Thinking about visiting the world-famous Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, Australia may seem out of reach in terms of cost. However, rest assured there are plenty of fabulous ways to explore the Reef and the incredible Tropical Far North Queensland region on a budget!
Paying a visit to stunning Fitzroy Island, located just off the coast of Cairns (accessible by taking a 45-minute Fast Cat ride from the Cairns Marina) is a very affordable, not to mention magnificent way to explore not only the surrounding Great Barrier Reef (that’s right, Fitzroy Island is located right in the heart of this awe-inspiring natural structure), but also the spectacular beauty of this tropical island paradise.
Fitzroy Island is rather unique when compared to many other island destinations in Queensland, as it offers a very wide array of accommodation options to guests of Fitzroy Island Resort, including budget-friendly camping, bungalows and cabins (all the way through to studios, suites and penthouse rooms). A stay on amazing Fitzroy Island won’t break the bank and will leave you with incredible memories to last a lifetime! Of course, you are also welcome to visit Fitzroy Island for just the day, too.
Let’s take a look now at eight awesome ways you can experience the magic of Fitzroy Island on a budget.
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
Exploring the breathtaking beauty of the Great Barrier Reef does not mean you have to hand over all your spending money for boat tours or scuba diving expeditions to the Outer Reef. Instead, on Fitzroy Island, you can snorkel straight from the safety of the shore out onto the reef that surrounds the island, for a fraction of the price!
Choose to bring along your own snorkelling gear, or if you like, you are welcome to hire the relevant gear (snorkel, mask and fins) for the day from Fitzroy Island’s Dive and Adventure Centre. Snorkelling the exquisite turquoise waters of Fitzroy Island means you’ll have the chance to spot majestic sea turtles, tropical fish (including Nemo!) and numerous different species of hard and soft corals.
Image Credit: geographical.co.uk
Kick Back and Relax on the Beach
After paddling about snorkelling on the reef, kicking back under the shade of a coconut palm on either Welcome Bay or Nudey Beach for some rest and relaxation is a heavenly thing to do! Did you know that Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island was awarded the number one spot in Australia’s Top 101 Beaches Awards for 2018? With white coral sand, stunning turquoise ocean water, huge granite boulders and backed by lush rainforest vegetation, it’s not hard to see why.
Wander the Island’s Walking and Hiking Tracks
Fitzroy Island is a fabulous island for walking and hiking, being 97% National Park (a mix of tropical rainforest and coastal woodland vegetation) and home to beautiful and unique wildlife. There are a number of walking and hiking tracks free for you to explore, with something to cater for all ages and fitness levels.
If you are after something cruisy, the Secret Garden Walk through the lush rainforest is a lovely option. Or, for something a little longer yet still gentle, opt for the Nudey Beach Track, which meanders from the Resort to Fitzroy Island’s finest beach.
Chasing something really adventurous? If time is on your side, you might like to give our Self-guided Historical Hike a shot, which takes approximately 3 hours return, and includes stunning views of the island and surrounding ocean from the summit of Fitzroy Island.
Bounce Around on the Giant Ocean Trampoline
Fitzroy Island has its very own giant ocean trampoline, loved by kids and adults alike. Situated just 25m from the shore of Welcome Bay, you can bounce and jump around to your heart’s content for the entire day for just $5 per person.
Tuck into a Picnic on the Beach
With all the fun activities available on Fitzroy Island, you will no doubt have built up an appetite for lunch! Whether you choose to enjoy something from the island’s restaurant, bar and/or General Store, or bring along your own goodies from home, a picnic on the beach at Welcome Bay or Nudey Beach is a truly relaxing way to re-fuel for the afternoon’s adventures.
Visit the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre
Fitzroy Island is fortunate to be home to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, which invites a small group of visitors through its doors at 1pm each day, to witness firsthand the amazing rehabilitation work that is carried out by the Centre’s team of passionate and dedicated volunteers. If you love turtles, be sure to sign up for this inspiring 45-minute tour (costing just $11.50 per adult) upon arrival at Fitzroy Island, so you don’t miss out!
Cool Off and Unwind in the Resort Pool
No visit to a splendid tropical island would be complete without a rejuvenating swim in the resort’s pool and spa. Fitzroy Island Resort’s pool and spa (freely accessed by resort guests) is the perfect place to cool off and unwind over the afternoon, and is complete with a swim-up bar, where you can indulge in a delicious tropical cocktail prepared with local produce.
Admire the Sunset from Foxy’s Bar
Watching the sun go down from Foxy’s Bar, Fitzroy Island’s casual, laid-back Pacific Islands-style bar that sits right on the beachfront of Welcome Bay, is a wonderfully relaxing experience to remember and the perfect way to top off an amazing day spent at Fitzroy Island.