THE WHITSUNDAYS’ annual Great Barrier Reef Festival is renowned for being a family-friendly celebration of life in the heart of Australia’s World Heritage-listed wonderland.
And at this year’s festival (August 4-7), there’s an added focus on experiences on the reef.
Throughout its four days of mainland activities, the festival has typically brought the reef to the shore but, this year, with Cruise Whitsundays taking up the festival naming rights, the Cruise Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef Festival will also be about taking people to the reef.
For the best part of two decades, festival chairwoman Margie Murphy, and her band of volunteers, have been working on ways to increase the Whitsunday community’s connection with the Great Barrier Reef, and are therefore thrilled by the possibilities this creates.
“We’re delighted that Cruise Whitsundays, previously a Platinum Sponsor of the festival, has taken up naming rights,” Ms Murphy said.
“Also, that as the Whitsundays’ largest marine operator, Cruise Whitsundays will be working with the region’s Master Reef Guides to provide an unparalleled reef experience.”
Cruise Whitsundays sales and marketing manager, Renee Branton-Brown, said for festival-goers, this would translate to unprecedented access to some of the company’s flagship products and, ultimately, the outer Great Barrier Reef.
“This year’s festival will begin on Thursday, August 4, with an exclusive, Cruise Whitsundays and Master Reef Guide-hosted outer Great Barrier Reef experience, the likes of which has never been seen across the entirety of the reef,” Ms Branton-Brown said.
“On that day, our Reefworld facility at Hardy Reef will be dedicated to the festival, providing a boutique, intimate reef encounter for those aboard our custom vessel travelling direct from Airlie Beach.
“Throughout this experience, guests will benefit from the knowledge and passion of our global treasure’s most ardent ambassadors – with at least 10 Master Reef Guides on board, this is set to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to truly ‘learn from the masters’.”
Great Barrier Reef Festival committee member, Master Reef Guide and ‘Little Fish Tourism’ director, Crystal Lacey, said this was the first time a group of Master Reef Guides would collaborate for an on-water, community engagement event.
“Although Master Reef Guide cohorts continue to meet at different field locations across the reef, we have not yet come together with the specific purpose of delivering an immersive, story-telling experience for the general public,” she said.
Master Reef Guide-led activities on offer throughout the excursion will include snorkel safaris, semi-submersible adventures, Eye on the Reef monitoring experiences and practical, in-water photography and videography sessions.
Tickets cost $220 per adult and include lunch, morning and afternoon tea, and all activities except scuba diving.
The 2022 Cruise Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef Festival will run from August 4-7.
It is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) and featured on the It’s Live! In Queensland events calendar.
For more information or to book tickets, visit www.greatbarrierreeffestival.com.au.
Photo credit: Vampp Photography.