With every year that passes, tons of tourists pour into Queensland from around the world to check out the diverse wildlife and rich landscape. Queensland is best known for its access to two natural gems: the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, both of which are world heritage sites under the protection of the government. For both first-timers and returnees, the most beautiful place in Queensland is arguably Fitzroy Island near Cairns.
From the island, you’ll be able to check out the Great Barrier Reef from the best vantage point: right on the water. Tourists pay a good deal of time, effort, and money to see the reef in the flesh. Most tourists choose Fitzroy Island right off of Cairns because it gives them a visceral experience of the reef and its surrounding landscape: you can see the vibrant colors with your own eyes, feel the clear water as you glide through it, and feel the smooth, white sand of its shores between your toes as you go sunbathing. The island is teeming with activities that can make your vacation the most fun one you’ve taken yet.
Spending your vacation on the island means you’ll have to make a lot of fun but difficult choices. For example, you’ll need to choose a tour operator and what type of tour you want to go on–glass-bottom boat or scuba diving? Guided or independent? Daytrip or overnight camping trip? When you look at your options, consider your fitness level, your interests, and of course, your budget for the occasion.
The island is only forty-five minutes away from Cairns via ferry, making it super accessible for those who need to be back in town in a jiffy. The island is a hub for a number of land and sea activities including hiking, camping, scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling, and guided glass-bottom boat tours.
In this article, we’ll be exploring point-by-point the top reasons for choosing Fitzroy Island when planning your great adventure down under. Read on and see exactly why this pacific gem is worth the trip!
The Amazing Location
Set on prime land along the reef, Fitzroy Island is a key destination because of how close to the reef kayakers and divers can get. It has the best of both sea and land plant and animal life, making it perfect for those who might prefer to explore the wilderness instead of the ocean. The island also houses the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, the perfect opportunity for animal lovers to give back to a good cause.
Because it’s so close to Cairns, the island always has fresh food and ingredients delivered right from the source. You’ll find some of the best steakhouses in Queensland right on Fitzroy Island. The island also boasts of nightly beach barbecues, featuring the best meats and vegetables on the coast.
Exciting Sea Life
The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from both an outdoorsy, immersive point of view, and a more reserved, indoor point of view. There’s something for everyone. For those looking for something more educational and observational, there are guided glass-bottom boat tours hosted by marine biologists. For those who want to see everything up close, right in the water, there are scuba and snorkelling tours. And for those who are somewhere in between, there are submersible boats and glass-bottom kayaking tours.
The island gives you up-close access to the Great Barrier Reef, its many colors, and diverse animal life. Fitzroy Island has two main beaches that offer unique views: Welcome Bay and Nudey Beach. Both have kayaking, sailing, and snorkelling tours and each has a unique vantage point to offer.
Turtle Rehabilitation Centre
The Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre is one of the most humanitarian activities you can do while you’re on the island. Don’t just take a vacation–give back and help the volunteers as they nurture the turtles back to health. The place is run 100% by volunteers, making it one of the most successful non-profits in the world. Help them out and on some days, you might even help release the turtles back into the wild.
For a meaningful experience with animals and nature, drop by setting an appointment. The center opens from 1:00 PM and accommodates guests on an appointment-only basis. Fill your heart as you take a break by lending a hand!
One-of-a-Kind Giant Ocean Trampoline
Is there bigger joy than bouncing up and down in the air right above the ocean of blue seas and blue skies? This is one of Fitzroy Island’s most unique man-made features that’s fun for kids and adults. You can bounce to your heart’s content and enjoy the entire view.
For a tactile, immersive experience that gives you a new perspective on island life, you’ll definitely want to check out the all-day bounce pass. You can check out the view from sunrise to sunset, taking in your fill of the colorful reef and the deep blue ocean.
Walking and Hiking Tracks
Fitzroy Island is also considered a National Park. Conservation efforts have made sure that the island has a lush canopy of diverse trees, different types of vegetation, and a plethora of protected animals. It’s amazing for camping, hiking, and exploring because you can see and feel nature at its best.
Choose from the tracks below based on how much time you have and your current fitness level!
Secret Garden Track: Perfect for beginners, this track only spans 1km. The trek is taken at a light, slow pace and only takes around an hour and forty-five minutes to complete. There are a lot of stops, arranged for tourists to take photos and really see and feel the fresh Australian air around them. Animals are also around to be observed as tourists go on this trek.
Nudey Beach Track: Also for beginners, Nudey Beach is also a light, easy trek, but the trail faces outward toward the coast rather than inward toward the rainforest. If you want a good glimpse of the coast then definitely pick this. This trail is a lot shorter, only spanning forty-five minutes for the whole thing. However, after, you can opt to have a picnic by the coast and start off the day swimming in the water.
Summit Track: The Summit Track is a great one for more advanced hikers. It’s very steep and can be difficult, requiring tourists to have good coordination and previous climbing experience. That said, the effort is worth it: the Boulder Trail is a very unique area and at the summit, you get a prime view of the entire island.
If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, you definitely have to let your heart take you to Fitzroy Island to enjoy the area of the Great Barrier Reef! Add another great place to your bucket list when you set your sights on Queensland and its wonderful islands. Whether you choose to go trekking, swimming, or sailing, Fitzroy Island is definitely a place you’ll never forget!