ISLANDS FROM CAIRNS
Island day trips accessible from Cairns include Green, Fitzroy, Frankland and Low Isles. These stunning islands are all diverse with their own unique features and highlights. Fringing reef surrounds the islands where you can snorkel directly off the beach, and walking tracks through lush rainforest allow you to explore the different flora and fauna.
Green Island is a popular daytripper option from Cairns. Situated just 27km offshore and a short 45 minute ferry ride, there are a number of departures throughout the day making this a great option for families or people short of time.
Formed over 6000 years ago, Green Island is actually a coral cay. With a build up of sand sediments, coral and other debris, Green Island become home to a diverse range of flora and fauna. Today the island supports a range of vegetation, and out of the 300 coral cays in the Great Barrier Reef, Green Island is the only one with a rainforest!
Activities available include snorkelling, scuba diving, sea walker helmut dive, glass bottom boat tours, semi submersible tours, kayak hire, island eco boardwalk, parasailing, Marineland Melanesia and helicopter tours. There are also plenty of facilities on the island including coin lockers, wheelchair facilities, boardwalk pathways, swimming pool, pool bar, restaurant, casual grill, ice cream shop, resort shop, dive shop, massage salon and beach hire
Fitzroy Island is one of the most unspoiled islands on the Great Barrier Reef, with 97 percent of the four square kilometre continental island covered in tropical rainforest and protected within the Fitzroy Island National Park.
Located just a 45-minute ferry ride (about 30 km) from Cairns, Fitzroy is much loved by Cairns locals and tourists alike. Some of the activities you can participate in while visiting Fitzroy Island include walking and hiking trails, snorkelling, swimming, sea kayaking, ocean trampoline and viewing the reef by glass bottom boat.
Raging Thunder includes use of the Ocean Trampoline in the cost of the ferry transfers and also offers the lowest price for return ferry transfers. Raging Thunder owns the Beach Hire Hut and also offers Activity passes that include Beach Hire equipment and lunch. Raging Thunder offers Sea Kayaking tour packages. Raging Thunder Ferry departs at 9am daily and departs the island at 4.30pm in the afternoon.
Fitzroy Island Fast Cat is owned by Fitzroy Island Resort. Fitzroy Island Fast Cat departs at 8am, 11am and 1.30pm from Cairns Marina. Fitzroy Island Fast Cat do not have a counter at the Reef Fleet Terminal or an office in the city so you will need to pre-book the ferry. Departures from the Island are at 9.30am, 12.15pm and 5pm. If you are a resort guest please note these times when booking flights.
All ferrys take 45-50 minutes to get to the Island. Fast Cat is the name of the ferry but it is not actually faster than Raging Thunder or Sunlover vessels.
Parents please note: Students 17 years or younger who are not travelling with adult supervision you will need to book Raging Thunder ferry tickets. Fitzroy Island Fast Cat will send students back on the next ferry if they do not carry ID stating they are 18 years old.
Fitzroy Island has one boutique resort offering 4 types of guest accommodation.
The island is also home to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, with tours taking place daily.
Reef trips visiting Fitzroy Island include:
- Raging Thunder Adventures
- Fitzroy Island Fast Cat
- Sunlover Reef Cruises
TRAVSTAR REEF & ISLAND FUN PACKAGE
The 3 Night Reef & Island Fun
View the Reef & Island Fun Package Here
The Reef & Island Fun is our most popular & best value Fitzroy Island package.
This 3 night package offers a magical tropical rainforest island experience combined with a daytrip to the Outer Barrier Reef with Sunlover Cruises. Ideal for families and couples, here you can experience the crystal clear waters of the Great Barrier Reef with contemporary resort accommodation, creating a memorable Island experience.
- 3 nights accommodation on Fitzroy Island Resort
- Return ferry transfers from Cairns
- Sunlover Great Barrier Reef cruise including lunch
- Semi-Submarine tour at Reef
We also offer a 4 Night Reef & Island Fun Package option.
4 Night Reef & Island Fun Package
The Frankland Islands comprise of High, Normanby, Mabel, Round and Russell that lie about 10 km offshore from the mouth of the Russell and Mulgrave rivers at Russell Heads, about 45 km south-east of Cairns.
Frankland Islands Cruises depart daily from Deeral, taking passengers to Normanby Island. The day includes a river cruise, reef and island experience with snorkelling, diving, semi submersible tours and guided island tours just some of the activities taking place on the day.
