Green island from the air

Where to go

Islands

A String of Jewel-like Islands

Scattered up the coast of Tropical North Queensland are islands that range from tiny uninhabited strips of sand to private ultra-luxury resorts.

These islands are places that will fill you with peace, take away your problems and leave you with a sense of pure adventure and child-like wonder

Jemma Craig – photographer and Green Island resident

Walking on the Fitzroy island jetty

MILES OF ISLES

In Tropical North Queensland, there’s an island for everyone – from experienced divers to novice snorkellers, from flop-and-drop sunbakers to avid hikers, from those looking for luxury to those who want to rough it. For families and first-timers, Green Island is the place to test the waters. It’s one of only three true coral cays in the Great Barrier Reef and there’s sheltered snorkelling right off the beach. Fitzroy Island is another local favourite and its rainforest-covered hills are threaded with hiking trails, including the picturesque Secret Garden track. There are resorts on both islands, but they are also easily accessible as a day-trip from Cairns.

Manta ray swimming

THE UNDERWORLD

There are five islands in the uninhabited Frankland Islands group, about 45km south of Cairns. Only one tourist boat visits each day with a maximum of 100 passengers, making for a genuine “castaway” experience. The islands are surrounded by spectacular fringing reefs, home to majestic green turtles and manta rays.

Low isles with light house

A LOVELY LAGOON

Low Isles is a good reef option, just 15km off the coast from Port Douglas. The protected lagoon waters are ideal for beginners who shouldn’t be surprised if a marine turtle floats by.

Beer and prawns beside the beach

CIRCLE OF GREEN

Just off the coast from Mission Beach, Dunk Island is a rainforest-covered paradise fringed with palm trees and golden sand beaches. More than half the island is a national park, with plenty of walking and hiking trails. The resort is currently closed, however there are camping facilities and a small cafe (but be sure to bring your own supplies).

Edge pool at Lizard island resort

THE LUX REPORT

Luxury travellers will fall in love with Lizard and Bedarra islands. Lizard Island, off the coast of Cape York, is a 1000ha national park with 24 beaches and one ultra-luxe resort, the most northerly in the Great Barrier Reef. Bedarra Island is a small, rainforest-covered gem just offshore from Mission Beach and home to one exclusive resort and a handful of holiday villas.

Mackay sand cay

INTO THE BLUE

Mackay Cay off Cape Tribulation offers excellent snorkelling in its impossibly clear water; while Hinchinbrook – the largest island national park in the country – is home to the 32km Thorsborne Trail, the ideal way to discover the island’s untouched beauty and bountiful wildlife.

Tips

  • If you’re planning to camp on one of the islands, make sure you book your permit early. There are only limited spaces and they can fill up quickly, especially during school holidays. Remember that you can only camp in designated areas.

  • Most of the islands in Tropical North Queensland are close to shore, so can be easily reached for a day-trip. If you plan to visit a few, you can stay on the mainland and venture out each day.

Discover More

Find the best islands for snorkelling, diving, hiking and watersports, plus accommodation to suit every style and budget.

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Getting here

  • helicopter on a sand cay

    By air

    Helicopter transfers are available between Cairns, Green Island and Bedarra Island. Private charter services operate between Cairns and Lizard Island for guests of Lizard Island Resort and liveaboard vessels; Mike Ball Dive Expeditions and Spirit of Freedom. Daily touring options are available to Lizard Island with Daintree Air Services.

  • Sunlover boat at Fitzroy island

    By boat/ferry

    Boats depart daily with ferry transfers services to Dunk Island, Bedarra Island, Green Island, Fitzroy Island, Frankland Islands and Low Isles. Private charters or liveaboard dive vessels offer a unique journey to Lizard Island.

Stay

Enjoy a little resort living on the Great Barrier Reef.

