Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games
    The Honourable Kate Jones

    New attraction to bring thousands of tourists to the Whitsundays

    Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games
    The Honourable Kate Jones

    Thursday, August 01, 2019

    New attraction to bring thousands of tourists to the Whitsundays

    The Palaszczuk Government will partner with Cruise Whitsundays to build the $8 million Reefworld pontoon project in the Whitsundays, Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones announced today.

    Ms Jones said the pontoon would have capacity for 300 visitors a day and would offer accommodation options for visitors both above and below water.

    “This will be one of the most iconic tourism projects in the world,” she said.

    “We want to invest in tourism attractions that we know will attract more visitors to the Whitsundays and support local jobs – this project will achieve just that.

    “We’re expecting an extra 60,000 visitors per year to the Whitsundays because we’re building this new attraction. That means an extra $23 million in cash spent at local businesses.

    “There is huge demand for a new pontoon in the Whitsundays. This will give more people the chance to see the Great Barrier Reef and will allow tourists to experience this natural wonder in new ways.”

    Ms Jones said during construction, the project would support 10 jobs but once operational, 35 positions would be created.

    The Minister revealed the new floating pontoon at Hardy Reef would include an underwater observatory and would enable guests to access semi-submersible vessels and diving and snorkelling activities.

    “The floating reef pontoon, which will measure 12 metres by 45 metres, will offer visitors the special chance to sleep overnight at the reef, either on the upper deck or in an exclusive underwater reef suite,” she said.

    “It’s an absolute gamechanger for the local tourism industry.

    “We expect the benefits to flow on to other businesses in the region. This is about attracting more tourists who stay longer and spend more while they’re in Central Queensland.”

    The upper deck will provide up to 28 overnight visitors with comfortable beds under the stars while the underwater reef suites will cater for up to four overnight guests and offer expansive glass windows allowing guests to see marine life from the comfort of their private room.

    Journey Beyond (owner of Cruise Whitsundays) Group Chief Executive Officer Chris Tallent said he was excited to deliver this regional first tourism experience with the support of the Palaszczuk Government.

    “The Reefworld pontoon, which will feature premium underwater accommodation, will offer fresh and unique ways for travellers to experience the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

    “Cruise Whitsundays is proud to welcome thousands of Australian and international visitors to the Great Barrier Reef region every year.

    “With the development of the new Reefworld pontoon, we expect to welcome many more travellers to this very special part of Australia.”

    ENDS

    Media contact:
    Jack Harbour 0419 620 447