Rocky tour operator takes on the top-end
TONY Davys saw something special in the Central Queensland region to establish his exclusive, high-end touring business here this month.
The experienced tour operator launched Rockhampton Tours and 4WD Training during the Big Boys Toys Expo at the Rockhampton Jockey Club on June 1 and 2.
It was an idea Tony concocted on a trip to Cape York during winter last year where he spoke to friends in Rocky and Advance Rockhampton.
A no-brainer for him, he decided it would be a good opportunity to start a business in the region. And with several qualifications behind him, Tony aims to provide a unique experience for visitors to the region.
So you can take a ride in Tony's Toyota Landcruiser 200 or tag along in your own four-wheel drive where he'll teach you the ins and outs of the vehicle.
"Here the idea will be to pull into one of the hotels, it's safe and incredibly capable,” he said.
Tony's long list of credentials includes a Bachelor of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, a Masters degree in Applied Science (specialising in wildlife management) and a Certificate Four in Training and Assessment (specialising in four-wheel driving).
"I see a gap here in the Rockhampton area for training corporate groups as well as private individuals,” he said.
"A lot of people have a four-wheel drive vehicle but they don't understand how it operates.”
A self-proclaimed outdoors person, Tony has made it his mission to show the wilder side of life through remote, nature-based tours.
"It's allowing visitors from outside the region or overseas to see remote locations and have those wildlife experiences,” he said.
"I can take between one and four people, there's a lot of places you can't go in a normal car.
"All four-wheel drives are different, some have buttons, others have levers, traction control,” he said.
And no terrain is off limits.
"People who haven't driven on sand before get the experience of the safety net but they are also given tuition as we go,” he said.
Tony's business mind has concocted many plans for longer trips such as a week-long loop of Queensland, from the reef to cattle country, desert and gulf country.
"The idea is to build an enduring business and employ people and become a tour operator that people want to come to, there's something special about this area it has inspired me to want to move here and set up a business,” he said.
For the past four years, Tony had been employed by New South Wales-based company, Great Divide Tours.
"They had sent me down near Canberra where I trained lots of mums and dads, so on a weekend four of us might train 30 people,” he said.
"They'd come for the weekend, bring their own vehicles we taught them how to drive their four-wheel drive vehicles.”
Before he worked for Great Divide Tours, Tony had come from Christchurch, New Zealand where he owned a four-wheel drive hire company for eight years.
But earthquakes weren't good for business so he and his wife, Helen packed up and moved to Australia.
Rockhampton Regional Council mayor, Margaret Strelow is thrilled by the new business.
"This is a new tourism offering that will showcase parts of our rugged but beautiful surrounds that locals and visitors may have never seen before,” Cr Strelow said.
"And it's ideas like this that we are so keen to support and see get up off the ground because it's helping unlock our region's potential.”
Contact Tony Davys on 0475467402.