Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Great Barrier Reef are some of the most popular attractions in Queensland and favourite destinations along the east coast of Australia. Perhaps less well known is Fitzroy Island, a must-visit tropical island that is just an hour by boat from Cairns.
Cairns is a port city and a destination for water activities such as sailing, snorkelling and diving. If you have the time, spend a day or two on Fitzroy Island. With its tropical ambience, this island promises a truly unique getaway. Fitzroy Island is a continental island that was connected to the mainland over 10,000 years ago. It originated as part of the coastal Malbon Thompson mountain range, which includes Bellenden Ker, Mount Bartle Frere and Walsh’s Pyramid. When the Ice Age ended approximately 8,000 years ago the rising waters from the melting ice caps flooded the valley between Fitzroy and the other mountain peaks, leaving it an isolated island. Fitzroy Island is actually the top of a submerged mountain. Most of the island’s water comes from a natural freshwater spring originating in the tablelands near Mareeb and surfacing in the national park bush behind the main complex.
Stay and Relax
Fitzroy Island Resort is perfectly located between rainforest and beach. The only resort on the island, Fitzroy Island Resort gives guests the best of both worlds during their stay. Open since 2000, the resort offers 99 rooms, including studios, one- and two-bedroom apartments and beach cabins. Constructed and designed with the highest standards, the resort offers affordably priced luxury accommodation.
Never-Ending Water Activities
This tropical island teems with fun water activities for visitors of all ages. Start your day at Nudey Beach and Welcome Bay, the perfect for swimming and snorkelling, letting you explore the beautiful colours of the fringing reef and the marine life, which includes clown fish and sea turtles. Hit the Adventure Centre for more ocean adventures, including riding single or double kayaks with glass portals. A certified professional diver will accompany you as you explore the beauty of Fitzroy’s underwater kingdom. Glass Bottom Boat Tours are also available at the resort.
Fitzroy Island is part of a national park and fishing in the area is strictly regulated and subject to zoning and boundary conditions to protect the World Heritage Site. The island also has safe anchorage facilities for private boats, including providing eight A class public moorings. In order to protect the marine park, it’s important to only anchor on sand and avoid shallow beach access to the island. For those planning to visit the island by private boat, please visit the Fitzroy Island Government Parks website for more information.
Save the Turtle
I had a chance to visit the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre while staying at the resort. This sea turtle rehab centre is a non-profit organization that operates by donations. One of the most common problems is floaters syndrome, an obstruction that occurs in the turtle’s gut causing air to become trapped between the shell and the body, impacting the turtle’s ability to dive down to the seagrass beds to eat.
Need to Know
Most of Fitzroy is part of a National Island Park. The island also includes mangroves, open woodland, tropical pristine rainforest and coral beaches. Absolutely spend some time exploring the island by the walking trails, bird-watching, snorkelling and exploring the beaches.
Text by Priscilla Picauly | Photos courtesy of Fitzroy Island Resort