Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

A Magical Master Reef Guide Experience

In honour of the Great Barrier Reef Festival, naming sponsor Cruise Whitsundays, are transforming their iconic day trip to the Reefworld Pontoon into an immersive Master Reef Guide experience.

For one day only, more than 10 Master Reef Guides will be on-board hosts, educating festival-goers on the marine environment in a tour that is both educational and informative.

Organiser Crystal Lacey graduated with the first ever cohort of Master Reef Guides in 2018 and she has since launched her own tourism consultancy business called Little Fish.

On the day, Crystal will host the event and she is looking forward to sharing her knowledge with the guests.

“We strive to be the story tellers of the reef by creating this immersive experience,” said Crystal.  

“We give a deeper understanding of the reef by talking about the hard topics in an educational way and by making it fun to learn we offer a special experience out on the water.”

The day will begin with a Welcome to Country, hosted by local Indigenous owners who will join the tour and impart their knowledge and wisdom alongside the Master Reef Guides.

The Cruise Whitsundays vessel will head 39 nautical miles out to the Reefworld Pontoon where guests can experience a range of activities.

There will be an animal adaptation tour, a hide and seek critter hunt, an underwater photography masterclass and a coral reef scavenger hunt.

Guests can also enjoy the optional extra of a scuba dive and also take a tour on the semi-submersible, exploring the underwater coral gardens.

Onboard passengers can play the fish identification game or use a microscope to zoom in on coral polyps and discover so much more with a closer insight.

The Master Reef Guides will also give a coral predator talk about the Crown of Thorns Starfish and the Drupella Snail.

Traditional Owners will host a boomerang painting workshop and show guests traditional weaving.

On the return journey the traditional owners will host an interactive presentation on some precious artefacts.

The whole day will be serenaded by live acoustic music, with the performers providing a lively accompaniment to the day’s festivities.

“We are really excited to bring the people to the reef,” said Crystal.

“And we are really looking forward to connecting guests with traditional owners so that the community can engage in this event.”

Festival Chair, Margie Murphy, said she is thrilled to see this special educational day return to the festival event calendar again this year.

“The Festival was originally started as a community festival to celebrate the reef that is right on our doorstep, an underwater world of colour and wonder bought to the surface for the day,” she said.

“As the world and our Festival have evolved, reef education has become an important part of the celebrations.

“What this Festival is today is a beautiful balance of fun and education to suit adults through to kids, igniting a passion for the reef amongst festival-goers.”

WHAT: Cruise Whitsundays Master Reef Guide Experience

WHERE: Reefworld, 39 nautical miles out to sea

WHEN: Saturday, August 5


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