Cruise Whitsundays have taken the iconic Great Barrier Reef experience to a whole new level with the launch of Australia’s first underwater accommodation.
The newly opened Reefsuites allow guests to deeper immerse themselves in the reef’s marine life with an overnight stay in their underwater aquarium-like suites located on the redeveloped Reefworld Pontoon at Hardy Reef.
There are two premium underwater hotel suites on offer, which opened to the public on 01 December. Each suite has an adjoining ensuite and sits four metres underwater with panoramic floor-to-ceiling views of the surrounding ocean –which can be illuminated at night so it’s not all gloom and doom.
The all-inclusive Reefsuite experience includes a return cruise to the Reefworld pontoon, a selection of marine activities, premium beverages and onboard chefs preparing meals featuring local produce and ingredients from regional Queensland. Not to mention, underwater reef views like no other. Or alternatively, on-deck Reefsleep beds are available for those who prefer to sleep under the stars.
Day-trippers will also be welcome aboard the floating pontoon with transfers operating from Airlie Beach, located about 40 nautical miles away.
“The redevelopment of the Cruise Whitsundays pontoon and the subsequent opening of Reefsuites is an absolute game-changer for our local tourism sector. This will be one of the most iconic tourism experiences in Australia,” says Kate Jones, Tourism Industry Development Minister.
The new experiences come after a $10 million dollar redevelopment project was planned to restore Reefworld pontoon after it was badly damaged by 2017’s Cyclone Debbie.
The project was supported by the Queensland Government’s Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund to ensure the heritage-listed reef was protected throughout each stage of the redevelopment.
This involved the safe removal and replanting of 4,000 pieces of coral from old moorings onto existing reef walls in order to rejuvenate Hardy Reef.
The team is also working closely with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to ensure the project is approached in a sustainable and environmentally conscious manner. To support the sustainable approach to coral removal, a new coral farm will be established to encourage further growth in the area.
Meanwhile, the new pontoon will also be a hub for public education and conservation guidance to visitors about the Great Barrier Reef.
Rates for the Reefsuite experience starts from $799 per person, while Reefsleep beds on the top deck are from $595 per person (sharing) or $795 for sole occupancy.