Our tours will close after Easter

After much deliberation, we’ve made the difficult decision to end our tours after Easter this year.

We bounced back after the fires and the Covid pandemic, but we’ve also endured too many floods and it’s impacted our ability to pay ourselves. Because our turnover has decreased so much, we now don’t qualify for any government small business support. Arthur needs a break from constantly managing our land through the natural disasters that have been so much part of our lives this last 2+ years. And I am looking to find some more consistent work to keep paying the bills.

Are we sad? Kinda. But all good things must come to an end.

Do we have any regrets? Absolutely not. This business has defined me in particular for several years. We’ve met some amazing people, many of whom are now friends who have invited us to visit them all over this country and the world. And we fully intend to do so.

family kayak tour
Beautiful early kayak tour

How it all began….

It was 2013 – I had just resigned as CEO from the wonderful Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre. I needed a new challenge.

So I decided to start small group kayak tours on the river. I was encouraged by some tourism gurus from Tourism Australia. “Give it a go”, they said. “You’ll be great!”, they said.

And so it was – Kiah Wilderness Tours was born. Our world was about to change for the better.”
[Jenny Robb, KWT Owner/Operator]

The gestation period was long and complicated. Sleepless nights, bad choices, better choices, more $ than we planned and voila! KWT was launched in late 2014.

Starting from scratch

I knew nothing about business except this:

  • if you love the product you want to sell – if you believe that it’s worth it, it’s easier to sell; and then surely marketing it will be easier?
  • you need to make more than you spend – or make up for what you’ve spent!

I learnt some pretty vital things very soon including that I wouldn’t make a decent wage for at least three (3) years (!).

But if you plan well, work hard, have a good product or experience, you’ll succeed. And success is a good feeling – we just have to remember to celebrate!

kangaroos near kayaker
early morning sunrise tour

We’ve run out of steam

Since the fires on 4th January 2020, we’ve had nine (yes, 9) floods that have forced us to cancel tours. We’ve had to cancel tours too many times to count since early December last year. Extreme weather conditions – and the probability of more in the future – have forced us to reconsider our future plans. After much deliberation, we’ve decided to list our beautiful property for sale – and we hope another operator will take on our tours so they can also continue.

Proud of our achievements

We’re pretty proud of what we’ve achieved since we started the tours. In that time, we’ve:

  • featured on What’s Up Downunder and Getaway, as well as appearing on ABC News and 7:30, Today Show and Sunrise in the aftermath of the fires;
  • featured in a number of Tourism Australia and Destination NSW campaigns and loads of tourism and travel publications;
  • achieved 130 x 5 star Trip Advisor reviews (4 x 4 star, 1 x 3 star);
  • achieved 47 x 5 star Google Reviews (no scores below 5 star!)

Our review stats reflect our dedication to our guests. We were never happy unless the guests were happy – the customer is #1!

We haven’t had time to count up how many people we’ve had on our kayaks, how many we’ve taught to paddle, how many muffins we’ve made! But it’s a lot.

Thank you

We need to thank our guests, our friends, our colleagues, our supporters – all the people who believed in us, who we’ve engaged with throughout the years. It’s been a roller coaster ride and we have absolutely no regrets.

Kiah Wilderness Tours will remain in our hearts forever.

But now it’s time to move on. We will slowly wind up the autumn tours and we look forward to seeing some younger folk take kayak tours to the next level. We hope to have good news on that front soon so stay tuned.

Meanwhile, from both Arthur and myself – T H A N K   Y O U….all of you. And happy paddling.

Jenny Robb

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