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

fitzroy island great barrier reef

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.

Dunk Island

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.

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.

Lizard Island aerial
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Lizard Island – The northern-most resort on the Great Barrier Reef

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Everything you need to know about Fitzroy Island

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Vlasoff Cay: the most incredible place to picnic

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Sleep tight in paradise

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8 Island Campsites on the Great Barrier Reef

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Dreamy sand cays you must visit on the Great Barrier Reef

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Reef Talk – A chat with marine biologist Gareth Phillips

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Luxury places to rest your head

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Accessible Travel in Cairns & Palm Cove

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Clown fish in an anenone

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

Unrivalled coastal views weave through natural World Heritage wonders in @portdouglasdaintree & #OakBeach is no exception 🌴⛵ Just 10 minutes from #PortDouglas, ​Oak Beach is a sleepy beachfront haven, perfect spot for a secluded stay ✨ ️

📸 @vali.visuals #exploreTNQ #seeaustralia #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland
POV: selfies at @kurandakoalagardens 🐨🤳

​One of the top experiences in @australia is to say hi to our furry friends 🐨👋 @kurandavillage is home to many of our tropical wild friends, so where better to go animal-spotting than at one of Kuranda’s many wildlife gardens and sanctuaries like Kuranda Koala Gardens, one of the very few places in the country where you cuddle a Koala for a souvenir photo! 🎥💫

#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
If you're after a palm & relaxing holiday, @visitpalmcove has got you covered 🌴😉

Just a short 30 minute drive north of #Cairns, this tiny beachside village isn’t all about drop & flop 🌴🐚 Explore the town on foot, or choose a bike instead of car & buy fresh seafood for a sunset barbecue on the beach 🏖 You can hire a kayak & paddle right off the beach or take a tour to nearby Double Island 🍹🏝 The Palm Cove jetty is a great fishing spot, with plenty of Spanish mackerel, cod, whiting, stripeys & flathead to be caught 🎣

📸 @stvzie #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Discover the stunning #BlencoeFalls in #GirringunNationalPark 🌴 Where #BlencoeCreek plunges & cascades in spectacular fashion to the bottom of a deep gorge 💦🦋 With towering cliffs & rugged ridges, Blencoe Falls is the gateway to the @wettropicsworldheritage  Great Walk 🏃🏻‍♀️ Explore 110km of walking tracks, offering everything from short strolls to full day hikes 🙌🏼🥾

📸 @wunez #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
@silkyoakslodge is putting a new spin on ‘feeling green’ 🌴💚

If you like your rainforest wilderness with a side of luxury, this is the place for you! 
Set deep in the rainforest of @portdouglasdaintree, the newly refurbished Silky Oaks really delivers following its multimillion dollar rebuild, with dreamy treehouses & an idyllic onsite spa 🧖‍♀️✨

Don’t forget to take a dip in your very own balcony bath 💦 

📸 @jilarapearl #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #portdouglasdaintree #silkyoakslodge
This isn’t your every day photo of a tropical paradise, but around here, we’re not limited to just reef & rainforest - we’ve got outback tracks too! 🏜

Say hello to Rinyirru (Lakefield) National Park in #CapeYork ✨Open from June to December, this outback paradise is is renowned for its vast river systems & spectacular wetlands 🌴 The park has a rich & diverse landscape, with grasslands, woodlands, wetlands, coastal estuaries, mangroves & mudflats even! You can also find sandstone hills & escarpments on the southern end of the park 😍 It’s also a place of local Aboriginal significance, with sites associated with occupation, ceremonies & stories of ancestral spirits found throughout the park 👣 

📸 @true.north.adventures #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Here’s to the mums that fill our lives with adventures in the tropics 🌺

How are you celebrating Mother’s Day? ✨🌴

📸 @megannamourr #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Here’s a cassowary joke for your morning - Why did the cassowary cross the road? 🤔 To prove he wasn’t a chicken 🐓😝

There’s not many places you can spot the elusive Southern Cassowary as you take a leisurely stroll down the street, but @tropicalnorthqueensland is one of them! 🏝 #EttyBay is one of the most popular spot to see cassowaries in the wild, they’ll often be seen wondering around near the beach 🙌 Did you know that there are approximately 700 plant species endemic to the @wettropicsworldheritage area? And almost 100 species that heavily depend on the cassowary to distribute their seeds 🌴😲

No wonder it’s called the Cassowary Coast 😉

📸 @copperdonkeyphoto #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #cassowarycoast

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