Green island from the air

Where to go

Islands

A String of Jewel-like Islands

Scattered up the coast of Tropical North Queensland are islands that range from tiny uninhabited strips of sand to private ultra-luxury resorts.

These islands are places that will fill you with peace, take away your problems and leave you with a sense of pure adventure and child-like wonder

Jemma Craig – photographer and Green Island resident

fitzroy island great barrier reef

MILES OF ISLES

In Tropical North Queensland, there’s an island for everyone – from experienced divers to novice snorkellers, from flop-and-drop sunbakers to avid hikers, from those looking for luxury to those who want to rough it. For families and first-timers, Green Island is the place to test the waters. It’s one of only three true coral cays in the Great Barrier Reef and there’s sheltered snorkelling right off the beach. Fitzroy Island is another local favourite and its rainforest-covered hills are threaded with hiking trails, including the picturesque Secret Garden track. There are resorts on both islands, but they are also easily accessible as a day-trip from Cairns.

Manta ray swimming

THE UNDERWORLD

There are five islands in the uninhabited Frankland Islands group, about 45km south of Cairns. Only one tourist boat visits each day with a maximum of 100 passengers, making for a genuine “castaway” experience. The islands are surrounded by spectacular fringing reefs, home to majestic green turtles and manta rays.

The Frankland Islands

Low isles with light house

A LOVELY LAGOON

Low Isles is a good reef option, just 15km off the coast from Port Douglas. The protected lagoon waters are ideal for beginners who shouldn’t be surprised if a marine turtle floats by.

Low Isles

Dunk Island

CIRCLE OF GREEN

Just off the coast from Mission Beach, Dunk Island is a rainforest-covered paradise fringed with palm trees and golden sand beaches. More than half the island is a national park, with plenty of walking and hiking trails. The resort is currently closed, however there are camping facilities and a small cafe (but be sure to bring your own supplies).

Dunk Island

Edge pool at Lizard island resort

THE LUX REPORT

Luxury travellers will fall in love with Lizard and Bedarra islands. Lizard Island, off the coast of Cape York, is a 1000ha national park with 24 beaches and one ultra-luxe resort, the most northerly in the Great Barrier Reef. Bedarra Island is a small, rainforest-covered gem just offshore from Mission Beach and home to one exclusive resort and a handful of holiday villas.

Lizard Island

INTO THE BLUE

Mackay Cay off Cape Tribulation offers excellent snorkelling in its impossibly clear water; while Hinchinbrook – the largest island national park in the country – is home to the 32km Thorsborne Trail, the ideal way to discover the island’s untouched beauty and bountiful wildlife.

Dreamy Sand Cays

Tips

  • If you’re planning to camp on one of the islands, make sure you book your permit early. There are only limited spaces and they can fill up quickly, especially during school holidays. Remember that you can only camp in designated areas.

  • Most of the islands in Tropical North Queensland are close to shore, so can be easily reached for a day-trip. If you plan to visit a few, you can stay on the mainland and venture out each day.

Discover More

Find the best islands for snorkelling, diving, hiking and watersports, plus accommodation to suit every style and budget.

Lizard Island aerial
Great Barrier Reef
Lizard Island – The northern-most resort on the Great Barrier Reef

Surrounded by pristine turquoise waters that will make you question whether you’re in a dream, discover the true meaning of tropical oasis at the exclusive and ultra-luxurious, Lizard Island.

Read more
Fitzroy Island tile
Cairns & Northern Beaches
Everything you need to know about Fitzroy Island

If you want proof not all Great Barrier Reef islands are born equal, pay a visit to the supermodel of the island world, Fitzroy Island.

Read more
family islands great barrier reef safaris
Mission Beach & Cassowary Coast
8 islands south of Cairns to explore

The Sunshine State might have 900 tropical islands off its coastline, but there’s one stretch of coast that’s overrepresented when it comes to idyllic island-oasis. Enter Southern Cairns and the Cassowary Coast, whose offshore attractions are as much of a drawcard as its mainland namesake.

Read more
Vlasoff Cay Nautilus Aviation
Great Barrier Reef
Vlasoff Cay: the most incredible place to picnic

Feel grounded the moment you arrive at a private sand cay on the Great Barrier Reef.

Read more
wunyami tour green island
Cairns & Northern Beaches
Discover Wunyami (Green Island) with Traditional Owners

Discover the Indigenous stories, legends and traditions of Wunyami (Green Island) from the Gungganji and Yidinji people as you join them on a guided island tour and learn about their cultural, ceremony and life with Wunyami Tours.

Read more
Edge pool at Lizard island resort
Great Barrier Reef
Sleep tight in paradise

Rest your head easy on a visit to Tropical North Queensland. From sleeping on a luxury island to pitching a tent on the beach, here’s your guide to an unforgettable stay in the tropics.

Read more
Sailaway Mackay Cay
Great Barrier Reef
Dreamy sand cays you must visit on the Great Barrier Reef

We’ve all seen those gorgeous wisps of whiteness poking out from an azure sea on Great Barrier Reef. But what are they? More importantly, where are they? And how can we get a piece of sand cay action? We’re here to reveal all.

Read more
Gareth Phillips snorkelling on the reef
Great Barrier Reef
Reef Talk – A chat with marine biologist Gareth Phillips

The Great Barrier Reef is a thriving, living marine environment. It inspires all who visit, even those who see it every day, like marine biologist and owner of Marine Discoveries, Gareth Phillips.

