Fitzroy Island is a picturesque 45 minute boat road from Cairns Marina on a comfortable, smooth catamaran with indoor and outdoor seating.
The boat ride itself is magical but when you arrive at the Fitzroy jetty, you'll be blown away by the crystal clear water, schools of fish swimming carelessly around in the shallow water and the majesty of the rainforest canopy gently meeting the coral lined oceans edge.
I must admit, I'm biased, Fitzroy has been my favourite island to visit since I was a child. I learnt to snorkel there, had my Year 6 camp there and my final day of high school was spent with my peers at, you guessed it, Fitzroy Island. Having children hasn't stopped my visits, as you'll read below, Fitzroy is a pretty versatile and family friendly place.
Here's 5 reasons why you can't miss a trip to Fitzroy when you're in the area.
Day trips to the Great Barrier Reef can be pretty expensive. The best priced trip for a family of 4 is around $535 for the day which rules it out for a lot of families who can easily spend two thousand dollars just on 7 nights of accommodation in peak season. A day trip to Fitzroy will only cost $246 for a family of 4 and you'll get to experience all of the magic of the reef and then some with additional activities to undertake on the island (keep reading)
Return in the afternoon or you can stay at their 4.5 star resort. The resort has accommodation options for couples, families and groups starting from $150pn. Stay/Pay deals are available in low season saving you hundreds of dollars. You can bring your own food and drinks too (no alcohol). There are places to eat and drink on the island but if you're looking to keep costs down, being able to bring your own along is a huge plus.
2. FAMILY FRIENDLY - including babies!
Don't dismiss an island getaway because you've got little ones . Fitzroy Island is family friendly and perfectly safe for little ones. My 3rd was 4 months old on his first visit when we took a family group day trip.
We were able to take the pram on the boat (you'll need spare hands to lift it up the steps) Most of the main areas are easily accessible with a pram. Some spots like Nudey Beach are not accessible as the trails have steps and tree roots. There is plenty of shade along the beach front to claim your spot for the day and spread out a picnic rug. If you're staying overnight or longer, accommodation is self contained in most of the rooms so you'll have access to microwaves, cooktops and fridges to keep food handy for hungry tummies. Not to mention the games room, movie room and kids playroom! Most of the outdoor activities are child friendly under adult supervision so don't let the opportunity to visit this amazing place pass you by!
There really is something for everyone on this Island. Whether you're imagining a relaxing day sunning yourself by the shore or you're keen to tackle the lighthouse summit, you'll be satisfied with the range of activities at Fitzroy. The Turtle Rehabilitation Centre is a must see for all ages. Challenge yourself to complete all of the National Park walks or pop straight over to the beach shack on arrival and hire a stand up paddle board (SUP) to cruise around the island shore all day. Take some pics at the award winning Nudey Beach before settling in at Foxey's bar for a cocktail while you watch the kids on the water trampoline. You don't even have to get wet! The glass bottom boat tours go twice a day!
4. ROMANTIC LEVEL 100!
If you're looking for somewhere special to celebrate a milestone, Fitzroy is your place! Hole up in a Beach Cabin where you can walk directly from your door to the beach or indulge in an Island Suite and add extras like daily breakfast, massage and cocktails to make your stay truly unforgettable. This place is natural beauty at its finest and you'll break Instagram with your glamorous posts.
Whether you're a local or a visitor it's a romantic destination away from the mainland. For visitors flying in we can coordinate the whole trip in luxury from airport transfers, boat transfers, accommodation booking and catering for special requests.
5. REEF2 & RAINFOREST COMBO
If you're pressed for time or on a budget, Fitzroy allows you to experience both the reef and the rainforest in one trip. Bommies straight off the beach are surrounded by schools of fish hiding in the vibrant coral habitats that prosper in the shallows of Fitzroy's shore. There are turtles, rays and sharks (they won't eat you) clams and starfish, crabs and jelly fish so keep your eyes peeled! A waterproof camera is a must to capture the underwater beauty!
The rainforest is a protected National Park. Its high canopies protect the under growth from the harsh Queensland sun making it damp and humid on the rainforest floor, a perfect place of shelter for lizards, birds and small mammals (or for sunburnt humans) One of the nastiest plants I've ever come across is on Fitzroy. The 'wait-a-while' vine hangs innocuously from the tall trees but if it gets a hold of you with its nasty little hooks, you'll be stuck in it's grip and any type of struggle makes it worse. Watch out for this little bugger and don't wander off the designated tracks!!
So, there you go. 5 reasons why Fitzroy is a must see next time you're in FNQ. Fill your albums with some of the most beautiful scenery in the region at Fitzroy Island, under the water, above the water and from the top of the summit. You'll experience the true meaning of the term 'where the reef meets the rainforest'
HOT TIP! There's no stinger net enclosure at Fitzroy so if you're worried about stingers stop at Kmart or Anaconda in Cairns and pick up lycra tights & rashie tops to cover yourself while you're there. Stinger suits are available for hire on the island. The coral can be hard on the feet so a pair of wet shoes doesn't go astray either!
People who experience sea sickness who might otherwise miss out on experiencing the Great Barrier Reef should also consider Fitzroy. The wave piercing catamarans are extremely smooth even in choppy swell. There are toilets onboard and seasickness bags available. The horizon is visible the entire way which can help with reducing sickness.