The Raft: How to Get on Board Perth’s Floating Venue

Perth’s hottest venue has finally docked and is open to the public, five years after the idea was originally first floated.

The Raft permanently dropped anchor in the Swan River at 31°57’40.0″S 115°51’03.2″E and opened its doors to the public in October as Perth’s first permanent floating venue.

Now, Perth has a grand reason to celebrate as the 250-patron capacity venue offers unparalleled views of Perth City, Elizabeth Quay and Kings Park, with private access via The Raft’s tender vessel.

With the finest quality chef-catered event packages for private bookings (Caterer Heyder and Shears are on board to provide the food), as well as playing host to several brand launch parties and ticketed music shows – The Raft will be a must-see for both tourists (when they can come to visit again) and locals.

This new and revolutionary venue that is operating primarily as an event venue for weddings and corporate events, is the brainchild of siblings Dan and Katie Chrystal.

“Unless you’re lucky enough to own a boat or have a nice friend that invites you onto theirs, you can’t access this part of the river,” said Katie Chrystal in an interview with Broadsheet.

The siblings have worked in the hospitality industry for years – Katie in marketing for Bread and Circuses Group (owners of Mrs Browns and Propeller in North Fremantle, among others) and Dan in Melbourne, where he opened Stand-Up Cafe, before selling it to move back to Perth and focus on their new venture.

“Our family business Caterlink [which supplies commercial kitchen equipment] has given us a great foundation into the back end of hospitality, but Dan and I have always worked and been more interested in the front end of the business, the running of events and hospitality venues,” says Katie.

After visiting similar concepts on the east coast, such as Arbory Afloat in Melbourne and The Island in Sydney, they decided to combine their skills and launch The Raft in their hometown.

How do you get there?

To access the open-air venue, guests are transported on the venue’s private 40-person tender vessel (available on request throughout any event) which departs from Barrack St Jetty, in the heart of Perth’s CBD. The boat ride is only five minutes, during which you get to enjoy sweeping views of Perth City and Elizabeth Quay as you are drifted along on the calm waters of the Swan River.

Onboard Experience

Once onboard The Raft, the real experience begins. The Raft is masterfully designed with the Interior designer Gabrielle Scott (Guildhall Event Space, Porch & Parlour) drawing architectural influences from WA’s coastal landscape with a deep-ocean-blue tiled bar and sandy stone benchtops.

She worked closely with design and production studio Remington Matters (who have worked on fit-outs for Panama Social, Tiny’s and Someday Coffee), who added custom-built modular furniture that can be stacked away.

The Raft has a retractable roof and blinds that completely enclose the venue from rain and wind in case of bad weather.

From the spacious, sprawling deck to the hanging vines delicately framing the venue, it’s clear The Raft offers nothing short of a remarkable atmosphere. Expect a cocktail or sit-down menu tailored for every event by caterers Heyder & Shears, focusing on seasonal West Australian produce and a range of beverage packages on offer including local beers and wines from Margaret River and the Perth Hills. Local suppliers include Shark Bay Prawns, The Mushroom Guys and Abrolhos Octopus.

Source: The Raft

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