The Low Isles is located 15 km (8 nautical miles) off the coast of Port Douglas and is made up of two islands, Woody Island an uninhabited coral/mangrove island and Low Island, a sandy coral cay typical of the Great Barrier Reef. A calm lagoon area that sits between the two islands provides the perfect snorkelling site.
Here you will find an abundance of marinelife including fusiliers, sweet-lip, angelfish and plenty of turtles! The island is perfect for young children and beginner snorkellers. Low Isles has also been a research station since the late 1920’s and is still the site of significant research for the Great Barrier Reef. Sailing trips depart daily from Port Dougals to the Low Isles and coach transfers from Cairns can be organised.
Reef trips visiting the Low Isles include:
- Quicksilver's Wavedancer
- Aquarius Sail & Snorkel
Bedarra Island is home to an exclusive resort and a privately owned section has luxury holiday homes and caretakers living on the island.
Bedarra Island is part of the Family group of islands. In 1770 Captain Cook was the first European to sail past the island as he made his way up the eastern coast of Australia. His achievement in weaving his way through the unchartered waters of the Great Barrier Reef is, by any measure, one of the marvels of navigation.
On 8 June, 1770 Cook sailed the Endeavour into a group of islands which he named the Family Group. This islands comprised Coonanglebah (which Cook renamed 'Dunk' after Lord Montague Dunk, the Earl of Sandwich and First Lord of the Admiralty) 'The Father', Bedarra 'The Mother', Toolghar and Coomba 'The Twins' and Kurrumbah, Budjoo and Coolah 'The Triplets.'
In his journal Cook describes finding 'a parcel of Small Islands laying off the Northern point of the Bay, and, finding a Channel of a Mile broad between the 3 Outermost and those nearer the Shore, we pushed through. While we did this we saw on one of the nearest islands a Number of Natives collected together, who seemed to look very attentively upon the Ship; they were quite naked, and of a very Dark Colour, with short hair.'
These Aborigines called Bedarra 'Biagurra'. Later it would become Allason Island and, reputedly because E. J. Banfield (see Dunk Island) did not hear Biagurra correctly, it became Bedarra.
The island was first settled by Europeans when Captain Henry Allason bought the island from the Queensland Lands Department for £20 in 1913. The island then went through a number of ownership changes until 1957 when Ken and Cynthia Druitt bought the island and subsequently opened a small resort.
The Frankland Islands are a unique Great Barrier Reef experience. There is one day trip ex Cairns to Normandy Island which offers a comprehensive reef system displaying the features of a coral cay and continental island.
This is the only tour to visit Frankland Islands daily, so you will not be surrounded by large crowds. It is a true island escape!
Your day begins and finishes with a gentle cruise along the Mulgrave river. An interesting commentary provides an insight into the river environment and mangroves.
Snorkelling and reef viewing are easily accessed from the beach. The guided snorkelling trails offer a simple and comprehensive introduction to the reef and provide an excellent opportunity to observe this diverse marine environment.
Leisurely island walks explore the rainforest and surrounding rock pools and reef flats. You will be amazed at what your guide will show you along the way.
Lunch includes a selection from the barbecue complimented by fresh salads, prawns and tropical fruits under the cool shade of the large canopy among the trees.
A day at Normanby Island can also offer a fabulous dive experience for either the certified diver or the uninitiated adventurer looking forward to an introductory dive with an experienced dive instructor. Normanby Island is a sanctuary for the Green Sea Turtle and diving affords a rare glimpse of this elusive creature. Staghorns, plate corals and bombies are abundant and the many species of fish and other marine life make the Frankland Islands a divers delight.
Your Day Includes:
- Guided snorkelling tour
- Coral viewing tours from semi-submersible or glass bottom boat
- Guided Island walk with informative commentary throughout the day
- Mulgrave River cruise
- Tropical BBQ lunch (vegetarian available)
- Morning and afternoon tea
- Return transfers to your accommodation
- Diving available at extra cost
What to bring:
Hat, sunscreen, comfortable shoes, swimmers and a towel. You will be transferred from our boat to the Island by dingy so footwear may get wet.
Camping is available on neighbouring Russell Island. Permits must be obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency prior to arrival.
Often you are the only campers on this tropical island paradise. Being a National Park, you will need to bring all your own gear, including cooking equipment. You cannot burn any wood on the island and you must bring all your rubbish back with you.