New underwater hotel planned for Great Barrier Reef

A new eco-tourism experience on the Great Barrier Reef will allow visitors to sleep up to three meters beneath the ocean surface in a sustainable floating hotel.

Queensland State Minister for Tourism Industry Development Kate Jones revealed plans for the three-level, multi-use pontoon to be located off Lady Musgrave Island, saying it will attract thousands of additional visitors to the reef.

“This pontoon is a game-changer for Lady Musgrave and the Great Barrier Reef and will create a whole new way for visitors to experience the island and the region,” Jones said.

Up to 24 guests will be able to stay overnight on the bottom level of the pontoon, which includes floor-to-ceiling windows providing a special glimpse of the reef’s unique marine life.

“It will host an underwater observatory with UV lighting, so visitors can experience the reef at night and have upper decks for diving, snorkeling and environmental data collection,” Jones said.

The roof of the 36-meter-long vessel will be lined with solar panels to provide power, while the main deck will be constructed from recycled plastic and wood, including second hand milk bottles.

The State Government is giving $1 million to the project through its Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund. Lady Musgrave Experience managing director Brett Lakey said it will be “a great adventure and a unique experience”.

The price of the two day-one night experience is expected to be about $500 per person, including meals, with the pontoon available for exclusive hire when it opens in early 2020.