Here at Fitzroy Island, we’re all about the water.
With our location could you really blame us?
For those of you who don’t know, Fitzroy Island is situated in the waters of the world’s largest and most famous reef system – the Great Barrier Reef.
So, while there is a lot of things to see and do on the island, as you can imagine, many of them involve the water in one way or another.
Today, we want to tell you about some of the best water-based activities and sports that you take part in while you’re on Fitzroy Island.
But, before we jump right in, let us tell you a little bit about Fitzroy Island.
What You Need to Know About Fitzroy Island
Fitzroy Island was named by Captain James Cook in 1770 and was once upon a time connected to the Australian mainland – about 8000 years ago that is.
Now, the island is found in the waters of the Coral Sea, only around 29km from the shores of Cairns.
With a year-round tropical climate, the island is actually 97% National Park, featuring landscapes such as granite boulders, open woodlands, luscious rainforests, mangroves, and of course coral beaches.
The spectacular location of the island means that literally only metres from the shore, there are coral gardens teaming with the marine life you would expect to find in the Great Barrier Reef.
The stunningly unique destination is somewhere that can truly occupy people of all ages, with plenty of activities for kids, adults, couples, and families to enjoy.
So, that’s probably enough about the island – let’s talk about these activities!
Dive into these 8 water appreciation activities on Fitzroy Island
There are a whole host of water activities available to try out on Fitzroy Island, and the best part is, if you’re a beginner at some of them, you’re not the best swimmer, or you don’t necessarily want to get wet, that’s ok, because there is still plenty of water-based fun for you!
We’re starting our list off with a bang! Scuba diving is one of the most popular water activities, not only on Fitzroy Island, but in this part of the world.
The coral gardens and marine life that make up the Reef offers some of the most spectacular sights to see. And scuba diving is one of the best ways to do so because you can go deeper and not have to worry about coming up for air.
Here on Fitzroy Island, we have various scuba diving courses available for people of all ages and skill levels. Some of the scuba courses we have available include:
- Discover Scuba Diving: If you’re an adult and a first timer, we have the Discover Scuba Diving course, which is essentially an introduction into scuba diving where you will also have the opportunity to experience a real dive.
- Refresher Course: This is for those certified divers who haven’t been out for a dive in the last 6 months. You can refresh your skills in our diving pool before heading out on a dive in the Fitzroy Island waters.
- Certified Ocean Dives: If you’re already certified and have dived in recent times, then what are we waiting for? You’ll head out to one of the dive sites nearby and get to explore the depths of the reef.
- Bubblemaker Program: This one is for the kids to learn and have a go at using scuba equipment in the dive pool on site. They may even have the opportunity to explore the shallow waters under the supervision of a PADI accredited dive instructor. They will have an absolute blast with this one.
If you want to find out more about scuba diving, you can learn more here.
You cannot possibly stay on Fitzroy Island without snorkelling! The amazing location of the island means that you are quite literally only metres from the coral gardens that are at home in the waters.
What makes snorkelling so great is that once you get the hang of wearing the mask, snorkel, and flippers, it’s quite easy and not too strenuous to do. Even people who don’t consider themselves strong swimmers find themselves enjoying snorkelling.
That’s because you can take it at your own pace and go where you want to go.
On Fitzroy Island, you can hire snorkelling equipment for the day from the Fitzroy Island Sports Hub (FISH), where you can explore to your heart’s content. You can also take part in various snorkelling tours. There is a tour designed for beginners called the Beach Snorkel Tour Beginners which gives you the chance to learn more about snorkelling and get some practice up your sleeve. While for the people a little more experienced with snorkelling, the Snorkel Safari Guided Tour, where you get to take a short cruise to a nearby snorkel site, is a great option for you. These tours also cover the cost of hiring the snorkelling gear as well!
If you’re not super keen on getting in the water but you enjoy exploring it, then sea kayaking might be a great option for you.
But let us warn you – sea kayaking is no picnic, it’s a total body workout. Though, to be fair, the sights you’re going to see are not only worth it, but they are also totally going to distract you from feeling the burn at the time.
Sea kayaking does give you the best of both worlds though – you can get out and experience the water, and as long as you don’t capsize, you’ll stay pretty dry.
We offer a guided sea kayaking tour, where you will spend a little time brushing up on safety and kayaking techniques, before hitting the water with your tour guide to see if you can spot a sea turtle!
If you want to go on a self-guided kayak excursion, that’s ok, you can also hire the equipment you need from the FISH.
