On Thursday, it was our last full day in Cairns. So, we decided to spend it exploring Fitzroy Island. It’s somewhere we had never been before. A tropical island out on the Great Barrier Reef, it was like paradise! There are different deals that you can book for it. We managed to get snorkel hire, a glass bottom boat, beach hire and lunch included in our package.
The Island is a short 45 minute ferry journey from the Cairns Harbour. Our ferry left at 9am which gave us most of the day to ‘explore’. Straight away, we went to the ‘adventure hut’ to get our snorkel gear and stinger suits. The stinger suits were essential as ‘stinger season’ is from November – March. These marine stingers can be extremely dangerous, especially the Irukandji and Box Jellyfish which can cause paralysis and… death. Luckily though, we never saw any but better safe than sorry! You can explore the waters surrounding Fitzroy or you can follow one of the nature walks around the island to lookouts or ‘Nudey Beach’. Not actually a nudist beach, just named after some unfortunately named person.
Our Morning On The Island
We started our day with a short walk along the beach, trying to find the ideal place to snorkel. By the time we had actually got ready and sun cream etc on, we were getting a bit peckish. We chilled out on the beach until around 11:30 before we got lunch. It wasn’t the greatest, it was a picnic lunch and not exactly to our taste. At 12:30, we boarded for our trip on the glass bottom boat. It took us round to ‘Shark Fin Bay’ which got me intrigued, thinking I’d maybe see a large reef shark or something. Nope, it was named after this massive rock that looked like a shark fin. Even though I never saw any sharks, it was still a lovely bit of coral reef. It was slightly different from other parts of the reef we had seen before.
Our Afternoon On The Island
On our way back, we saw a turtle coming up for air not far from the beach. Can you guess what we did next? You probably got it… got off the boat and went straight along the beach to that location. Full snorkel gear on and into the water we went. It took quite a while to find. Soozie decided to give up after a bit but I kept going, being the water-baby that I am. Eventually I found the turtle and it never seemed phased by me and let me watch as it went around its business in the coral. Absolutely beautiful creatures. I must have floated around for 30 minutes or so, watching it eat away and swim around. Thinking that I should leave it be, I swam away and ended up spotting another turtle! This time it was a little smaller. Luckily, I was the only one in the water at this part of the beach so I got them to myself.
I’ve been so lucky with wildlife this trip! I must have been in the water for at least 2-3 hours before the rain came and ruined our day. As the rain went off, the clouds lingered above. We only had about 45 minutes left so we just relaxed until the ferry came to take us back. When standing on the jetty to board the ferry, we spotted 2 small reef sharks!
Best Place To See The Turtles & Sharks
Just incase you ever find yourself on Fitzroy Island, I’ll let you know the best places to see these majestic animals. For the sharks, as I said above are most commonly found around the jetty. They follow the fish in and linger around there until they are scared away from boats or humans splashing around. These reef sharks aren’t dangerous and if you’re in the water with them, they’re more scared of you, than you are of them.
For turtles, there is a turtle rehabilitation centre along the beach. The best place is directly in front of there or slightly to the right, closer to the rocks. When walking off the jetty, its to your left or if you’re facing towards the sea, it’s to your right. Head right along the beautiful coral beach until you see the turtle centre. Unfortunately, it was closed while we were there but I got to see them in their natural habitat. That’s a bit better I’d say. The turtles can be spotted quite close to shore as well. I’m talking between 5-20 metres out!
I quite enjoyed my day on Fitzroy. I know the title was a but misleading, I never actually ‘explored’ the island but I did explore the reef. I’d really like to go back and spend a night at the resort there and have a good look around the island. There are plenty of other species of wildlife actually on the island. For the time though, swimming with turtles and spotting a couple of small sharks is definitely a win for me. Our next stop is Darwin. Never been and don’t know what to expect. Our Kakadu National Park 2 day tour has been cancelled due to this bloody Covid-19. I’ll do a post on the virus later and what it’s like travelling at the moment. I’ll let you all know what Darwin is like as well! Our next scheduled adventure is actually the ‘Cage of Death’ where we get in a cage with a crocodile!’. So excited!
So that’s all for the now, hope you enjoyed the post. Please subscribe, if you haven’t already. Have you ever been to Darwin? Let me know what the best places to see are. If you haven’t but know of something to see, let me know and I’ll try check it out! I never got many photos from our trip to Fitzroy, only really the turtles. I’ve attached them below anyway for you to check out! I managed to buy a red lens filter for my GoPro so that the colours aren’t faded as much under water. Leave a comment and let me know what you think!
Thanks for reading,