Finger on the Pulse
The CaPTA Group
278 Hartley St, Bungalow
Ph: 4035 3555
Words by Janie Barton
No two days are ever the same for Pip Woodward, co-founder and Director of Cairns and Port Douglas Trips and Attractions (CaPTA).
CaPTA encompasses a range of businesses including Rainforestaton Nature Park, Tropic Wings Coach Tours, Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, Cairns ZOOM & Wildlife Dome, Jungle Tours & Trekking, the Careers Training Centre and ABC Sales & Maintenance.
While Pip has a staff of 300 to work in the enterprises, including her three sons who are in management roles and are also company directors, she keeps her finger on the pulse of them all, spending her time and energy across the board.
Pip and her late husband Charles are widely known as the pioneers of tourism in Far North Queensland. They met when he was visiting London, where she lived and worked as a nurse. They married there and then came to Cairns.
“I hadn’t been to Cairns before,” she said. “But when you fall in love you go to the ends of the earth for someone! Charlie wanted to return home to Cairns, and I never thought twice about making the move here with him.”
They began their venture into tourism in 1976 with the opening of Rainforestation Nature Park.
“We started in a very small way with very little,” Pip said. “We did everything ourselves and even roped the kids in, getting them to fold napkins and little jobs like that.”
Charles and Pip were also instrumental in the launch of the Committee for Oncology Unit at Cairns Hospital (COUCH) in 2006, the establishment of the Liz Plummer Cancer Care Centre and now the building of the Wellness Centre, which has commenced this month.
Pip credits Charles with her motivation and her drive to keep the tourism industry thriving in the region.
“He was a truly inspirational person and was so passionate about Far North Queensland that it just rubbed off on me,” she said. “While I’m from the UK, I would never go back to live there. I just love living here.”