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.

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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

The Great Barrier Reef is a thriving, living marine environment. It inspires all who visit, even those who see it every day, like marine biologist and owner of Reef Teach, Gareth Phillips.

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Luxury places to rest your head

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Secret Beaches & Coves of Mission Beach

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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

There’s not many places you can spot the elusive Southern Cassowary as you stroll along the beach, but @tropicalnorthqueensland is one of them! 🏝 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 🌴😲

Here’s a cassowary joke for your Saturday morning - Why did the cassowary cross the road? 🤔 To prove he wasn’t a chicken 🐓😝
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​📸 @brandon_troy_gifford__ #explorecairnsGBR #exploreTNQ #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Science tip: you can tell the difference between an alligator & a crocodile by paying close attention to whether it sees you later or in a while 🐊👋 This magnificent beast was spotted hanging out just off the coast of the #CapeTribulation in @portdouglasdaintree 🌿✨ 

You can spot crocs for yourself on a wildlife tour like @solar_whisper, or if outdoor wildlife encounters aren’t your cup of tea, get a photo with a local at @hartleyscrocodileadventures 📸 Peer into the life of @rainforestation's 5 metre monster, Jack the Ripper 😱 Maybe even fly over @cairnszoom's resident croc, Goliath 🐊🍃
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📸 @tribegonetravelling  #seeaustralia #thisisqueensland #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR
About 30 minutes north of #Cairns, #PalmCove is a tiny beachside village centred around an esplanade lined with trees upon trees 🌴☀️ Walk around barefoot, choose a bike instead of a car & buy fresh seafood for a sunset barbecue on the beach 🦐🌺 You can hire a kayak & paddle right off the beach or head out to nearby #DoubleIsland 🏝 The Palm Cove jetty is a great fishing spot, with plenty of Spanish mackerel, cod, whiting, stripeys and flathead to be caught 🎣
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​There's so much to explore in this sleepy village, what are you doing on your next trip? 
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​📸 @chelseamarloww #exploreTNQ #thisisqueensland #explorecairnsGBR #seeaustralia
Good greef, that’s one nice spot to snorkel 🐠😍

But let’s be real, pictures can’t quite do the Great Barrier Reef justice, it’s just something you’ll have to come & experience for yourself! 🌊 The ecosystem found here contains the largest collection of coral reefs on the planet! It’s also home to 400 types of coral, over 900 islands, 1500 species of fish & 4000 types of mollusc 🐟✨ Six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles & 40 per cent of the anemone species also call the reef home 🐢 The best way to see it? Hop aboard one of our incredible reef tours - click the bio link to book your tour 👆

Talk about ‘great’ 😉

​📸 @haylsa #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland  #seeaustralia #exploreTNQ
Encased in a moss covered alcove of #WooroonooranNationalPark, you'll unearth this gem on your walk to #NandroyaFalls 💦 📍Find the trailhead of the 6.6km walk at the Henrietta Creek camping area on along the Palmerston Highway on the @athertontablelands 🌿 Continue your journey for lunch at nearby @mungallicreek, for locally-made biodynamic cheese & dairy sure to blow your socks off 🧦
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​📸 @plentyofdust #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia  #exploreTNQ
Around here, palm trees are your frond 🌴😉 If ever the statement “so much to do, so little time” rang true of a destination, #Cairns would be the place 🙌 With the @gbrmarinepark in our front yard & the @wettropicsworldheritage rainforest out the back, the best thing you could bring to your @tropicalnorthqueensland holiday is time ⏰🐠

Click the bio link to find out how you can spend your time in Cairns 👆
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​📸 @kate_duffy #exploreTNQ #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #explorecairnsGBR

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