The Great Barrier Reef’s most southerly island, Lady Elliot Island is quite distinct from the Whitsundays and North Queensland tropical islands as it is a coral cay situated in the heart of the reef. Due to its remote location, the only way to access the island is by air. With the airstrip running right through the middle of the island you will get the best vantage point of the island and surrounding reefs from air, land and water.
Lady Elliot Island lies roughly 86 kilometres north east of Bundaberg and is known as one of the best snorkel and dive spots in the world. The coral cay island houses a leading eco resort that aims to provide guests with life changing encounters with nature.
This island is a picturesque coral cay that features impressive and picturesque fringing reefs that look so beautiful that you might think you are looking at a postcard. International dive regulator PADI has rated Lady Elliot as the best place on earth to dive with graceful tropical fish, coral and marine life such as green and loggerhead turtles and whales during their migration season.
The remote location of the island is part of the attraction here because the only access is by chartered scenic flights. All guests are treated to two scenic flights on the Great Barrier Reef, which gives visitors a sense of the vast scale of the reef as the largest living organism in the world. Due to limited access the amount of people on the island is never more than 50 guests on the island so overcrowding will never be an issue. It is entirely possible that you could have a stretch of beach or a part of the reef to yourself.
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort have advanced eco certification and are dedicated to maintaining a sustainability policy within the resort to protect the environment. This resort is not known as a luxury resort but it is comfortable and has all that you need to have a relaxing holiday. To add to the charm of its remote location you will be forced to switch off from technology as there are no televisions, radios or telephones and rooms are cooled by fans and sea breezes. This may be a dream holiday or a complete deal breaker depending on your personality and what you desire from your holiday.
The resort has 41 rooms varying from suites, units and cabins that have been designed to have minimal impact on the environment. Buffet breakfast and dinner are included in the rates and is served in their beachfront dining room. Light snacks can be purchased through the Beachfront Café. The island can cater to weddings, honeymoons and is definitely targeted at nature lovers, divers and bird watchers.
The island is located within a highly protected zone of the Great Barrier Reef so the reef remains pristine and undisturbed with an abundance of coral and marine life. The world’s largest manta rays frequent the waters surrounding the reef and are most common in the winter months. Lady Elliot Island is also home to thousands of sea birds making it an ideal location for birdwatchers. If you are lucky enough to visit between November to March you will also experience Green and Loggerhead turtles nesting and hatching on the island.
For novice snorkelers the best place to snorkel is straight off the beach in the protected reef lagoon or take one of the daily glass bottom boat tours. If you are more experienced you can venture out to the western side of the island where the depths are deeper and it is common to see Manta Rays, Reef Sharks, Dolphins, Turtles and an array of tropical fish and coral.
The average temperatures range between 20 to 25 degrees year round so snorkelling and diving are suitable all year long. The island also has a fascinating history that can be explored on their discovery eco walking trail. Learn about the old lighthouse that was operating in the later 1800’s and still remains on the island. You can also see the lighthouse keeper’s cottages, the graveyard, frogs hollow and a wide variety of sea birds.
The island also has a reef education centre with information boards, multi media displays and a touch and feel display of corals and shells. The centre is available for schools, universities and research groups to use if they wish. If you are staying on the island you can also take part in many of their night activities that include evening glass bottom boat tours, star gazing, turtle tours, scenic walks and more.
To reach this island you will need to take chartered flights that land directly on the islands airstrip. Sea Air Pacific transport guests from several regional airports in Queensland including the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. The journey from the Gold Coast and Brisbane is approximately 90 minutes and therefore this is reflected in the higher price. If you are able to travel further north to Hervey Bay or Bundaberg you will make a considerable saving in the cost of flights to reach the island.