The Great Barrier Reef is famously known as one of the seven natural wonders of the world thanks to an expansive reef stretching 1800km of the Queensland coastline between Bundaberg to Port Douglas and beyond. The natural wonder makes up about ten per cent of the world’s coral reef ecosystems and sustains life for one-third of the world’s marine life. Most visitors would be familiar with The Great Barrier Reef as an Australian icon that they’d “like to visit someday” but we’re here to tell you a few reasons why you need to book in a trip to the Great Barrier Reef in 2020.

Australia’s first underwater accommodation will open in the summer of 2020

The Great Barrier Reef just got a little bit more extraordinary with the exciting news that Australia’s very first underwater accommodation will open in time for summer 2019/ 2020. Now you can make your dreams a reality spending a magical day and night on the reef.

Reef World Pontoon
Photo Credit- Cruise Whitsundays

The reef suites are located 40 nautical miles from Airlie Beach at Reefworld, a moored pontoon in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. The spectacular experience gives travellers a day out on the reef with unlimited hours spent snorkelling or diving, a semi-submarine tour and time to simply soak up the tropical ambience in this unbelievable location.

Overnight guests will wave goodbye to the day-trippers in the afternoon and then enjoy exclusive use of the pontoon overnight with fellow reef sleepers. How many people can say they enjoyed a sunset and a dinner under the stars on the Great Barrier Reef?

The stillness and silence of the reef in the evening is an entirely different experience but the real highlight is waking up to a dazzling display of marine life swimming past the foot of your bed in the underwater reef suites. After a hearty breakfast and morning on the reef, the experience winds down with a transfer back to Airlie Beach.

Reefsuites on Reef World Whitsundays
Photo Credit- Cruise Whitsundays

You’ll need to get in quick to book this experience with only two underwater rooms available in a King Double or Twin Single configuration with an ensuite bathroom.

Single Use of the room begins at $1199 p.p
Double Room $799 p.p

If you miss out on the underwater rooms, the Reef Sleep option is an alternative that gives intrepid travellers the chance to sleep in luxe swags on the revamped deck where you’ll literally be sleeping under the stars.

Museum of Underwater Art launches in Townsville

A couple of hundred kilometres north in Townsville, the Museum of Underwater Art is preparing to launch. Jason deCaires Taylor is a talented artist and environmentalist responsible for creating the world’s first underwater museum in Mexico and will replicate this cultural experience on the Great Barrier Reef.

Four sculptures are set to be rolled out across Townsville in Palm Island, John Brewer Reef, The Strand and Magnetic Island with the dual purpose to share the cultural story connecting the land and sea plus provide an environment for the reef to regenerate and flourish around these sculptures.

The designs at Palm Island and Magnetic Island are still under wraps but a coral greenhouse at John Brewer Reef is set to wow future snorkellers and divers. The underwater art installation will be the largest of the four artworks and will act as an ‘underwater realm’ to share the message of reef conservation in restoration. Divers will be able to witness the regeneration of coral gardens taking place before their very eyes around the ‘coral greenhouse’.

Museum of Underwater Art
An artist’s impression of the ‘Coral Gardens’ sculpture in the Museum of Underwater Art, Townsville

The second artwork announced is to be located 30 metres offshore from The Strand and will sit above water. The ‘Ocean Siren’ and is modelled on the local traditional owner, Takoda Johnson. We are told that the sculpture will also change colours depending on the temperatures of the water.

No visit is ever the same

The world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef covers 344,000 square kilometres which is the equivalent of the size of Italy or Japan. It would take a lifetime to visit every island, coral cay, reef, mangrove and tropical habitat each with their own marine species. No visit to the Great Barrier Reef is ever the same which makes it a superb location to return time and again.

One of our most frequently asked questions from visitors is where should I stay to explore the reef? It is a very complex question to answer and largely depends on where you can fly to, drive to and how big your budget is.

The Southern Great Barrier Reef is underrated in our opinion. The reef is healthy, pristine and flourishing with an abundance of wildlife and locations like Lady Musgrave Island or Lady Elliot Island are best suited to travellers who are intent on driving the coastal route.

Lady Elliot Island Aerial Shot
Lady Elliot Island

Interstate travellers reliant on air travel may find that mainland destinations like Cairns, Port Douglas and Airlie Beach are best suited to their travel plans and there is definitely more choice of island tours, reef cruises and pontoon cruises.

If a tropical island escape is what you crave then The Whitsundays or Green Island and Fitzroy Island near Cairns are ideal options to catch your breath and zone out.

Fitzroy Island
Fitzroy Island

Whether you are seeking further travel inspiration to stir the soul or an activity to make your day extraordinary, Experience Oz is the hub for all the top things to do in Australia and New Zealand. Unforgettable moments are just a click away. Make sure you add the Great Barrier Reef to your itinerary in 2020. You won’t be disappointed by this Australian natural wonder. 

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