Astute hotel investor and founder of Virgin Australia, Brett Godfrey, has purchased the Tasmanian Walking Company, which includes the Cradle Mountain Huts Walk and Bay of Fires Lodge Walk.
Godfrey acquired the company with fellow Virgin Australia co-founder Rob Sherrard from Gresham Private Equity.
The new owners now partner and control a stable of tourism assets including Quamby Estate, Low Head and Lake House in Tasmania and in conjunction with Sir Richard Branson, Makepeace Island in Queensland.
The new owners have significant industry proficiency and a desire to utilise this business as the base to further promote Australian environmental experiences.
The Tasmanian Walking Company was established in 1987 and offers two unique and award winning experiential eco-tourism operations. The distinctive Cradle Mountain Huts Walk is the first of its kind with private hut accommodation erected along the Overland Track, which makes the company the only commercial operator entrusted with providing accommodation in the Tasmanian World Heritage Area.
“We’ve always known that people visit Australia to experience our unique and pristine environment,” Godfrey told HM. “What recent Tourism Australia research has confirmed is that the quality of our food including the security of source are increasingly motivators of inbound travel.
“Not only do I believe Tasmania ticks these boxes in abundance but is beautifully positioned to play in this space.
“Tasmania’s isolation has long been a cause for concern for the local tourism operators, going forward it could well turn out to be our best asset,” he said.
Cradle Mountain Huts Walk and Bay of Fires Lodge Walk are two of the seven recognised ‘Great Walks of Australia’ experiences.
“Rob and I have spent a great deal of our corporate careers building or developing tourism assets that we’ve felt particularly passionate about,” Godfrey said. “The Tasmanian Walking Company, has a proud history, is industry leading and has an incomparable offering that we hope will continue to raise the profile and quality of guided walks available in Australia.
“The culture was key in our desire to invest. It is a very well managed business with successful environmental practices and staffed by passionate and motivated people which underpins this world class product.”
The move comes nearly 18 months after the owners re-opening of the historically significant Quamby Estate, with the base camp for the Tasmanian Walking Company located on the hotel’s property.
The purchase will further strengthen Quamby Estate’s competitive position as the preferred hotel for walkers of Cradle Mountain Huts Walk and Bay of Fires Lodge Walk. Walkers will be able to spend the night at luxurious Quamby Estate, wake to the call of the wilderness, breakfast at leisure before strolling just 100 metres to the walkers’ base.
“We continue to believe that Tasmania exhibits strong potential as a world-class environmental tourism destination,” Sherrard said.
“Tasmania is such a wonderful state that offers a multitude of extraordinary travel experiences and we are delighted about this new venture, which represents the perfect addition to our existing portfolio of hotel properties.”