If you’re not really into swimming or water sports, then you probably haven’t even considered a tropical island as a holiday destination for you.
While there is certainly a lot of focus on the fun and frivolity of the beach and the water on a tropical island, on the right island, there are plenty of other activities and experiences to be had – and Fitzroy Island is definitely one of those islands!
The fun to be had on the land is just as great on Fitzroy Island, and today, we’re going to tell you about some of the incredible on-land experiences you can have on this tropical paradise.
But before we get into the activities, let’s talk about the island first.
Here’s what you need to know about Fitzroy Island
Fitzroy Island is one of those magical places that feels a million miles from anywhere else – in fact, it almost feels like another time period, something resembling Jurassic Park, in a good way. That’s because this small island, which is only around 339 hectares in size, is actually almost entirely (97%) covered by a National Park. It’s also because the island is located 29km from Cairns on the mainland.
When you’re on the island, it’s almost hard to believe that you’re still so close to Australia. The lifestyle and pace of island life takes over and you’re suddenly in a world so stunningly beautiful you will be captivated no matter which direction you look.
The weather of the island is pretty delightful all year long, with a classic North Queensland tropical climate. During summer temperatures sit between 24-31 degrees Celsius, and in winter they drop slightly to 19-25 degrees Celsius.
The island wasn’t always an island. The end of the last Ice Age, around 8000 years ago, was when it was separated from the mainland. It has been used as a Chinese Quarantine Station, a Mission School and also as a Coast Watch Station during World War II.
These days, the island is now home to the Fitzroy Island Resort, which offers visitors all sorts of accommodation, from penthouse suites to camping. The island is also home to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (more on this later), a Reef Restoration program which is aiding in the nurturing of the coral gardens of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as a place for people to come and learn more about this amazing part of the world.
Fitzroy Island has become one of those holiday destinations that people choose to come back to time and time again.
So, what can you do while you’re here? Keep reading to find out.
Fitzroy Islands Best Land-based Activities
So, if you’re hesitant to immerse yourself in the waters that surround the island, do not fret, because there is just so much waiting for you on Fitzroy Island, including:
1. Hiking and Walking Trails
With Fitzroy Island being almost entirely covered by a National Park, it’s a safe bet there is certainly some exploring to do.
Here on the island, we tend to say that the island is all about the rainforest, beaches and high reaches, which is almost the perfect summary of what you can see while you’re here.
The walking trails of the island allow you to explore the highly unique landscape of the island. You’ll come across beaches, woodlands, granite boulders and of course the flora and fauna of the luscious green rainforest.
There are several mapped out walking trails you can take – each of which is safe to do so on a self-guided adventure. You can take the Lighthouse and Summit walk which will lead you to amazing views of Welcome Bay and the Coral Sea before you. You can do a full loop Fitzroy Island hike which will give you a chance to soak up the rich history of the island. If you’re more interested in the flora side of things, then the Secret Garden walking trail is for you. It’s a shorter trail that really takes you through the gorgeous greenery and scenery. You will be able to listen out for animal and bird calls, and you might even spot the beautiful Green Triangle Butterflies as they make their way through the path. The last walking trail is the Nudey Beach Walk, which takes you through contrasting landscapes, gets you close to some cute jungle critters, and leads you to the world-famous Nudey Beach, which you might have seen on a postcard – it was names Australia’s most beautiful beach in 2018 and is the perfect place for a lunch time picnic.
The island itself is not huge, so even if you’re not at your peak fitness levels, you’ll be able to manage a walk through any of the various walking trails on the island.
You can also opt to take a Bush Tucker and Nature Walk led by one of the Fitzroy Island Resort staff members. The walk is between 30-45 minutes, and is held on the grounds of the resort. During the walk you will get to learn about the flora and fauna of the island, edible plants, some of the traditional indigenous uses for these plants, and how they are used today. These walks are held pretty regularly, but you can confirm the schedule with the resort reception.
2. Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre
A visit to the island’s turtle centre is an absolute must for any visitor. Even if you don’t think you’re an animal person, you will be after this.
The centre is home to sick, injured and unwell sea turtles that are currently being looked after by the centre’s volunteer staff members.
There are a variety of ways turtles can become injured and unwell, including various turtle diseases, attacks from predators, and accidents caused by humans.
The Great Barrier Reef is actually home to six of the seven species of sea turtles in the world, and the centre often has residents of each of these species.
The aim of the centre is to nurse and treat these turtles back to full health so they are strong enough to be re-released back to their natural habitats. While some turtles end up staying a long time, due to severe health issues, they are well looked after and so happy at the centre.
When you visit you can learn more about sea turtles, the dangers that they face, the work the centre does, meet some of the residents, and you might even get to feed them too.
A truly rewarding experience that you must be sure to book as this one is super popular!
3. Educational Talks
While you might not be keen to actually take a dip into the marine world, you can certainly learn about it while you’re on the island through any of the informative and fun educational talks that are held on the island regularly.
Some of the education talks available include:
- Touch and feel marine session – you can see marine species up close, touch them if you like, without having to actually get into the water.
- Reef restoration – learn how coral nurseries are created and cared for. These coral nurseries are being used to harvest and grow new coral that will be planted back into the damaged areas of the Great Barrier Reef.
- Wonders of the Great Barrier Reef – a presentation showing the various kinds of marine life that call the reef home.
- Marine Life of Welcome Bay – learn about the marine species that call the Fitzroy Island waters home.
- Sustainability at Fitzroy Island – you can learn about the ways Fitzroy Island is trying to reduce their environmental impact and use more sustainable practices.
These educational talks run regularly, and the full schedule can be confirmed with the reception staff at the resort!
4. Daily Activities
The Fitzroy Island team have worked hard to create a jam-packed schedule of activities that you can participate in throughout your stay on the island.
From movie screening to treasure hunts, there are all sorts of activities for people of all ages available.
Some of the highlights on the schedule at the moment include:
- Sip & Paint Classes – enjoy an adult beverage while you release your inner artist. (18+)
- Trivia Night – held on Friday nights, you can test your knowledge with the other guests of the resort. Start practising now because there are prizes!
- Beachcombing – great for both adults and kids, you can scour the shores for shells and other items from your Beachcombing Scavenger Hunt guide.
- DIY Classes – pick up a new skill while you’re on holidays, with options to create your own bath salts, make plantable recycled paper and macramé.
You can check out the weekly activity guide here, or you can also get the latest schedule from the resort reception when you’re on Fitzroy Island.
5. Cocktails and Sunset
If you want the perfect way to end your day, then what could be better than a tropical themed cocktail as you watch the sunset on this majestic tropical island?
Foxy’s is the best place for you if this is on your to-do list. A 70’s themed Pacific Islands bar, Foxy’s has a fun and casual atmosphere that really captures the tropical and relaxed vibes of the island.
Foxy’s also serves meals, with kid-friendly options available, and with live music on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, there is no greater way to end your day.
So, if you’re planning your next holiday and not into water sports, there’s still a lot for you to do on Fitzroy Island. And if you are into water sports, learn about some of the awesome water-based activities we have available on the island here. Check out our accommodation options available on the island and book your trip now!