#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR

Happy Tuesday from our adorable friend Rosie 🥺 Did you know that the red-legged pademelon is the only ground dwelling wallaby that lives in the @wettropicsworldheritage rainforests? 🦘🍃 
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Rosie was rescued in #CapeTribulation & is now having a great time at @daintreeicecream 🍦🌿 (we know we wouldn't mind spending our days with an ice cream company 😉)
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#exploreTNQ ​#explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Nestled deep within a 180 million-year-old rainforest, @mossmangorge is the unbelievably beautiful home of the Kuku Yalanji people ✨🌿 Before you explore the pristine waters of the gorge itself, or head off on a cultural experience in the rainforest, take some time to peruse the gallery & sample the local food at Mossman Gorge Centre 🍃🦋
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​📸 @luciemadra #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #seeaustralia #thisisqueensland
Have you ever dreamed of waking up on a volcano crater?! 🌋 Didn't know it was a thing? Let us introduce @mtquincan on the @athertontablelands 😲☀️ This luxury hideaway is the perfect romantic escape, designed specifically for couples (read, no kids!) 🥰 Each pole cabin features stunning views, fireplaces for those cool hinterland evenings and a double spa. Ahhh, the ultimate romantic trifecta! 💖🔥
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​📹 @phlipvids #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Gooood morning from #EllisBeach ☀️🌴 Who wouldn't mind taking a leaf out of @vanlifestraya's book and waking up here? ☕️ Located only 5mins north of #PalmCove on the #GreatBarrierReefDrive, you'll find the Ellis Beach Oceanfront Bungalows. @vanlifestraya recommend getting here early to secure an unpowered spot at the end right by the beach 🏖 If you're there on a Sunday arvo, pop down to @ellisbeachbargrill dollar oysters & live music 🦪 If not, they're open daily serving delicious meals, coffee & cold drinks of course 🍻
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​#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
When you think of #CapeYork you may think of dusty roads or secluded beaches, but did you know it’s also peppered with its fair share of stunning waterfalls & swimming holes? 😲💦 #TrevathanFalls lies just south of #Cooktown in the northernmost reaches of the @wettropicsworldheritage bioregion 🌿 After taking a refreshing dip here, head to Cooktown for sunset at #GrassyHillLookout overlooking the mouth of the Endeavour River followed by a feast of local seafood at @sovereignresort 🦐🎣

⚠️ Always be croc-wise in croc country and only swim at designated swimming holes that you know are safe. 

📸 @evjocks #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
A chain of relaxed seaside villages lay just north of #Cairns including stunning #CliftonBeach 🌴 Neighbouring its more famous sibling #PalmCove, you can take a short walk or cycle between the two beaches to find your own secluded patch of sand under the swaying palms ⛱  Consider stopping in at local Clifton Beach favourite @cocomojos for a bite to eat from their world-inspired menu. You won't be disappointed! 🤤🍹 
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​ 📸 @mycolourfulworld_ #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
The road to #MountSorrow will have you feeling anything but 😅 Sure, the hike to the top may be tough, but the climb is compensated by the spectacular views over the #DaintreeRainforest & all the way to the sea 🌿⛰ ​@steve_jl_photography captured this incredible shot on the winding road to the aforementioned peak & loved the moody vibes you'll find at this time of year thanks to the nourishing tropical rain 🌧
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​#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
With unobstructed views of the beautiful Coral Sea 🌊 & rainforest-clad mountain ranges ⛰ #RexSmealPark in @portdouglasdaintree is a popular spot for visitors to catch a glimpse of the sunset over the @gbrmarinepark 🐠 It’s the perfect place to pull up a chair under the palms & have a picnic with the family 🧺🌴
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​📸 @cheriebowman #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Charley's Chocolate | Roads Less Travelled. Chocaholics rejoice! Did you know that there are cocoa farms in the region that produce their very own decadent chocolate? 🍫😲

Meet @charleyschocolate one of the region's local chocolatier's based in #MissionBeach. @roadslesstravelled_tv recently visited and found out all there is to know about making this world-favourite treat 🤤

Happy Easter! 🐣😉

#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
It’s finally the holidays & we can smell the chocolate already 🍫

If you’re looking for some family fun this holidays, head to @wildlifehabitat & say hello to some adorable furry friends 🐨🌴 

We know where you wallaby this weekend 🦘😉
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​#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia

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