Every year, millions and millions of visitors from around the globe travel to Queensland, Australia to experience its warm climate and lush tropical landscape teeming with wildlife. Queensland is also very well known for the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest, both of which are world heritage sites. For those who’ve been there or so much as seen a photo on Google, it isn’t hard to figure out why the region has such a strong tourism pull.
Seeing the fantasy of the Great Barrier Reef with your own two eyes is the biggest allure of Queensland. Most tourists come to Cairns to see the colorful reef, its clear water, white shores, and beautiful surroundings. Because there’s so much to do, sometimes it can be overwhelming to decide on what activities you’ll be including in your itinerary.
Which tour or operator do you choose? Do you go on a day trip or do you opt for one of the camping overnight sessions? There are a number of considerations to make, especially when it comes to location, rates, and overall packages.
Awesome things to do on Fitzroy Island
Fitzroy Island is a gem of a tropical island that’s located just 45 minutes off the coast of Cairns. It’s accessible by Fast Cat, a ferry that travels to the small island from Cairns. Fitzroy Island is located at a prime spot right in the center of the Great Barrier Reef. It’s a hub for snorkeling, scuba diving, and glass-bottom boat tours. For those who are more adventurous, you also have the option of going via kaya or stand-up paddleboard.
Because it’s located at such a sweet spot on the reef, Fitzroy Island is most often talked about with regard to ocean activities. However, the island also has other attractions: it’s a great place for hiking, trekking, and camping. It also houses the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre which is a great place for animal lovers. Schedule a visit and you’ll find yourself filled with hope for the future as turtles are nurtured back to health.
The island also features delicious dining options. From steak houses to on-the-beach barbeques at sunset. If you’re looking to get a feel of Australian flavors, then a visit to Fitzroy will definitely be a great option for you.
Keep reading and we’ll take you through some of these activities so you can choose the best ones for your island vacation.
Exploring the Great Barrier Reef
No matter your personality, you can find a way to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef. Those who like the outdoors and prefer to be in the middle of the action can jump into the water, whether it’s to snorkel or to go deep-diving.
Those who prefer the comforts of the indoors have the option of booking a Glass Bottom Boat tour, which features a marine biologist as a guide to the reef’s ocean life. There are also options that strike a balance between action and calmness: you can choose to go kayaking or to explore the waters on a submersible boat.
Fitzroy Island’s prime vantage point allows you to see the magic of the Great Barrier Reef up close and personal. The island has two main beaches that you can choose from Welcome Bay and Nudey Beach, both of which offer different experiences of the Great Barrier Reef. You can also opt to book the 3-Hour Guided Sea Kayaking Tour, which gives you access to private beaches and remote snorkeling spots.
Turtle Rehabilitation Centre
The Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre is the pride of Fitzroy Island. It’s run 100% by volunteers and has one rationale and purpose: to nurse sick and injured turtles from the reef until they’re ready to rejoin the wilderness.
If you love animals, nature, and turtles, then this is a stop that you can’t miss. The center is open from 1:00 PM, but all of the visits are done by appointment. Each visit is immersive and will allow tourists to see the volunteers’ good work.
Giant Ocean Trampoline
This is hands down one of Fitzroy Island’s most sought-after attractions. Whether you’re a kid or just young at heart, this fun trampoline stands right in the ocean, 25 meters off of Welcome Bay. There are even all-day passes that allow you to bounce as much as you want!
Walking & Hiking Tracks
Fitzroy Island’s landmass is made up mostly of National Park which features a vast canopy of greenery, diverse vegetation, and rich fauna. It’s the perfect place to go hiking because everywhere you look there’s something spectacular to see.
The island has a number of tracks, each designed to suit a different age range and fitness level.
Highlighted below are some of the most popular hiking tracks on Fitzroy Island.
Secret Garden Track
This light 1km stroll is perfect for beginners and those who are just looking to sight-see. It takes around an hour and forty-five minutes, at a leisurely pace. It allows you to be immersed in the stunning view and gives you a chance to point out the island’s diverse animal life.
Nudey Beach Track
Nudey Beach is also made for beginners–but this time, it skims the view of the coast. If you’re more interested in the beach rather than the forest, but still want to go on a hike then this is perfect for you. For forty-five minutes, you get to see part of the forest and part of the ocean, giving you the best of both worlds.
The Summit Track is the most advanced one on the island. You have to be very fit and need to have very good coordination. The track features very steep ups and downs and the Boulder Trail can be very prone to accidents. That said, exploring this track is worth the physical toll. You get a great view of coastal woodland and end at the summit (its namesake) where you get a bird’s eye view of the island.
© Mike Cloud / Depositphotos.com
Food & Accommodation
Fitzroy Island has a lot of great activities and experiences to offer which can often leave you very tired. You’ll need a good place to get some rest and relaxation. Check out the island’s various accommodation options; from rainforest bungalows to oceanfront suites. You’ll find that there’s something for everyone, backpackers, couples and families alike.
The island also has one General Store which sells snacks and drinks that are unique to the island. And you can watch the sunset from the island’s famed Foxy’s Bar which is perfect for your laidback vacation.
If you’ve always wanted to see the Great Barrier Reef but just haven’t gotten around to booking a trip, there’s no time like the present!
This guest post is written by Sophie Armstrong who is passionate about solo travel and always on the hunt for new adventures and experiences. She prides herself on finding the best local hotspots and untouched secrets everywhere she goes.