Sunlover Reef Cruises / Australian Water Polo

media release

In a world-first, Sunlover given approval by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) to stage a one-off water polo event at Moore Reef Marine Base, 47 km offshore from Cairns on the Outer Great Barrier Reef on Sunday 30 June 2019.

The opportunity to host the game came from the local Cairns Water Polo Club who were hosting the Olympic Gold hopefuls for Tokyo 2020, Aussie Stingers Women’s and Men’s Junior water polo squads, training before the FINA World Championships.

Jesse O’Hara, President of Cairns Water Polo spearheaded the idea.  "It's amazing to see some of the world's top water polo players in Cairns and to be able to host an event of the Great Barrier Reef is pretty special. The 'beach water polo' format of the sport is becoming more popular across the world, with FINA trialing the event at the upcoming World Championships."

A special inflatable court was placed in a deep area alongside the pontoon, in an area that the semi-submersible and glass bottom boats normally depart, well clear of the corals of Moore Reef.

The two-story Marine Base and rear of the Sunlover boat provided vantage points for spectators including local club members, supporters and some bemused international tourists.

Group Marketing Manager for Sunlover Reef Cruises, Sarah Butler said that Sunlover has a long history for embracing innovative events and activities, including the first dedicated events venue on the Great Barrier Reef and the first and only waterslide on the Great Barrier Reef. “We are thrilled that the Cairns Water Polo Club approached us with this opportunity to host some of Australia’s best athletes, support our local club and also showcase the Great Barrier Reef.”


With close liaison between Water Polo officials, Sunlover Operation's, and media I organised the first-ever water polo game on the reef.  Media were alerted prior and I assembled and led a team of photographers and filmmakers to capture high-resolution vision for their use. As well as providing media coverage for Sunlover, the tourism industry loved that it provided positive exposure to benefit the whole region.

"The innovative training opportunity was a great way to showcase the destination, which is hosting them as they prepare for the FINA World Championships." Tourism & Events Queensland, LinkedIn

Some comments:

  • "Cool initiative team-Sunlover and some great PR to benefit all in the region 👍 Well done!"

  • "What a fantastic idea!"

  • "Great idea" 

  • "Cool location!"