The Great Barrier Reef has over 900 Islands & sand cays. They are a collection of raised sandy cays and tropical islands, some colonized with thick tropical rainforest. Furthermore many different species of animals live amongst the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef. On land, you can find goannas, lizards, mainland birds and many different species of seabird. In the water, Islands are a popular hangout for sea turtles, dugongs, sting rays, giant clams, anemonefish, many species of soft and hard corals.
Cairns has easy access to four main islands, Green Island, Fitzroy Island, Michaelmas Cay and the Frankland Islands.
There are day boats to all 4 Islands ranging from ferry transfers to Green Island and Fitzroy Island to full day tours that include buffet lunch, snorkeling, and semi-submarines with both Ocean Spirit Cruises that visit Michaelmas Cay and Frankland Island Cruise & Dive who visits the Frankland Islands group.
Day trips to the Islands from Cairns are a comfortable and a relaxing experience. Usually, only a short boat crossing from the mainland to the Islands, you can experience very good snorkeling directly from the beach. With easy access in and out of the water visiting one of the Islands is great with children or people who do not swim.
Green Island has a handful of cafes and restaurants, is easy to get to with only a 45minute crossing from Cairns. Day ticket price includes access to the entire island, snorkeling equipment or a glass bottom boat. Guests can also book the optional extra scuba diving or the sea walker underwater helmet diving experience.
Remember to try any form of scuba diving or helmet diving all guests must be medically fit with no asthma and not taking any prescription medication. You will fill out a medical waiver form on the day to make sure you pass all the requirements for scuba diving.
Known as the adventure Islands, only a 40-minute boat trip from Cairns to Fitzroy Island. Fitzroy island is very popular with Cairns locals, mainly because it is the cheapest option for visiting the reef and there are walking/hiking tracks to the summit. (About 2.5 hour round trip).
There are many things to do at Fitzroy Island like sea kayaking tours, ocean trampoline, sea bob jet scooters and snorkeling equipment. All can be hired from the beach hire.
A beautiful white sand cay located 45 km offshore past Green Island. Michaelmas Cay is a bird sanctuary. Perfect for wildlife lovers wanting to snap the best picture of many different sea birds. There is also an abundance of soft and hard corals very close to the beach. Easy access to the water and beautiful coral very close to the beach make visiting Michaelmas Cay a great option for a land-based day on the Great Barrier Reef. Ocean Spirit Cruises operate a large TWIN hull sailing catamaran that visits Michaelmas Cay daily. They include all meals, all snorkeling equipment, and a semi-submarine tour.
THE FRANKLAND ISLANDS:
The Frankland Islands are a group of Island located a 30-minute drive south from Cairns. Day tour company Frankland Islands Cruise & Dive operate a bus service pick up from Cairns hotels. Departing Cairns around 7:30 am in the morning a 30-minute journey has you arrive at the small township of Derail. It is here you board the vessel and travel to the Islands. It is only a 30minute crossing from the mouth of the Russel river to Frankland Islands.
World Heritage listed National Park the Frankland Island are a pristine wilderness. There are no man-made building or infrastructure on Frankland Islands. Due to this untouched nature of the Marine Park Frankland Islands offer guest and unmatched experience with the extreme wilderness of the Great Barrier Reef. Guest can snorkel and dive from the main Island Normanby Island.