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.

The Frankland Islands

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.

Low Isles

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).

Dunk Island

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.

Lizard Island

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.

Dreamy Sand Cays

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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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

It’s hard to imagine that a creature barely visible to the human eye could create monoliths that dominate the landscape of #CapeYork 😲 These termite mounds are an awesome spectacle, but have also puzzled scientists - why do the termites build them like this? 🤔 There's been speculations that it protects them from heat, wind or possibly to allow for quick drying as they build 🔨 What do you think? 🌴☀️

📸 @zanders.odyssey #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia 

[ID: couple standing in front of termite mounts, that are almost double their size in height. They are surrounded by bushy green trees and grass, with a dirt road in the foreground]
POV: walking through the rainforest canopy at @mamutropicalskywalk 🌴

📸 @_clare.louise_ #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Winter in the outback? Now that’s what we call heaven ☀️ If you’re visiting @cobboldgorge, don’t forget to book a boat or SUP tour 🛶 There’s no better way to get up close & personal with the beauty of the gorge ✨ Beneath your board, native fish dart through the waters & beside you, the sandstone walls soar 19 metres high! 🐠⛰

📸 @hjones0710 #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia 

[ID: People in a small boat travelling through Cobbold Gorge. The water is green and blue in colour and surrounded by towering sandstone cliffs]
PSA excessive caffeine was consumed in the making of this video ☕️ Before the Monday morning blues hit, pick your perfect coffee stop in Cairns 😌

📍 @wharfonecairns
📍 @thechamberscairns
📍 @succulivingandco
📍 @guyalacafe
📍 @thenookcairns

#explorecairnsGBR #exploreTNQ #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Holy shark…whale shark that is! 🦈

This guy came to visit the @greatadventurescruises semi-sub recently and really livened up these lucky guests’ reef trip 🤿🐠

Have you seen anything quite like this on your trip to the @gbrmarinepark? 😱

#explorecairnsGBR #exploreTNQ #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
C’mon give us a smooch 💋

The team at @descentproductions came face to snorkel with this 240lb potato cod at the famous Cod Hole off the coast of @tropicalnorthqueensland 🤿🐠

#explorecairnsGBR #exploreTNQ #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Just a couple of Papuan Frogmouths caught by the paps 🎥 Much like our fan favourites the Tawny Frogmouth, these guys aren't actually owls at all 🦉 They are part of the Nocturnal Nightjar family, and are the largest of the Frogmouths in length 🌴🪶 Although the Papuan Frogmouth is common, they’re masters of disguise, meaning they can be hard to spot to even by the sharpest pair of eyes 👀

📸 @matti_rambo_shoots #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia 

[ID: close up of two Papuan Frogmouth birds (similar in appearance to owls) sitting on a branch staring at the camera]
t's not hard to see why Mena Creek Falls has been enchanting visitors to @paronellapark forever 🏰🍃 Have you been here before?

📸 @_rochelleryan_ #explorecairnsGBR #exploreTNQ #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia

[ID: aerial of person standing on the bridge at Mena Creek Falls, surrounded by lush greenery]

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