Stand up Paddle Boarding
Whether you’ve tried this one before or you’re only ever seen it in action, if there is anywhere you’re going to give Stand Up Paddle Boarding a go, it’s got to be here.
If you want to get that walking on water feeling you can either hire equipment and give it a go by yourself, or you can take advantage of an experienced instructors introduction lesson in the WHAT’SUP Cairns Stand Up Paddle Board Tour before hitting the open waters of Welcome Bay.
SUP Boarding gives you a way to explore nooks and crannies of the island that are hard to reach by foot or by boat. Once you get the hang of it, it’s quite a simple process.
Though, if you’re not keen on getting wet, you might want to give it a miss, cos there is a high chance you’ll fall in when you’re first getting used to stand up paddle boarding.
Glass Bottom Boat Tours
Ok, so if you’re looking for a way to really avoid going in the water but you want to see the magical world that exists below the surface, this option is for you.
The name “glass bottom boat tour” does say it all, it’s a tour on a boat with a glass bottom. So, you can enjoy views of the amazing reef below.
The waters around Fitzroy Island are almost crystal clear so you can see some pretty incredible sights all from the comfort of the boat. And what makes this activity great is that it’s suitable for all ages and extremely safe – oh and did we mention you get to stay dry?
The glass bottom boat tours last for an hour and run twice a day!
Reef Fishing Charter
If you fancy yourself as a bit of a fisherman, then what better place to prove your skills than the Reef?
You can join in on a Reef fishing charter adventure with the team at Cairns Reef Fishing. These trips run all year round, and they have all the fishing gear you need. All you need to worry about is bringing a hat, sunnies, sunscreen and some beers or beverages. You’ll even get a feed on this trip.
The experienced crew will help you bring in your big catch – if you need the help. And anything you do catch will be cleaned and bagged for you to take home!
These fishing charters go for about 5 hours, so you’ll be back in the early afternoon ready to take on another fun activity here.
If you want to take part in a simple bit of water fun, you can always opt for a simple swim. The tropical waters are quite warm and pleasant for swimming, though you need to be careful between November to May as this is considered stinger season, which is when jellyfish breed. During this time of year, you’re best to wear a stinger suit if swimming in the ocean.
Just make sure you know your limitations when it comes to swimming in the ocean, it is different to swimming in a pool, so it’s best to stick to patrolled areas.
You can also opt for spending your swimming time in the pool bar at the resort. You can enjoy a drink or two without having to leave the comfort of the water in the gorgeous pool!
Junior Marine Biologist Program
Ok, so this activity is aimed at the kids, but we thought it would be good to talk about it here because there are various water activities as well as learning about the water in this one.
Our Junior Marine Biologist program lets kids have a hands-on learning experience with a real-life marine biologist. Kids will be able to learn about the oceans and the marine life that inhabit them, as well as take part in awesome activities, like a glass bottom boat tour, beachcombing, water quality testing, experiments and even fish feeding.
This one will keep the kids occupied for around 3 hours and the small group sizes means they can really make the most of their time with our marine biologist!
At the end of this one every participant gets their own certificate!
How you can appreciate the water from afar
If you want to avoid getting wet, or you’re not super comfortable spending a lot of time on the water, there are still ways that you can make the most of this amazing location and appreciate the what the water has to offer from afar. Below are two of our favourites:
1. Turtle Rehabilitation centre
We honestly think that every visitor to Fitzroy Island should take some time out to visit the amazing Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.
This is where sick and injured sea turtles are nursed back to health and taken care of by a team of volunteers.
Unfortunately, sea turtles face all sorts of dangers, both animal and human dangers, which leads to a variety of illnesses and accidents. But the amazing team at this centre work to bring these turtles back to full health, and those that can be released back to their natural environment will be.
You can learn about sea turtles, marine life and the work the centre does at one of their turtle talks, and then you get to meet some of the patients while you’re there.
It’s a truly worthwhile experience!
2. Taking in the view
The breathtaking location of Fitzroy Island combined with the somewhat small size of the island, means that there are awe-striking views from almost all areas of the island.
While there are numerous walking trails, one of the best ways to put your location into perspective is by embarking on the Summit hike. It’s not too strenuous, but you get to see the various landscapes of the island. When you do reach the summit, you will marvel at the amazing 360 vistas on offer.
The waters of the Coral Sea make for great viewing!
If you’re thinking about a holiday, then why not make it a tropical island getaway here to Fitzroy Island. We’re only 45 minutes from Cairns, and with a variety of accommodation options available on the island, it’s friendly for all budgets.
Visit Fitzroy Island today.