Experience the true tropical lifestyle at one of the many islands that dot the coast of the Far North
Known for its stunning scenery and remote location, Lizard Island is an exclusive holiday destination an hour’s flight north of Cairns. For those who can afford to stay at the luxury resort, they revel in the crystal-clear waters and their excellent 5-star service.
Double Island is the closest of all islands to the coast. Just off the headland at Palm Cove, many locals even take kayaks out from Palm Cove and paddle out to this postcard perfect location.
Green Island is a small Coral Sand Cay just a short boat ride from Cairns and is probably the most visited island by tourists. It is a relatively small island and all facilities (including a resort) are located close to the wharf. There are glass bottom boat tours as well as an underwater viewing location – so you don’t need to get wet unless you want to. The coral that surrounds the island is nice, though if you’d like to experience vibrant reef life, they some tour companies have package deals that take you from the island to the outer wall. Boats depart and return twice a day from the Reef Fleet Terminal located at the Cairns pier.
Fitzroy Island is a favourite with the locals. Its beaches are stunning and the water is crystal clear, thanks to the tiny pieces of coral and shell that lines the shore. Although there are camping facilities there, the recently built Fitzroy Island Resort is a great place to unwind in luxury. The main beach near the pier is where most of the day trippers relax, but you will find some locals take an extra five-minute walk around to the unspoilt Nudie beach. There is excellent snorkelling around this cove and its rocky outcrops. Boats depart and return twice a day from the Reef Fleet Terminal. Grab a 10% discount at Fitzroy Island Resort when you book online using the discount code “FNQ”.
If you enjoy being amongst the elements, then look no further than the Frankland Islands Group. Including High, Normanby, Mabel, Round and Russell Islands – this group rests around 10km off the coast line at 45km south-east of Cairns. There is a tour group which operate day-trips to Normanby Island with transfers from the city. This same group offer transfers to neighbouring Russell Island for those willing to camp the night. Alternatively, if you know of someone with their own boat and you have a camping permit, you can pitch a tent on your own.
One of the most beautiful tropical rainforest islands in Australia, Dunk Island is a treat to behold. Although once having a world-class 5-star resort, a tropical cyclone in 2011 badly damaged the property and is still under reconstruction. However, there are more facilities than the virgin Franklin Islands, so camping overnight is an authentic way to experience the island. With many walking tracks and beautiful beaches to explore, you won’t be bored on Dunk Island. There are transfers from Mission Beach which is two hours south of Cairns.
Travelling 3 hours south of Cairns, you’ll be able to view the beauty of Hinchinbrook Island. It is Australia’s largest island national park and is an adventurer’s dream. There are several hikes available on the island with some lasting 7 days! Though, if you only have a few hours up your sleeve, there are day trips available via Cardwell or Lucinda. With two waterfalls and diverse wildlife, this island is worth getting lost in! Don’t though…
You’ll need to go on a road trip for this island, but I assure you that Magnetic Island is well worth it. A 25-minute ferry from Townsville, Magnetic Island is an island community of just over 2,000 residents. The “island life” culture rings true with the nonchalant locals – including the sleepy koalas who are seen chilling out in the eucalypt forests. Unlike the Cairns Region in the north and the Whitsunday Region in the south, Magnetic Island has one of the lowest rainfalls in the area, meaning they have clear skies nearly all year-round. The beaches are world class and the island is home to the renown monthly Full Moon Parties. With activities for people from all walks of life, we’re sure you’ll find something attractive at Magnetic Island.