Read more
Great Barrier Reef aerial
Great Barrier Reef
8 Island Campsites on the Great Barrier Reef

Unleash your inner Robinson Crusoe by camping on the Great Barrier Reef! Have you ever dreamed of escaping from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives? Where life is simple, revolving around the rising sun and falling tide? Yep, so have we! Here’s Eight island campsites where you can unleash your inner Robinson Crusoe.

Read more
Crystalbrook Riley
Uncategorised
Luxury places to rest your head

Escape to luxe island hideaways, indulgent outback retreats or tranquil ancient rainforests. Kick off your shoes, take some much needed R&R and discover the unique landscape of Tropical North Queensland.

Read more
Clown fish in an anenone

Getting here

  • helicopter on a sand cay

    By air

    Helicopter transfers are available between Cairns, Green Island and Bedarra Island. Private charter services operate between Cairns and Lizard Island for guests of Lizard Island Resort and liveaboard vessels; Mike Ball Dive Expeditions and Spirit of Freedom. Daily touring options are available to Lizard Island with Daintree Air Services.

  • Sunlover boat at Fitzroy island

    By boat/ferry

    Boats depart daily with ferry transfers services to Dunk Island, Bedarra Island, Green Island, Fitzroy Island, Frankland Islands and Low Isles. Private charters or liveaboard dive vessels offer a unique journey to Lizard Island.

Stay

Enjoy a little resort living on the Great Barrier Reef.

#exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR

Minke whale season has come early this year 🐋🐋

Did you know that Tropical North Queensland is the only known predictable aggregation in the world & the only place where people are able to swim alongside this majestic animal - and boy did the crew on board @spiritoffreedomcairns get an eyeful on this trip! 🐠🤿

📍 Ribbon Reef No. 9

🎥 @xxsilviox #exploretnq #explorecairnsgbr #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #minkewhales #greatbarrierreef #snorkelling #ocean #wildlife
Could this be the cutest little chapel in all of Tropical North Queensland? ⛪️🌴

After almost being demolished in the mid-1980s, the iconic St Mary’s By The Sea chapel is the last remaining church of historical significance in Port Douglas 🙌 Not to mention it makes for one dreamy photo op, no wonder it's one of the region's favourite wedding spots! 😍👩‍❤️‍💋‍👨

🎥 @janevisuals #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #portdouglasdaintree #weddings #sunset #goldenhour
Another day another epic festival in Tropical North Queensland! 🌴💃🏻

It’s time to change your weekend plans and visit @pdcarnivale today and tomorrow to catch epic performances, rides, food and plenty of family fun 🙌🙌

Will we see you there? 👋

#exploretnq #explorecairnsgbr #thisisqueensland
@crankworxcairns is only just ramping up... 🚴🌴

You won't want to miss out on all the action this weekend out at the Smithfield MTB park! While you're here, make sure to pack your itinerary like an adrenaline junkie and meet Tropical North Queensland's adventurous side 💪🪂

Click our bio link to buy your tickets now! ☝️☝

🎥 @crankworx @queensland #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #crankworx #mountainbike #mtb
They say you should always look up on your travels & this is why 👆🍃 What better way to spend the weekend than with a hike to the breathtaking #NandroyaFalls, beginning just west of the Henrietta Creek camping area 🏕 Not only is this a great spot for a swim, but it's also one of the few places in the @wettropicsworldheritage rainforest that you can find the world's largest fern, the King Fern 🌱

📸 @sarahjanegriffiths #athertontablelands #waterfall #rainforest #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia
Okay, we know we’ve posted a lot of @portdouglasdaintree lately, but with views like this can you really blame us? 😍🌴🩵

📸 @janevisuals #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #portdouglasdaintree #sunrise #beach

[ID: video of purple and gold sunrise at the beach in Port Douglas]
Ahh @visitpalmcove you really do know how to put on a show 🌅

But pretty palms aren’t the only reason to visit this beachside village – you’ll also find 500 year-old melaleuca trees dotted between restaurants, resorts & day spas. Aussies, who needs a passport when this paradise is only a short flight away? 🛫 (And to our friends overseas, get your passport ready 😉)

📸 @pb.ay #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #palmcove 

[ID: Tropical palm trees on the beach with the sun setting in the background]
Winter is coming…but not to Tropical North Queensland 🌴
 
Winter in the tropics is the perfect place to escape the chilly weather with average temperatures barely dropping below 20ºC (68ºF for all of our American followers) 🥶
So while our friends down south are shivering we’ll be at the beach, and you can be to if you book your winter holiday up here in the tropics 💅🦋
 
See you soon? 👋
 
📸 @our.traveltales #exploreTNQ #explorecairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia #winter
 
[ID: couple exploring Tropical North Queensland in sunny weather, including resort pools islands, beaches and bars]
What better way to treat your mum this Mother’s Day than with an experience in Tropical North Queensland? 🌴🦋

What’s even better is that so many of our awesome operators are offering discounts and free trips for your mum today - so don’t miss out on an epic tour today 🫶

#exploreTNQ #exploreCairnsGBR #thisisqueensland #seeaustralia

Subscribe to
our newsletter

Opt in below to start receiving inspiration straight to your inbox

Subscribe

* indicates required