some glasses around. Pete gives us some interesting history about the Castle Bay Whaling Station and passes around a huge whale tooth to everyone to have a look at while we’re enjoying a morning champagne.  We’ll have to come back in season for a whale-watching tour! After chilling out in the bay for a while it’s time to explore some more so Pete puts his foot down and we race along the beautiful coastline.

Next stop is up at Rocky Point and almost immediately upon slowing we are greeted by a pod of dolphins who seemed to have been waiting for our arrival. They swim back and forth across the bow and are enjoying our company just as much as we are enjoying theirs. Even though the Exhilarator is a small boat it doesn’t feel crowded and we can all move around the boat easily and enjoy the dolphins whilst we enjoy some drinks and fresh snacks Pete is passing around. The coastline around Rocky Point is amazing as the waves crash into the stunning coastline here. There are a few rock fisherman on the coast also enjoying the glorious day as we spot a large school of fish making there way into Bunker Bay with us in tow. No wonder the dolphins love this place so much!

Cruising with the dolphins

The dolphins love the crystal clear waters of Bunker bay

Limestone stalactites up close

Bunker Bay is an unbelievably stunning beach! We can see the beautiful Pullman Bunker Bay Resort tucked away in the sand dunes. The clean white sands against the turquoise blue waters with the bright orange granite in the corner of the bay making this as picturesque coastline as you could find anywhere. What really strikes me is such a beautiful beach has just a handful of people on it, this really is paradise. Gazing up at the headland in front I can see the Cape Naturaliste lighthouse perched high on the hill as Pete points out the quarry below from where the limestone was sourced when it was built back in 1903. It must have been a hell of a job just getting the rocks to site in those early days! After making sure we all had a drink it’s time to keep moving out towards the cape with the promise of Fur Seals not far away.

As we rounded the final headland before the cape we spotted some fascinating caves in the cliffs. We got the boat right in close to shore and could see the limestone stalactites up close, these caves must have some amazing shells in them as this coastline looks totally unexplored. We travel a little further towards a small island and see some Fur Seals clambering over the rocks and swimming in the water, there must be over one hundred here! We tuck up close to the island as a couple of cheeky seals swim straight over to the boat to say hello, their faces look more like that of a friendly dog, they are very cute but wow they do pong a bit up close! After hanging out with the seals for a while it was time to head out around  Cape Naturaliste and view a rather large rock known as Sugarloaf.

NZ fur seals are very friendly

Fur Seals have their own patch of paradise near Cape Naturaliste

As we rounded Cape Naturaliste I started to get a sense of just how remote this place is. Looking both directions from the tip of the cape there is no sign of civilisation, just crystal clear beaches and stunning rocky outcrops with big swells crashing into them. A few surfers are dotted along this remote coastline as we make our way up towards Sugarloaf Rock, it’s hard to tell how the surfers even got here, there’s no sign of any cars just a remote rugged wilderness. As we approach Sugarloaf  Rock you get an idea just how big it is up close, Pete tells us it rises over 60 metres out of the ocean, the formations and colours of the rock are truly astounding! We enter through a narrow channel  between the rocks into a sheltered lagoon and stare up in amazement, I’ve been getting some great pictures all day but these could be the best yet. We start to make our way back towards the Cape but a pod of dolphins cut us off, I don’t think they want us to leave!

Sugarloaf Rock is a beautiful destination for a work party

Sugarloaf rock is enormous up close!

 

The ride back was thrilling!

The boat trip back is fast and exciting, a few people choose to stand up front and be Exhilarated by the speed but I was happy sitting back enjoying the music as we cruised back towards Dunsborough. Pete pulls the boat up at Castle Rock and starts preparing  the boat for the thrill ride part of the trip which I’d  completely forgotten about I was having so much fun. Eski’s are packed away, drinks are finished and seat belts are clipped in, this is getting serious. Pete explains some signals to us and tells us to hang on as my heart starts racing in anticipation. Some high tempo AC/DC starts playing and we’re away, I realize the boat was only running at half power before as we are now hitting some serious speed!

Cruising on the Exhilarator

The Exhilarator has some serious speed!

We zoom past the coast so quickly everything becomes a blur, the boat is sliding through the water effortlessly only it’s sliding sideways not forwards. This is an amazing piece of machinery and the screams for all around tells me everyone’s having a ball. Pete signals a spin is coming up so we all brace ourselves not knowing quite what to expect. The boat slingshots around so quickly we are facing the opposite direction in an instant as the screams of delight indicate everyone wants more! We raced around the bay some more loving every minute of it with yahoos and screams before easing back to an idle as we closed in on Old Dunsborough jetty. This signals our fantastic tour is coming to an end as Pete turns and thanks us for booking with Jet Adventures as we all offer our applause in recognition of an unbelievably awesome day!

We bid farewells to Pete as we start setting up our BBQ by the ocean. It has been an such a good day on the boat and no one can stop talking about it. We’ve had many Christmas parties in the past and usually spent a lot more money but never has anything compared to this! It was so good I reckon everyone would be happy to do it again next year too! What a party!

Thanks Jet Adventures

By Rebecca