Sam Davis

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Quirky duck boat waddles into Cairns

Duck About Tours are lapping up tourists in their first week in Cairns.


Sold out tours in its first week in tropical north Queensland are a sign the 'duck boat' is here to stay.

Previously based in Darwin, Duck About Tours has relocated to Cairns, taking passengers by land and sea to some of the city's famed landmarks and stunning destinations.

But Duck About co-director Paul Appleton says the star of the tour is still 'Reggie', the 1964 military vehicle capable of travelling on land and water. 

“This is our original vessel that we started the business with about eight years ago. It’s been extensively modified,” Mr Appleton says.

“They’re pretty unique. Basically, you’re on a bus then all of a sudden you just plunge into the water.

“I’ve been on it hundreds of times. But every time it enters the water I think ‘Hooo!’”

Mr Appleton says a lack of tourists in drove the business out of Darwin.

“Over the years we found the numbers were dropping off,” he says.

“We investigated other locations and contacted Cairns Regional Council.

“They were very positive about what we could offer the city.

“Now people can do a sight-seeing tour and a harbour tour within the city limits.

“We cater for one-year olds right through to people aged in their 90s. We talk about Cairns, its history and the duck boat.”

Cairns now joins international tourism capitals like Boston, Seattle, London, Honolulu and Dublin as home to a duck boat tour company.