Great Barrier Reef tours out of Gladstone are on the horizon.
Great Barrier Reef tours out of Gladstone are on the horizon.

Gladstone Great Barrier Reef tours could be coming our way

GLADSTONE residents could soon be enjoying day trips to the Great Barrier Reef, if all goes to plan.

Darryl Branthwaite, CEO of Gladstone Area Promotion and Development Ltd, has been talking to reef tour operators in the wider region about the possibility of setting up business in Gladstone.

However, he said "everything is still a bit up in the air" at this stage.

Mr Branthwaite's plan is to have a reef trip option available for guests arriving on the next cruise ship, the Carnival Spirit on June 22.

"We're working on it on a weekly basis," he said.

We need a day trip to the reef, it's quite crucial to our ongoing sustainability with cruise ships to have a day trip.

"It's the economic benefit it will bring to us as well.

"If it's here for that and we have days either side when the public could go out, then all of a sudden you have people flying in here from elsewhere."

Mr Branthwaite said the presence of a reef tour operator would have a knock-on benefit for local hotels, motels and restaurants.

Snorkeling is one of the many fun activities on the Great Barrier Reef.
Snorkeling is one of the many fun activities on the Great Barrier Reef. Peter Lik

"The crew for the boat itself, the repairs the fuel - the economic spin-off is quite amazing," he said.

Tourists would be taken to Polmaise Reef, part of the Capricorn Bunker Group, which is about 28 miles from Gladstone's marina.

Mr Branthwaite stressed nothing had been confirmed at this stage and initially an operator might be only available during cruise ship days.

But the goal was to acquire a permanent operator, with the reef trips open to everyone.


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