Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is the only place where two World Heritage areas meet. The Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest are natural delegate boosters for any conference or event; nature’s playground inspiring great moments.
The Great Barrier Reef is so multifaceted, there’s bound to be an ideal way to add it to your event agenda. Delegates can enjoy down-time simply swimming and being on the water. Switch gears to educational and delegates can learn about the largest coral reef system in the world from marine biologists and Master Reef Guides. Level up to getting stuck-in and volunteer your delegate’s time for some conservation activities.
The Wet Tropics Rainforest isn’t the understudy to the Reef in any way, rather a co-star of the region, worthy of its headline status. The world’s oldest rainforest is as spectacular as its inhabitants; flora and fauna descriptions full of superlatives, filling a spot on any type of event agenda with ease.
Status That’s Well Deserved
Sheer beauty, as well as astonishing biodiversity, helped earn the Great Barrier Reef its World Heritage status. The ecosystem contains the largest collection (over 2500) of coral reefs on the planet. It’s home to 400 types of coral, 900 islands, 1500 species of fish and 4000 types of mollusc. Six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles and 40 per cent of the anemone species also call the reef home. Great indeed.
Fun in the Sun, Learning, and Contributing
Departing daily on scheduled services or private charters from Cairns and Port Douglas, there are a variety of tours offering diving, snorkelling, sailing, cruising, scenic heli-tours, semi-submersibles, glass bottom boats, underwater scooters, and island-hopping, all showcasing one of the world’s greatest natural treasures.
The newest reef experience connects delegates to sea country. Onboard Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel Indigenous rangers recount the Dreamtime stories of Traditional Custodians to help delegates gain a deeper cultural understanding of this diverse ecosystem. A day on Dreamtime includes an Indigenous welcome and acknowledgment, experiencing the Great Barrier Reef creation story, and visiting two premium outer reef sites.
What’s better than visiting the Great Barrier Reef for the day? Sliding into the Great Barrier Reef! Sunlover Reef Cruises boasts the only waterslide on the reef. Their eco-certified tours whisks delegates away to Moore Reef and provides four hours of reef time to explore this underwater wonderland. Delegates can keep their hair dry and event-ready with the Seawalker Helmet diving.
Reef Magic unveiled their brand-new reef pontoon earlier this year; the first new pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef in over a decade. At 1003sqm, the new pontoon is one of the biggest, but with a daily capacity of 250 delegates there’s plenty of room to spread out. Adding to a delegate’s traditional day on the reef, the pontoon has a fully functioning scientific lab for reef research and projects.
Contrary to popular belief, visiting the Great Barrier Reef is one of the single best ways delegates can help in its conservation. Every visitor to the reef pays an Environmental Management Charge which contributes to the day-to-day management of the Marine Park and funding research to improve its long-term resilience, winning it the title of world’s best managed reef.
Delegates can also contribute by volunteering. Reef Restoration Foundation created the first Great Barrier Reef coral nursery at Fitzroy Island. They grow coral on frames and then replant them on nearby reefs, accelerating the growth process enabling reefs to recover from bleaching and cyclone damage faster. The idea that delegates can actively contribute to reef health is a massive delegate booster.
A Rainforest As Elite as the Reef
The Wet Tropics is the only place on the planet where you’ll find the world’s smallest and tallest cycads living alongside the world’s most diverse assemblage of ancient and relict flowering plants. A haven for Australia’s greatest number of animal species in one place, 80 of which can’t be found anywhere else on the planet. At 300 million plus years in the making, it’s still evolving.
Recognised as the oldest tropical rainforest on the planet and the largest in Australia, the Wet Tropics Rainforest offers endless experiences for any group size. Its spectacular scenery, plant diversity and unique wildlife are guaranteed to leave delegates speechless.
Explore on the ground, from above or submerged
A gondola ride above the canopy aboard Skyrail Rainforest Cableway just north of Cairns provides an appreciation of the diversity this ecosystem offers. With stops along the way to explore the rainforest and enjoy guided boardwalk tours, delegates are exposed to the rainforest from above and below. Skyrail’s newest addition is The Edge Lookout giving delegates panoramic views of the impressive Barron Gorge and Falls, and includes a nerve-testing glass floor section.
Teetering 50 metres above a natural rainforest lagoon, the Skypark Cairns bungy tower beckons delegates to challenge themselves. With sixteen jump styles unique to Skypark, first-timers and seasoned thrill seekers alike, will push their limits to the max. After climbing the tower, take a moment to enjoy the view across the rainforest and out to the Coral Sea, and Walk the Plank. Skypark Cairns launched this new experience last year, giving delegates another option for an adrenaline rush 140m above sea level.
With a wetsuit and snorkel drift down the crystal-clear Mossman River on your own river raft and see freshwater fish, water dragons and turtles. The region is no stranger to iconic underwater experiences with the Great Barrier Reef on its doorstep, but there’s a new water experience like no other. River Drift Snorkelling by Back Country Bliss Adventures is perfect for delegates to venture deep into the rainforest, stay cool and refresh for another day of conferencing.
Heritage-listed sites come with prehistoric inhabitants
If you’re hanging out in the world’s oldest rainforest, chances are your ancestors have been around for a while. Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is home to the cassowary, an evolutionary relic, having first appeared millions of years ago, and is believed to be the closest living relative to dinosaurs. Just 4000 cassowaries are thought to be left in the wild and there’s a good chance that delegates will spot one from their transfers. Guarantee them for your delegates by visiting one of the region’s wildlife parks.
Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas is an open and interactive exhibit for delegates and animals to mingle across five environments; Savannah, Wetlands, Rainforest, Nocturnal and Grasslands. The cassowary enclosure is a little less social with a viewing platform for delegates. Alongside it’s prehistoric co-star, you’ll find an equally fascinating reptilian predator; the saltwater crocodile in a brand new experience. Delegates are invited into to swim in a croc’s kill zone with only a sheet of perspex between them and the modern-day dinosaur with killer instincts. The CrocArena is purpose built for underwater viewing and thrilling crocodile shows, with a grandstand seating 300 delegates.
Between Port Douglas and Cairns, Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is dedicated to the largest living reptile and the largest terrestrial predator on earth. Marvel at the strength and size of both fresh and saltwater crocodiles on an intimate cruise of the lagoon in the wetland environment or traverse the 2.5km of boardwalks through Melaleuca Wetlands, Eucalypt Woodlands and Riverine Rainforest animal habitats, including cassowaries. Their tours have been perfected for over eight decades, so getting up close and personal to wildlife endemic to the region is a first-class experience to add to an agenda.
Providing a sense of accomplishment with delegates obtaining new learnings from a conference, celebrating the strength of your team, making genuine connections to new industry partners and suppliers, or making the world just a little bit better through spending a day on the Great Barrier Reef, the ‘fun stuff’ should be on everyone’s event checklist.