Only a 45-minute ferry ride from the Tropical Far North Queensland town of Cairns you can find beautiful Fitzroy Island. Home the number one beach in Australia, lots of snorkeling options and plenty of wildlife, this island is not to be missed when traveling to Cairns.
The island is filled with stunning nature, it has a lack of cars, surrounded by stunning turquoise ocean, and many wild turtles! It is no surprise that many people pop over this island to get away for the hustle and bustle of city life. Attracting almost 320,000 this island is however not yet overrun by tourists, making it a nice little must-see heaven. Because of it close locating it makes Fitzroy Island a perfect for a day trip. But what should you do when spending one day in Fitzroy?
Check it out below….
FITZROY ISLAND | BASIC INFORMATION
You will find clear skies, gentle winds, and warm weather to make your stay in Far North Queensland pretty enjoyable.
There are two seasons in North Queensland, the ‘wet’ and the ‘dry’ season.
The wet season lasts from November to April, bringing heavy rainfall with some months having over 400 mm of rain and high humidity due to the tropical surroundings.
The dry season that lasts from May to October is the most popular time of the year for visitors to the region. The average temperature throughout the year is between 19 to just over 30 degrees Celsius.
best time to go to Fitzroy island
Fitzroy island accommodation
The only accommodation available on the island is Fitzroy Island Resort. This pretty affordable 4-star resort offers a range of contemporary accommodation including Suites, Beach Cabins, and Studios.
The resort facilities include a contemporary restaurant, large pool with swim-up bar, dive store, indoor cinema, Foxy’s bar and a general store. Discover the vibrant corals and marine life, forest birds, butterflies, and the startling white sulfur-crested cockatoos.
Pure tropical island magic….
GETTING THERE | FITZROY ISLAND FERRY
There are several boats that provide transfer services to Fitzroy Island. Underneath are just a couple of options that you can take:
We went with the Fitzroy Island Flyer. Just because I have traveled with them I have some more information below.
Cairns – Fitzroy Island: 8 am, 11 am and 1:30 pm
Fitzroy Island – Cairns; 9:30 am, 12:15 pm and 5 pm
We opted to take the 11 am ferry t the island and the 5 pm one back. The reason for this was that it was forecasted to be a hot day, and we didn’t want to be in the sun for the entire day.
We were staying on a campsite in Cairns with our motorhome, so we took an Uber to the Cruise Terminal. if you are coming by your own transport then there is a large park ground next to the cruise terminals. It is only $10 for a full day of parking, so that is very fair. From here you follow the esplanade around to the Reef Fleet Terminal which you can’t miss with all the boats moored off the wharf opposite.
Even if you already have your pre-booked ticket confirmation you still need to head inside and pick out your cruise company from the dozen of so with offices here to exchange your voucher for the actual tickets. There is also a small shop and restrooms if you’re looking for them in the terminal. You will get a wristband that allows you access on board of the boat.
It’s a fairly large boat but not as big as some of the ones headed to the outer reef, as these are short trips, they are fine. The trip across on the day we went was calm waters and it takes less than an hour to get out there so before we knew it we were pulling into the Fitzroy Island wharf.
THINGS TO DO ON FITZROY ISLAND
Underneath are just a couple of things you should do when visiting the island.
This beach has been voted the number one beach of 2018 within Australia by beach ambassador Brad Farmer.
Nudey Beach is about a 15-minute walk from the ferry wharf and offers some nice reef action right off the beach. It is a bit of a hike from the wharf and the route is not always super clear.
The beach is filled with broken of Coral (Which is super upsetting, not sure how that is caused) So please bring Aqua Shoes with you!⠀
Literally the second you hit the water you will be able to see coral and some fish. The stunning turquoise water is incredibly inviting.
Fitzroy island turtle rehabilitation center
A quick stop at the rehabilitation center is a must when you want to know more about the preservation of these animals. The tour involves a lot about plastics and the environment. You will get to see some rehab turtles during the tour. The money for the cost of the ticket is donated straight to the turtle rehab center.
