From the Bush to Boat to the Beach and Back!!! A blog by Mark Raff…
I was raised on a large, rugged sheep and cattle station in Winton Central Queensland, Australia. Our family property was 80,000 acres and we had 30,000 sheep (including some sheepish mates when it came to work haha), 4000 cattle as well as hundreds of wild horses, wild pigs, dogs and kangaroos roaming freely. We also had the rare privilege of seeing the amazing skills-manship of several aboriginal stockmen working on our property.
EARLY MORNING’S 4am starts, even at a very young age weren’t as hard as it sounds, as I would go with the men (workers) while they mustered sheep for sheering, mended fences, and delved bore drains which meant I was developing and fine-tuning hands on life-skills. I believe my work ethic today comes from the rugged upbringing and early 4am starts I had when raised on this large property. The property was 40 miles from Winton on mainly a dirt road in those days. It took 20 minutes’ drive before we closed the fifth gate on the property on the way to the outback town of Winton. SCHOOLING For schooling I had a governess on the property and I was the only one in the class (no blaming others for silly jokes unfortunately). I also had a few hours each week doing ‘School of the Air’ where we spoke into a microphone to a teacher 1000 miles away. THE HARD TIMES The most difficult period was through a drought when we had to hand feed stock. We would drive a 4WD in the large paddocks to feed the starving sheep, consisting of corns, grain and molasses rollers (I was guilty of occasionally sticking my fingers in to taste this liquid gold molasses) much to the sheer shock of livestock wanting my share.
LIFE CHANGES During my marriage, many career changes and having raised two lovely children on the Gold Coast I started to realise I needed to enhance my quality of life, quality of living with a good life! I found myself working on a business plan to start a boat charter business on the Gold Coast while volunteering for the marine rescue. Hence the title “From the Bush to Boat to the Beach and Back!!! A blog my Mark Raff… I studied while volunteering within the marine rescue and gained my commercial boat licence.
The business I named Cruise Gold Coast Pty Ltd and found the perfect boat called ‘Life’s Good’, a 40ft luxury power catamaran. Here I am now writing one of my first blogs, with a successful, exciting and highly customer service focused business living the good life. Encompassing meeting many amazing and very interesting people from all walks of life from over the world. LIFE GOALS Our mission statement at Cruise Gold Coast Pty Ltd reads, “On our Luxury catamaran, we will strive to give our passengers a high level of quality and professional service that will exceed their expectations”. On Life’s Good we provide a private & luxurious cruise experience within the Gold Coast waterways & off-shore! We aim to deliver to all our customers, long-lasting memories consisting of fun, adventure, comfort, relaxation and a sense of enjoyment. EVOLUTION This business began after I had sold my 50 percent share in a financial planning business in a career that stretched 10 years.
I had completed a Diploma of Financial Planning and also held the highest ranking as a Certified Financial Planner before I started the business. This business was also very highly customer focused and it was unique as it was ‘fee for advise’ as no investment commissions were held by the business. THE EARLY YEAR’S Going back further in life after spending my secondary schooling at a boarding school, I completed a diesel Fitter’s apprenticeship. There were many hard years in outback Queensland working on heavy earthmoving equipment after my apprenticeship, maybe triggering my later in life move to the more casual lifestyle of working on the beautiful Gold Coast. During my younger year’s I acted in several small melodrama plays in a town called Roma, where I spent several years applying my trade. I was very active and diverse, having also modelled in several large-scale fashion parade productions, played Rugby Union for the Echidnas and represented South West Queensland playing the position as breakaway. Prior to this I worked in positions including Area Sales, Marketing and Branch Manager at large national organisations, Ampol now Caltex, ACI Insulation and CSR building Materials. I had completed a double degree in Business and Marketing studying part-time during this time. THE NOW So, here I am now the owner of a luxurious boat charter business, Cruise Gold Coast Pty Ltd.
Working away on the sunny Gold Coast and the boat being moored at the beautiful Marina Mirage, ‘Life is Good’! In our business I strive to give all our passengers the most amazing experience they can have whilst on a catamaran cruising within the Gold Coast Waterways and off-shore. This is of course all whilst I myself, try to enjoy life and slowly learn the intricacies of “Blogging”, “Social Media”, “Influencers” and “Hashtagging” (all country talk, I think not) just to name a few. LIFE’S GOOD It is not all “plane sailing” as I have a business to run, whilst always focusing on passenger safety and trying to exceed our passenger’s experiences on the water. Our motto is – Cruise Gold Coast aboard Life’s Good, ‘We Are All In The Same Boat’. We welcome you aboard and hope you’ve enjoyed a day in the life of a boy from the Bush who now works near the Beach.