Sleep on the ocean with new Reality Reef Stay

Big Cat Reality Reality Reef Stay
The Big Cat Reality anchored near Lady Musgrave Island for the new Reality Reef Stay.

Wake up to the warm waters and beautiful sights of Lady Musgrave Island with Big Cat Reality and its newest venture, the Reality Reef Stay.

Big Cat Reality owner James McVeigh said it took months of planning to make sure the reef-stay experience would be perfect, but the idea had been floating around the region for some time.

The new Reality Reef Stay can have up to 18 people, along with five crew, living on the 25m vessel on the Great Barrier Reef for five secluded nights at one time.

James said the Reality Reef Stay would be a unique experience where people could enjoy four full days of fun and adventure on the calm waters of Lady Musgrave lagoon.

The trip would include the option to snorkel and swim with the turtles, island walks and the chance to take the 4.3m tenders out to explore the reef at your own pace.

“It will really be a relaxed, liveable experience, where you are fully catered for,” James said.

“The Big Cat will pick you up at from The Port on a Friday evening and you will sleep while we steam over to Lady Musgrave.

“It takes about seven hours to steam over there – we are in no rush to get there and you get to wake up on the beautiful reef.”

James said during the Reality Reef Stay the Big Cat would be based in the middle of lagoon surrounded by deep blue ocean with endless possibilities.

“You can do whatever you want, or nothing at all – that’s the beauty of it,” he said.

“It’s perfect for couples or families with younger kids.

“The fact is you’ll be living out there for 12 full-light hours a day and it’ll be yours to enjoy.

“Ideally it will just showcase what our region has to anyone and everyone.”

What makes the Bundaberg coast so perfect?

James has worked in the marine tourism industry for two decades and out of the Port of Bundaberg with the Big Cat Reality Fishing Charters for six years after moving from Brisbane.

He said it was his passion to be on the ocean and said the Bundaberg Region was an ideal to place to combine both small business and family.

“Bundaberg is a great area to run a business out of, especially compared to a capital city,” James said.

“Bundaberg has the best port we have ever run out of but that’s not all, when you are out there parked in a controlled environment at Lady Musgrave it is something else – who wouldn’t want to wake up on the reef?

“I live on the water and I never get sick of it.”

Reality Reef Stay
Big Cat Reality's James McVeigh said the timing of the launch of the Reality Reef Stay was perfect to see the turtles.

Reality Reef Stay: Perfect timing

James said the timing of the Reality Reef Stay was perfect for a number of reasons, one because of the great weather and the turtle nesting season would give keep people entertained for hours on end.

And the other reason why the stay was launched over summer was because it was the off-season for the large fishing trips.

“Rather than shutting down over summer we wanted to keep operating and make sure people had access to the water all year round,” James said.

“We have just finalised getting all the bits and pieces together to ensure everything is licenced and perfect as we want this to be sustainable into the future.

“This is the first year in this format and we now have full access to island and surrounds as the permits are ready.”

In the past James, along with Brett Lakey from Lady Musgrave Experience, had operated the Sleep on Reef experience allowing people to sleep on the reef overnight.

James said he would still be working alongside Brett, who would also be operating around the pristine waters of Lady Musgrave Island.

What to expect with the Reality Reef Stay

The five-night, four full days will give people full access to the Southern Great Barrier Reef and the adventures are one of a kind.

James said the onboard chef, Jeff Tobin, would look after all the meals from hot breakfasts, morning teas, fresh lunches, afternoon nibbles at sunset and tasty two-course meals each night.

He said the onboard accommodation was fully air-conditioned with bunk style beds, fresh linen and bath towels provided.

“All guests will have access to one of our seven 4.3m tenders giving you the exclusive opportunity to explore the lagoon at your own pace, go fishing with a mate, enjoy an early morning troll on the reef or discover your personal secret snorkelling spot,” he said.

“The tenders really give you the freedom to enjoy this incredible place.” 

James said Reality Reef Stay would operate for six weeks over summer and the first trip would head out to the reef in early December and the timing was perfect for a stay over New Year.

“We think the most popular stay will be over New Year’s where people can wake up to a new year on the reef!” he said.

James said as an earlybird special people who booked before the end of September would receive a 30 per cent discount, by the end of October a 20 per cent discount and if they booked before the end of November, they would receive a 10 per cent discount.