Visitors to the Great Barrier Reef can now get a deeper appreciation of it by hailing a submarine tour on Uber.
The joint venture between Tourism and Events Queensland and the ride-sharing app Uber - called ScUber – will take visitors to Queensland's reef for two weeks. The submarine will operate off the coast of Heron Island, a small coral atoll off the coast of Gladstone in Queensland, before heading north to Port Douglas.
Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest living structure, will now be accessible to visitors from around the world via submarine. "We all know you can see the reef from space, well now you can see it from a submarine," Australian Minister for Tourism Industry Development, Kate Jones told The Herald from the jetty.
From Monday, users of the Uber app will be able to order a helicopter transfer from Gladstone for an hour-long ride in the sub. Non-swimmers are welcome.
The first ScUber passengers aboard the submarine were chief scientist David Wachenfeld for the Great Barrier Marine Park and Andy Ridley, CEO of Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef. Emerging by the landing pontoon of Heron Island in the glass-domed submarine, they were greeted by waiting reporters.
"What surprised me was quite how precise it is, how close you get to the reef," Wachenfeld told The Herald. "I've logged hundreds of dives but never been in a sub."
Having good banter is a must for any Uber driver, and as well as being world-class submariner Erika Bergman is a great conversationalist. Admittedly there's plenty of things to stimulate discussion 30m below the sea.
"What's amazing is how you can have a conversation while floating above the reef," said Wachenfeld.
She will definitely be getting a 'five-star rating' from this ride.
ScUber is not your average taxi, and the fare is well above average too, costing $3000 for two seats.
Describing the ride as "mindblowing", Ridley was ecstatic about his ride in the sub. "I've never been in one before."
"It's a lot of money if you're used to paying $11 for an Uber," but Ridley feels for the once-in-a-lifetime experience it's worth the steep fare.
From June 8-18, the sub will be moving to Port Douglas, closer to the Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef head quarters, where it will be offering lifts out to another part of the reef.
Ridley who helped establish climate awareness initiatives such as 'Earth Hour', has great hopes that ScUber will help raise a lot more interest and funds for marine conservation and wider climate change issues.
All profits from the submarine tours will be invested back into conservation projects at the Great Barrier Marine Park.
As a partner for the project, Uber has pledged to match the funds raised through the submarine venture.
Susan Anderson, Regional Manager for Uber in Australia and New Zealand was also at the launch.
"We're looking forward to seeing how visitors to the Great Barrier Reef embrace this new form of movement and become advocates of the Reef for years to come," she said.
To win your very own submarine ride and a trip to Queensland, visit scUberQueensland.com
Tomorrow morning from 11:00, Thomas Bywater will be be talking to Newstalk ZB live from the ScUber.