Fitzroy Island is an idyllic gateway to the majestic Great Barrier Reef. Nestled just off the coast of Cairns, this tropical paradise offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonders of the reef.
If you’ve ever wanted to explore the Great Barrier Reef (and visit paradise in the process) then get ready for an unforgettable adventure where you can snorkel, dive, hike through lush rainforests, and even visit the renowned Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.
Keep reading to learn more.
How to get to Fitzroy Island
Getting to Fitzroy Island is a breeze.
You can hop on a convenient ferry from Cairns, and in just a short scenic journey, you’ll find yourself stepping onto this island paradise. The ferry runs several times a day and is easy to organise.
However, if you want to take things into your hands, then you can always take your own boat to the island. There’s plenty of room for you to keep your boat but just keep in mind that you will need to pay mooring fees.
The best part is that Fitzroy Island is only 45 minutes from Cairns by boat – so you can get away from the mainland to the tropical island and feel like you’re a million miles away, when in reality, it’s been less than an hour.
Cairns is also easy to get to – you can fly there from almost anywhere in Australia!
Where to stay on the Island
The Fitzroy Island Resort offers a range of accommodation options to suit different preferences and budgets.
Whether you’re seeking a luxurious resort experience, budget friendly bungalows or back to nature style camping, there’s something for you.
The resort and camping grounds are located only moments from the beach, so you can enjoy incredible views and the spoils of the island from anywhere!
Your options for exploring the Reef
Depending on how close or how dry you want to stay, there are many different options available for you to be able to explore the Reef from Fitzroy Island. Here are some of our faves:
Prepare to be dazzled as you slip beneath the crystal-clear waters surrounding Fitzroy Island.
Snorkelling is an accessible and thrilling way to explore the vibrant coral gardens and encounter a kaleidoscope of marine life.
Grab your snorkel gear (you can bring your own or hire some from the FISH) and head to the island’s pristine beaches, such as Welcome Bay and Nudey Beach, where you can swim among colourful fish, graceful sea turtles, and many different kinds of corals and critters.
Don’t forget to apply reef-safe sunscreen and be mindful of the delicate coral formations as you float through this underwater wonderland.
For those seeking a deeper immersion into the reef’s beauty, Fitzroy Island offers exceptional diving opportunities.
Discover renowned dive sites like Shark Fin Bay and Little Fitzroy Island, where you’ll encounter breathtaking coral formations and encounter an abundance of marine species.
Whether you’re a novice or an experienced diver, there are options available for all skill levels with tours and training opportunities.
Consider embarking on a guided diving expedition to fully appreciate the wonders that lie beneath the surface.
Exploring the Island’s Rainforest:
Beyond the reef, Fitzroy Island boasts a lush rainforest waiting to be explored. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on an adventure through the island’s scenic trails.
The Summit Track offers panoramic views of the Coral Sea, while the Secret Garden Track leads you through the heart of the rainforest, showcasing ancient trees, vibrant birdlife, and the soothing sounds of nature.
Pause for a moment of tranquility at Nudey Beach, a hidden gem nestled within the rainforest, offering a pristine stretch of white sand and turquoise waters.
While you may not be in the waters of the Reef, you can still explore this incredibly stunning area without getting wet!
Turtle Rehabilitation Centre:
One of the unique attractions on Fitzroy Island is another way to explore the Reef without getting wet and that’s at the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.
This important facility plays a vital role in rescuing and rehabilitating injured or sick sea turtles found in the Great Barrier Reef.
Visit the centre to learn about the inspiring work being done to protect these majestic creatures. You may even have the opportunity to participate in guided tours or educational programs, gaining insights into turtle conservation efforts firsthand.
Conservation Efforts and Responsible Tourism
Preserving the Great Barrier Reef is of utmost importance. As you explore the reef and Fitzroy Island, remember to practice responsible tourism. Opt for reef-safe sunscreen to protect the delicate coral ecosystem, adhere to snorkeling and diving guidelines, and respect the natural environment. By embracing sustainable practices, we can contribute to the long-term conservation of this remarkable World Heritage site.
Day Trip Itinerary
If you’re short on time or simply want to experience the highlights of Fitzroy Island and the Great Barrier Reef in a day, here’s a suggested itinerary:
- Morning: Start your day with a refreshing snorkel session. Grab your gear and head to Welcome Bay, known for its vibrant coral gardens. Swim alongside schools of tropical fish, marvel at the intricate coral formations, and keep an eye out for sea turtles gracefully gliding through the water.
- Mid-Morning: After your snorkeling adventure, take a leisurely stroll through the rainforest to Nudey Beach. Follow the Secret Garden Track, immersing yourself in the sights and sounds of nature. As you emerge from the rainforest, you’ll be greeted by the picture-perfect beauty of Nudey Beach. Relax on the soft sand, bask in the sun, and take a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters.
- Lunch: Recharge with a delicious picnic lunch on the beach, surrounded by the stunning natural scenery. You can bring your own packed meal or enjoy a tasty meal at one of the island’s eateries, savouring the flavours of fresh local produce.
- Afternoon: Embark on a guided tour of the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. Learn about the challenges faced by sea turtles in the Great Barrier Reef and the efforts being made to rehabilitate and protect them. Gain a deeper understanding of their lifecycle, conservation strategies, and how you can contribute to their well-being. This eye-opening experience will leave you with a greater appreciation for these magnificent creatures.
- Late Afternoon: Complete your day trip with a hike up to the summit of Fitzroy Island. The Summit Track offers breathtaking views of the surrounding turquoise waters, lush rainforest, and the sprawling Great Barrier Reef. Capture the beauty of the landscape through your lens or simply soak in the tranquility and grandeur of this natural wonder.
- Evening: Before departing the island, take a moment to relax and enjoy the sunset. Find a comfortable spot on the beach, sip a refreshing beverage, and witness the sky ablaze with hues of pink, orange, and gold as the sun dips below the horizon. Reflect on your incredible day of exploration and the memories created amidst the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef.
Experience the Best of the Reef at Fitzroy Island
Exploring the Great Barrier Reef from Fitzroy Island is a journey that combines adventure, conservation, and natural beauty.
From snorkelling in vibrant coral gardens to diving into the depths of the reef, hiking through lush rainforests, and visiting the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, each experience offers a deeper connection to this extraordinary ecosystem.
As you venture into this underwater paradise, remember to tread lightly, leaving only footprints and taking away cherished memories of a remarkable adventure. Fitzroy Island awaits, ready to unveil the treasures of the Great Barrier Reef.