Wednesday 9 February 2011

Kiwi sings Port's praises


We can try and pump up our own tires, but there's nothing more effective in promoting our region than the word of mouth from people who come here. Here's a nice bit of feedback that was sent in from a recent visitor to our town.

I visited Port Douglas and Cairns as a tourist with my family from NZ (seven of us including Jonah Lomu look-alike) between 26 January and 4 February and wanted to thank so many people during our visit during Cyclone Yasi.
First of all to Anne from the Freestyle Resort Port Douglas whose hospitality was absolutely fantastic. To Coles Supermarket in Port Douglas for their friendly service and contacting the two taxis in Port Douglas to get us home with our groceries (thanks for the free prawn testing too. They were absolutely yummy).

The Quicksilver staff for assisting me with the trip to the Great Barrier Reef (not a great traveller, but great after the most amazing dive ever). The “bro” in their team from the Mount NZ whose sense of humour kept us amused and his lovely girlfriend for putting up with him.

The wonderful young Indian woman at a Port Douglas pharmacy  who assisted me with my “woman problems” to seek medical assistance when I thought I would not be able to see the reef and to Stephen the doctor at the local Mossman Medical Centre.

To the wonderful pom David who took us to the Downunder Tour – Kuranda Village who took great care of us .By the way I think the All Blacks might have it in the bag for the World Cup Rugby. They’ll have more supporters!!
The one person who stood out for me was “Max ” from Sun Palm Express Coaches. When we arrived to Cairns Domestic Airport, he picked us up and brought us to Port Douglas giving us a tour of where the local beaches were, shops etc and the bats!!!

From Tuesday 1 February ,we received an automated message about Cyclone Yasi in our motel and we were asked to evacuate asap. The last shuttle bus would not be leaving until 2.45am Wednesday morning 2 February to Cairns Airport.

At the time our Virgin Blue flights were still going as far as we knew. When we arrived at the Cairns Domestic Airport, the only people there were Virgin Blue Staff who were frantically trying to deal with a disaster situation. No government officials, no seniors, no interpreters, nobody there to assist them.

The Virgin Blue officer told us our flight had been cancelled, the next one leaving on Saturday. We could have a blanket out of her car and we were given a list of the evacuation centres which would not have been appropriate for us , given that many locals would have needed somewhere to stay.

My sister and her family turn up with Max as they are turned away from the International Airport by security guards. Max then piles us back onto his shuttle bus at some crazy hour, drops off a couple of ladies in town and slowly makes his way back past the 24 hour serviced motels, one of which we are able to seek accommodation.

He asks us if we are going to be ok. Max, I think you deserve some kind of award. Something must keep you grounded, because to you it was just another day at the office and I think because of your mannerism I had nothing to worry about. We were not left stranded with children.That is outstanding customer service in a situation that had not quite arrived yet.
Amid lockdown, no power, some felling trees and torrential rain we were the lucky ones thanks to Max .
Thank you everyone for your kindness and hospitality. No wonder it is such a big deal to come here. Not only does it hold a secret wonder of our world, but it has the friendliness to go with it.

Kuini Rutherford - NZ