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

Flashback to December mornings in @portdouglasdaintree 🌅 There’s nothing more relaxing than starting your day as the sun comes up ☀️😍 Once you’re up & ready to start the day, there’s no shortage of things to explore 🌿✨ From resort spas & shopping to fine dining & beach days, you’ll spoilt for choice 🐚🥂
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​📸 @sarahwentsolo​ ​#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
If you like olives, we’ve got the bird for you 😉🌸 Meet Cinnyris jugularis, otherwise known as the olive-backed sunbird 🦜🌿 @pattomkinswildlife caught this cheeky girl poking tongues at the camera in @kurandavillage 😝✨ Haven’t had any luck spotting birds in the wild? Head over to @birdworld_kuranda to see over 60 species of native & exotic birds free-flying around you 🦅
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​#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
From luscious mangoes & exotic dragon fruit 🥥🥭 To juicy prawns & succulent mud crab 🦐🦀 There’s no shortage of delicious foods on offer @tropicalnorthqueensland 🍓🍇 If you’re wondering what time of year is best to stock up on yummy tropical snacks, the answer is right now! 🤤 Send your tastebuds on a treasure hunt in the tropics this summer 👅🍉

What’s your favourite tropical fruit? 🍍🥝

📸 @jessrunciman #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
What’s to love about the rainforest at this time of year? 🤔 Everything! 🙌 With the warm summer rains comes abundant wildlife & lush green rainforest 😍🦋 Now is the time to start exploring 🌿✨
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​📸 @jacintapink #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
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​📸 @mel.k.campbell #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #summergreat
What’s more majestic? A bird gliding through the air, or an eagle ray swimming through the ocean? 🌊🦅 How about a ray gliding through the sky? 😲 Eagle rays are extremely good swimmers & are able to leap several metres above the water (think whale & dolphin style) 🐬🐋 We hear there’s a family currently hanging out near #MackayReef ⛵️🐠 & @alwaysunderwater__ spotted this guy on his way home 🤿 Have you ever been swimming with an eagle ray? 😍 If you want the chance to spot this one, head out to the reef with @oceansafaricapetrib or @sailawayportdouglas 🙌✨ 
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​#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
There’s no denying that sunrises on the @athertontablelands are impressive 🌅 But watching the golden morning glow from the top of #WindinFalls certainly takes the cake 😍☀️ If you’re in #Cairns & want to be up early enough to catch the sunrise, you’ll have to set your alarm nice & early for the 2 hour drive & hour long hike to the top ⏰🥾
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​📸 @jessicanikia #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Is that a painting? 🎨 Nope, just some stunning water lilies at #LakeBarrine on the @athertontablelands 🌸 That’s not the only thing you’ll discover here! 🌿✨ Once an active volcano some 17,000 years ago, you can now explore underwater wonderland to swim alongside fish, turtles & more 🐠🐢 Or stay aboveground by kayaking or walking around the 6km rim for some breathtaking views 🌅 Don't forget to try the famous scones at @lake_barrine_teahouse too, their secret recipe will leave you wanting more ☕️
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​📸 @oceanic.brooke #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
I spy with my little eye, something small & fluffy 🐦 @phlipvids spotted Elvis the cassowary with one of his adorable chicks while onboard a cruise with @kuranda_riverboat 🌴🐢

Did you know 😲 The southern cassowary is one of the most important creatures in the rainforest, responsible for spreading tree seeds & keeping rainforest flora alive & thriving 🌿✨

⚠️ Remember: Keep your distance if you're lucky enough to see this avian icon in the wild 🌿👀

#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
We’ll never tire of the glorious waterfalls on the @athertontablelands, like #MillaaMillaaFalls 📍🌳 Nestled in tropical rainforest, this pristine waterfall is the perfect spot for a dip on a hot summers day ☀️🍃 We’re feeling a hair flip coming on 🌿✨
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​📸 @bvaskar_gallery #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Filled with nothing but tropical rainforests, white sandy beaches & magnificent coral reef, #SnapperIsland truly is a treat for the eyes 😍🌿 Popular with twitchers, kayakers & campers, this stunning island is also part of the traditional sea country of the Kuku Yalanji people who continue to hunt & fish around the area today 🏝✨
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​📸 @dianneswain #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Moody train rides & spectacular views of the Kuranda Range on board #KurandaScenicRailway 🌿✨ Discover the natural beauty of the @wettropicsworldheritage rainforest as you hop aboard one of the most picturesque railways in @australia 🚞 You’ll be weaving your way through mountain ranges & past stunning waterfalls as you travel through 15 handmade tunnels & across 37 breathtaking bridges 🦋⛰ Looking for a fancier ride? Sit back & relax in Gold class luxury as you enjoy a drink & dine on tasty local produce 🍇🥂
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​📸 @allen_tongol #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #summergreat #kuranda
We’re pretty sure this is a scene out of Finding Nemo ⛵️🐢 These little guys were spotted in abundance on a cruise with @wavelengthreefcruises & boy do they make it feel like a whole other world below the surface ✨🌊 

⚠️ While Moon Jellies may be beautiful & are generally considered harmless to humans, it’s still important to wear your protective suit while exploring the @gbrmarinepark 🤿🐠
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​Click the bio link to learn more about staying safe around jellyfish 👆
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​📸 @melbournemadness #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #portdouglasdaintree
With the first rains of the season comes some incredible waterfalls for you to discover & the @athertontablelands is just the place to start ☔️💙 To find this stunning waterfall, head towards the tiny town of #MillaaMillaa & follow the signs to waterfall wonderland ✨🦋 Is waterfall chasing your favourite summer activity? 🌺 Share your special summer moments with us by using #summergreat ☀️🌿
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⚠️ Take extra care when exploring waterfalls in summer & never venture into out of bounds zones, flooded waters or dangerous areas.
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​​📍 #MillaaMillaaFalls by @thewininghills
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 #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #athertontablelands
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Imogen, now downgraded to a low-pressure system, is currently bringing heavy rainfall across much of Tropical North Queensland ⛈ These rains are an essential part of the tropical weather cycle & play a vital role in the revitalisation of the plant & animal life post the drier period. The rainforest is beautiful & lush, waterfalls & creeks are flowing & it’s an incredible time to witness the power of nature 🌿🌱 

⚠️ Remain safe over this period by following the advice from @qldparks & never venturing into out of bounds areas, flooded waters or dangerous areas. Click on the travel alerts button in our bio for more info. ​
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​📍 Murray Falls by @mumpacktravel ​
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​#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #summergreat #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia

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