Long ago renowned for its Penguin Parade, Phillip Island is a destination for visitors far and wide, many of whom trek from all parts of the globe to catch a glimpse of the seabirds returning home from the ocean.
The event is quite the attraction for families around Australia and even the whole world.
This has been the case since it began in the 1920s when residents Bert West, Bern Denham and Bert Watchorn opened Summerland Beach for the first organised viewings of the penguins.
Located 142 kilometres south of Melbourne (or a two-hour drive), Phillip Island is a common destination place with over 101km2 of land to explore. In addition to the penguins, Phillip Island Nature Parks offers a range of ecotourism experiences such as the Koala Conservation Reserve, Churchill Island and Nobbies Centre.
New Wave Concreting, a local business, was responsible for much of the concrete work at these locations over the last 20 years. For the Penguin Parade specifically it carried out all of the original concreting on the exterior walkways, external concrete areas and walkways down to the main building where tourists watch the penguins come in.
It also completed the concreting for the Wildlife Clinic which included concrete slabs, external paving and the pools and wash bays for the penguins in recovery.
With a highly experienced team of professionals with over 27 years of experience in the field, the company specialises primarily in decorative concreting with exposed aggregate and pebble mix, as well as concrete cutting, steps and crossovers.
“We’re definitely the busiest concreters in the Bass Coast region doing decorative concreting,” says Luke Hinrichs, New Wave Concreting Managing Director.
“We are a really good crew made of young family men who run the show while I organise things, which tends to work pretty well. It’s a little bit different to most concreters, especially in this area, that do a little bit of everything. We specialise in the decorative side of things with a wide range of pattern and stencil paving options.”
Pathways in the Nobbies area hug various clifftops providing the public with spectacular views. These were, along with the entryways and bus stop areas at Koala Park and the Churchill Island Heritage Farm, also built by Luke’s team.
The farm itself, covering 57 hectares of Phillip Island, is one of Victoria’s oldest-functioning farms. It dates back to 1872.
A range of activities are offered here, including wagon rides, cow milking, sheep shearing and whip cracking, along with a farmers’ market that features over 40 stalls selling local produce from the Gippsland region.
New Wave Concreting’s next big project, Luke says, is the community centre being built in Cowes which will require up to 600m2 of exposed aggregate.
Aside from these jobs, the team plays a part in a series of community work as well by being involved with all of the local golf clubs in San Remo and Cowes and sponsoring the local football clubs.
To establish New Wave Concreting and make its services available to Phillip Island in 2000, Luke purchased his first truck, a second-hand Isuzu, which is now over 20 years old.
Although he sold it to another local concreter at a later date, it is still running today. This, Luke says, has cemented, you might say, his trust in Isuzu.
“That’s still on the road and it would have to have a million kilometres on it by now,” he says.
Following the performance this vehicle demonstrated, Luke bought a tool truck from Isuzu which he still runs daily.
“Originally I just felt that their salesman down there, Matt Evans, was very easy to deal with,” he says. “When I first started thinking about getting a tool truck, I’d already looked at two other places, but I was very happy with his professionalism and sales tactics.”
Luke signed up for the truck on the first day he looked at it. When the opportunity presented itself for another vehicle, he knew who to call.
“As soon as the time came for another one, I honestly didn’t look anywhere else,” he says.
“I was that happy with his customer service. He just told me how it is, what he had available, what he could get and when it would arrive. Everything he said he would do, he did. I’ve recommended him to other people as well, and they’ve all said the same thing. They were really happy with the result — I’ve had mates buy similar trucks with the exact same story.”
The new Isuzu, a 2022 FRR Tipper, is mainly operated by Luke. Compared to the fleet’s previous units, it’s much bigger, bringing noticeable improvements to productivity.
“It has really helped with how much work we can get done in a week, as the dig outs have halved in time,” Luke says. “It’s far more useful having that slightly bigger truck. So, it’s really sped up dig out times and has allowed us to get more done each week.”
The most important feature Luke found on the Tipper was its size. Before purchasing it, he says, he had no idea of how effective a slight upgrade from a car license tipper to a truck license tipper would be.
“The overall running cost is a lot better too, because the truck’s not doing the amount of trips we were doing previously,” he says. “Although it’s a larger vehicle, what we were doing in three trips we can now do in one.”
Some of the sites the team encounter have only limited access. Anything larger, therefore, would have struggled to get into the areas they do work says Luke.
“Nature parks and limited access tracks are common to us,” he says. “It was a nice compromise size-wise between larger models and what we already had.”
Performance-wise, New Wave Concreting hasn’t had any problems with its two Isuzus. In fact, Luke says the drivers absolutely love them.
They have made a big difference running day-to-day, and they’ve caught the eye of the general public as well.
“They are head-turning vehicles,” Luke says. “We do get a lot of people that see us working and the vehicles all signed up, and they’ll come over to get a number or a card. They do get attention through the public, even at petrol stations, being signed up right.”
In the long run, choosing Isuzu has proven beneficial for New Wave’s operations. The FRR Tipper and its siblings have shown that they can keep up with the daily workload, and because of this, Luke believes Isuzu is ahead of the pack.
“I don’t know if anything else can compete, it’s just bullet proof,” Luke says.
“It’s spot on, and for what we do, I couldn’t fault it. It really is perfect for our running day-to-day. And we do give them a hard time, that’s for sure. They definitely do the work, and they don’t miss a beat.”