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Great Barrier Reef New Reef Magic Pontoon

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New Reef Magic pontoon delivers exciting new touring experiences on the Great Barrier Reef

Reef Magic, a new $7M marine science and tourism pontoon, owned by leading Australian adventure and leisure tourism company, Experience Co. (EXP), has begun operating on the Great Barrier Reef.

The new three-level floating platform is based at Moore Reef, a large horseshoe-shaped reef system nearly 45km offshore from Cairns. The 1000sqm activity pontoon will provide capacity for up to 250 guests who can enjoy guided snorkelling and introductory and certified diving, entering and exiting the water easily from an innovative 15m wide staircase on either side of the pontoon. 

Great Barrier Reef New Reef Magic Pontoon

Helmet Diving is also available using an underwater platform that loops around the pontoon offering one of the longest circuits on the Great Barrier Reef.

Local Traditional Owners will work closely with Experience Co’s marine biologists to offer guests a narrative of Indigenous knowledge along with western science.

Those guests wanting to stay dry can experience the Reef via the semi-submersible, glass bottom boats or enjoying the large air-conditioned underwater observatory which features floor to ceiling windows.

Great Barrier Reef New Reef Magic Pontoon

In between activities, a spacious sundeck complete with sun loungers and extensive shaded retreat areas invites passengers to lie back and relax in comfort while admiring the views of the outer reef.  Onboard catering from well-known Ochre restaurant in Cairns will provide delicious morning and afternoon teas as well as hot and cold lunchtime offerings featuring Indigenous flavours such as Lemon Myrtle Roast Chicken Breast and Native Dukkah Crusted Smoked Kangaroo Loin.  A fully stocked licenced bar will complement the culinary treats.

Adding to the guest experience is a purpose-built onboard marine science laboratory.  Marine biologists will be available to take guests through the Reef research and conservation work being done onboard.

Numerous science groups will utilise the laboratory with onboard accommodation allowing for multi-day stays during major reef events such as coral spawning.

Great Barrier Reef New Reef Magic Pontoon

“Experience Co. has been operating touring on the Great Barrier Reef for many years including snorkelling and diving tours and Island day trips. This rich history provides us with deep insights into how to curate experiences which will be of strong appeal to travellers when they visit our new Reef Magic pontoon” said John O’ Sullivan, CEO of Experience Co.

With sustainability as a priority in its design, the day-to-day operations of the platform will focus on reducing the impact on the environment with three wind turbines, 16 solar panels and, where possible, electricity generation to power the pontoon – a first for the region.

Great Barrier Reef New Reef Magic Pontoon

About Reef Magic:

Reef Magic pontoon experiences will depart from the Cairns Marina at 9am returning 5pm.  They will operate from 5 April. Prices start from $139pp for children, $279pp for adults and $679 for a family and include:

  • Return catamaran cruise to Moore Reef
  • Snorkelling equipment 
  • Wetsuits and lycra suits
  • Expert local commentary from Marine Biologists, Master Reef Guides and Indigenous Guides
  • Glass bottom boat tours
  • Semi-submersible tours
  • Access to the interactive underwater observatory and science lab
  • All meals onboard as well as tea, coffee and water
  • Fish feeding display

Additional activities include:

  • Guided Snorkel Tours
  • Diving: introductory, certified and Helmet Diving
  • Scenic Helicopter Flights

The Reef Magic pontoon was built with the support of a $3M grant from the Queensland Government.  It is expected to generate extensive economic revenue for the region as well as jobs for the local market.

Experience Co. worked with local construction companies, Austal Shipyards and English Engineering, and their suppliers, to build the pontoon.

About Experience Co:

Experience Co. is Australia’s leading adventure and tourism company operating “mild to wild” experiences across multiple divisions – Marine, SkyDive, Premium Walking tours and Trees Course/Ziplining. Founded in 1998, Experience Co’s vision is to become one of Australia and New Zealand’s most recognised and respected adventure tourism operators.

Adrian Stacey
Adrian Stacey
Scuba Diver ANZ Editor, Adrian Stacey, first learned to dive on the Great Barrier Reef over 24 years ago. Since then he has worked as a dive instructor and underwater photographer in various locations around the world including, Egypt, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico and Saba. He has now settled in Australia, back to where his love of diving first began.
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