HOW TO BOOK A TURTLE TOUR
Tours run daily from 1.00 pm. They are 45 minutes in duration, with a maximum of 15 guests and are accompanied by a tour guide.
Cost: $11.50 Adult, $7.00 Child (4-13 years), infants free of charge
The tours only can be booked on the day at the General Store (next to Foxy’s Bar) or at Resort Guests at the hotel reception.
Hot spots for fish and turtle spotting are around the boulders framing both ends of Welcome Bay. Welcome Bay starts next to the Ferry Warf and it a small beach filled with coral. Only a couple of steps in you will find lots of coral and large fishes. It is, however, depends on the tide if you are allowed to snorkel there. The coral is pretty close to the surface and you will damage it if the tide is too low.
Therefore do please check whether you are allowed to snorkel. The last thing you want to do is damage something so fragile and precious.
Walks on Fitzroy Island
If you would like to explore the island, then underneath are a couple of amazing walks that incredible to do. Some long, some intense but all worth it.
1 | Nudey Beach Track | 1.2 kilometers, return | 45 minutes
The walk to Nudy beach is a pretty easy walk but does entail some climbing. The walk takes you to Nudey Beach, where it is a dead end. As mentioned above, Nudey beach is a must-see.
The beach is reached via a track from the main resort. The track is mostly paved but does include some stone steps and boulders in sections that can be difficult to traverse.
2 | Secret Garden Track | 1 kilometer, return | 25 minutes
Follow the track from the main resort and detour off the Nudey Beach track for the short walk on the Secret Garden Track. This simple and short walk follows a creek, which offers a couple of signs and platforms uncovering the secrets of the flora and fauna that inhabit the island. It is a nice walk to do on a hot day, as it offers quite a bit of shade.
3 | Lighthouse Road | 3.6 kilometers, return | 3 hours
This is not the easiest walk, as it consists of a steep concrete set of wheel tracks starting at the northern end of the camping area and ending at the lighthouse. Although this is not the easiest walk to do, the views during the walk and from the lookout are definitely worth the troubles.
4 | Summit Track | 3.6 kilometers, return | 3 hours
Also not the easier walk, but also one that is worth your troubles. The summit can be reached from two different directions.
If you take the Lighthouse Road track then after about 1.6km you have to change over to the summit track. Alternatively, take the track from the campground towards the summit. The trail can be walked in both directions with the more popular option to follow the lighthouse path up and the summit trail down. It is worth heading to the summit, as it offers some incredible 360-degree views of the island and its surroundings.
If you would like to have some more information on these walks, have a look at this map of the Fitzroy Island National Park shows the general location of the tracks.
If you still run out of things to do on Fitzroy Island, there are many amazing day tours available to do. Some options that I think would be great to do are:
- Glass Bottom Boat Tours | They depart daily at 3 pm for a 1-hour coral viewing. This tour is perfect if you don’t like to snorkel or dive, or have small children.
Prices: $30 per adult and $15 per child (4-13 years).
- If you are into photography, then REEF & RAINFOREST PHOTOGRAPHY TOUR offers a great day trip to the island. Costing $265 for the day and includes transfers to and from Fitzroy Island, lunch and use of an underwater camera.
Places to eat Fitzroy island
Fuel up with lunch at Foxy’s Bar and Restaurant on the beachfront at Welcome Bay, just a two-minute walk from the Ferry wharf. These guys do classic pub-grub style meals. My absolute favorite was sweet potato fries! The perfect snack after a long day of swimming.
If you can nab one of the tables or benches facing directly onto the beach for some pretty amazing views! Not a bad place to wait for the ferry back to Cairns.
If you are heading to Far North Queensland for a trip, then I would defiantly recommend going on a day trip to Fitzroy island! It has some incredible sceneries, so amazing snorkeling opportunities, and it has such a relaxing atmosphere that is the perfect place to de-stress. The ferry trip is short but stunning and the trip won’t break your bank account. All in all, I would say that this island is a must-see when you are in the area.
Have you ever been to Fitzroy island? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.
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