Which is the best Island to visit in the Great Barrier Reef?
Here’s a run-down of some of the best islands in the Great Barrier Reef:
- Haggerstone Island
- Hamilton Island
- Hayman Island
- Lady Elliot Island
- Fitzroy Island
- Green Island
- Orpheus Island
- Magnetic Island
- Bedarra Island
- Heron Island
- Lizard Island
This unique private island retreat is situated off the coast of the far North of Tropical North Queensland, it’s an all inclusive boutique resort and has been the life work of Roy and Anna Turner. This island was voted number one destination of the 21st century by Conde Nast and caters for a small number of guests who want to embrace the surrounding wilderness. Guests here can explore some of the most magnificent coral gardens in the world as well as shipwrecks.
This island is utterly remote, so definitely suited for those wanting some peace and quiet and those wanted a secluded opportunity to get back to nature.
Hamilton Island is nestled in the centre of the Whitsunday Islands and is covered in bushland and surrounded by reefs teeming with marine life. This is a great island for those who wish to actively explore the reef. You can explore the pristine waters surrounding the island by hiring Dinghy’s, Kayak from the island or stay on the island where there is plentiful bushwalking trails, quad biking, go karting and a golf course.
You can also easily visit Whitehaven Beach – the beach with the purest white sand in the world – from Hamilton island. This island has something for everyone and is great for families as there is a wealth of activities and accommodation.
The most Northerly of the Whitsunday Islands, Hayman island is a private island which is named after Thomas Hayman, navigator to Captain Cook. The island is home to a AU$300 million 5-star hotel shaped like a crescent and designed so that they blend with the natural surroundings. The hotel serves up excellent gastronomy which can be enjoyed in the remote Eucalyptus forested surroundings of the island.
The island is ideal for Honeymooners.
Situated right at the Southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef lying adjacent to Bundaberg on the Queensland coast and from the tip of Fraser Island. The island is known as the ‘Home of the Manta Ray’ and for good reason, it is here that you stand the best chance of viewing one of these enormous winged creatures. Mantas are attracted to the beautiful coral that surround this island which also attracts turtles, sharks and an array of other spectacular marine life.
With 19 spectacular dive sites surrounding the island and a PADI dive shop on the island this eco-friendly island is ideal for scuba divers.
Only 45 minutes by boat from Cairns, and within sight of the mainland, Fitzroy island is one of the most unspoilt islands in the Great Barrier Reef. The island is almost entirely National park and has an array of ecosystems – from Mangroves to woodland to rainforest and white sand beaches. The unique mix of ecosystems means that Fitzroy island is home to species endemic to the island. It is also home to a Turtle rehabilitation centre where you can get up close and personal with Green Sea Turtles, Hawksbill Turtles and Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. The island has very accessible peaks and is therefore great for seeing panoramas of the surrounding reef.
This island is best for those wanting to experience the reef island life without having to detour too far.
Like Fitzroy island Green island sits just 45 minutes by boat off the coast of Cairns. It is, therefore, perfect for day trips. Visitors can reach this national park via Catamaran and will be rewarded with white sands with a rainforest ecosystem on one side and a diverse reef on the other which is perfect for snorkelling explorations.
This island is best for day trippers.
Accommodating just 28 people and reachable via private helicopter Orpheus island oozes exclusivity. This island is situated off the Queensland coast South of Cairns and not far from magnetic island. It is home to Orpheus Island Lodge – an all-inclusive accommodation complete with a spa and an infinity pool looking out onto immaculate coastlines and the UNESO world heritage protected reef.
This island is best for those wanting to experience the reef in unparalleled luxury.
Just off the coast of Townsville this island is known as ‘Maggie’ to locals and is home to Koalas, Wallabies, Possums and myriad bird species who reside in the National Park which makes up over 70% of Magnetic island. Magnetic Island is the one of the only Great Barrier Reef Islands to have it’s own postcode. Highlights to explore on the island include 23 pristine beaches, the Hawkings Track and the stunning SS Yongala wreck which is considered by many to be the best dive site in Australia.
This island is best for Backpackers.
An all-inclusive, private, tropical haven Bedarra is the ultimate location for relaxation. The island is in the Cassowary Region off the Queensland Coast (half way between Cairns and Townsville) and is accessible by either boat launch or helicopter. The island has 8 villas uninvasively tucked away in 100 hectares of rainforest which are perfect for secluded relaxation.
This island is best for disappearing into barefoot luxury.
Located at the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef this coral cay is removed from the impact of modern civilisation. All Flora and Fauna here is protected making the island a nature-lovers paradise. It is also home to world class Scuba Diving and Snorkelling with more than 20 dive sites only 15 minutes from the island. If you are here at the right time you can see turtles hatching.
This island is best for accessible privacy.
Home to Australia’s Northern-most beach island resort Lizard island is a haven of isolation and relaxation. Named after the Goannas which are abundant on the island the island surrounds a deep blue lagoon which is ripe for marine life exploration. The lagoon is home to the enormous Potato Cod which can be found in the aptly named ‘cod hole’. Lizard Island Resort is the only development on the island which is accessible exclusively by plane, the resort has a focus on sustainability.