Upon arriving in Cairns we promptly boarded a ferry to Fitzroy Island (it’s a beautiful 45 minute commute), where we stayed at the resort for 2 nights in complete paradise. It’s a tropical paradise of rainforest and beaches surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef. It’s much less touristy then Green Island and both family friendly or great for a romantic escape.
Housing two restaurants, a general store, dive shop, and the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, it is probably as close to heaven as I could ask for. The water is warm and we snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef multiple times a day, hiked the mountaintop in the evenings and otherwise hung out by the pool, relaxing the day away. Everything is in easy walking proximity of each other and no cars are needed to get around.
There really is no bad spot to snorkel and meet some exotic fish and turtles although Nudey Beach (which don’t be mislead, it’s illegal to swim naked in Australia) offers a lovely swim around the rocks.
The island also houses the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, where for a minimal fee (of which all goes to aiding the turtles recovery), you can meet the patients. What’s so great as well is you can track the turtle’s recovery on Facebook to see when they will be going back into their natural habitat. http://www.saveourseaturtles.com.au/fitzroy-project.html
Bring water shoes since it is a coral-stern beach with limited sand and your hiking shoes if you plan on taking the trail up the mountain for magnificent views of the sunset and coast. While it’s too challenging to get to, a fun fact is Fitzroy Island is Australia’s last staffed lighthouse.
While there are tent camping accommodations, we highly recommend staying at the Fitzroy Resort. They offer studios and beachfront cabins all the way up to two bedroom apartments.
Our room was perfection with views overlooking the beach and loads outdoor activities to do during the day – snorkeling, diving, boating options, kayaks, paddle boarding… they also offer a diving school. All accommodations can be made at the front desk or dive shop.
The property also houses a game room and movie theatre where they play a few movies a day (you check the board for the daily show times). And if you’re worried about being too disconnected the island just got wi-fi in the restaurants and lobby area for a $5/day fee.
Make sure while you’re there to hike the Summit trail in the early evening so you hit the sunset (bring a head lamp for the return as it gets dark quickly). While there are built in steps, it is a bit of a climb so allow 3 hours round trip.
While we suggest staying at least one night, there are day trips available. The Fitzroy Resort also offers great packages.
Learn more at fitzroyisland.com