Naturaliste Tours is a new tour operator offering guided tours on French Island, Victoria, Australia. French Island is located just 90 minutes from Melbourne, and a 15 minute fast ferry ride from Phillip Island and the Mornington Peninsula.
French Island is a unique destination which many people have never heard of. The island runs completely off the grid with no mains water or electricity, there is virtually no traffic, and famously, Kylie Minogue once owned a holiday home here. The lifestyle is fascinating in itself.
Naturaliste Tours offer small, guided tours with knowledgeable and experienced guides. Travelling the island in a 4WD vehicle through National Parks, forests, historic sites & accessing hidden spots, the guides will share the unspoilt natural beauty & fascinating history of the island as well as allowing time for wildlife encounters. Tours are attracting visitors from both Melbourne and overseas.
Naturaliste Tours is owned and operated by Western Port Ferries, the ferry service to French Island from Stony Point and Cowes, which commenced operation in July 1, 2017.
Western Port Ferries very quickly identified the challenges of getting around French Island, which is some 17,000 hectares and 2/3rds National Park, for passengers disembarking the ferry. Western Port Ferries extensively researched potential opportunities that were not only respectful to the unique, untouched environment and the island residents, but would also enhance the visitor experience and be a viable tourism product.
After much research, which included discussions with key stakeholders such as island residents, community groups, Parks Victoria & key tourism organisations, Naturaliste Tours was launched in December, 2017.
Naturaliste Tours operates the 3 hour Wildlife and History Tour every day and can offer private touring and personalised itineraries. The size of the group is small, only 10 passengers, enabling a more engaging and personal touring experience.
Since beginning operation Naturaliste Tours has moved over 300 passengers, run over 50 industry familiarisations and been included in two day trip itineraries with major tour operator, Bunyip Tours. Media familiarisations have resulted in articles in The Guardian, Time Out, The Weekly Times, Phillip Island Advertiser and The Sentinal.