Is Lady Elliot Island on your bucket list? Our 2020 Ambassador family 4 Boys and a Caravan spent an amazing three days on Lady Elliot Island. Check out their adventures and tips below! Real Families | Real Stories!
This beautiful coral cay is located at the southern tip of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. This paradise island is only a 20-minute flight from Bundaberg. Flying by plane is the only way to access this remote island. You can also fly from Hervey Bay, Gold Coast and Brisbane (Redcliffe).
Known as the home of the manta rays and with an abundance of turtles, amazing array of marine life and an unspoilt coral reef. Whether you’re an experienced snorkeller or you’re heading over as a family with kids, Lady Elliot Island really is a one of a kind, definitely the ultimate Aussie bucket list destination for the Great Barrier Reef. It is a snorkelling and diving wonderland, filled with incredible marine life and spectacular coral! We spent an amazing three days exploring everything the island had to offer and it’s safe to say we loved every single second of it.
The adventure starts right at the beginning when you board the small plane. The excitement was visible all over our boys’ faces as they walked up to the plane and climbed into it. The smiles and laughter didn’t stop for the whole flight as they watched in amazement at how the scenery out of the windows changed. When the island comes into view, straight away you can see the real beauty of this place. The beautiful green island is surrounded by the most incredible blue water and fringing reefs. We were already pointing out spots to snorkel and explore. The pure grass runway runs right down the middle of the island, the boys loved watching and waving to the planes coming into land and taking off.
When you arrive on the island you are greeted by their amazing crew who take you on a little tour of the facilities and explain everything you need to know to make the most out of your stay on the island. Buffet breakfasts and dinners are included in your stay and lunch is able to be purchased from the café which is open between 11am and 3pm daily. If you do not have your own snorkel equipment then this is also provided free of charge. Rock shoes which are also provided are essential as the beaches are made up of washed up coral. You will also need these if you take part in one of their reef walks. Wetsuits are available for a daily charge and if you’re visiting through winter, I would recommend hiring one as the wind can get quite chilly.
A glass bottom boat and snorkel tour are also included in your stay. This tour goes for roughly one hour and I suggest that you do this tour first. It gives you a great introduction to the coral reef and points out the best places to snorkel. You can also do additional snorkel tours at an extra cost. We did the snorkel safari which is where we had our incredible encounters with the manta rays. This cost us roughly $42 an adult and $25 a child and I would totally recommend.
The accommodation on the island varies from stunning beachfront units to eco tents and garden view rooms. Something for every budget. The island is 100% powered by renewable energy and takes great pride in its sustainable initiatives. Their vision is to remain a pristine coral cay within a green zone in the southern World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. They are doing an amazing job at running a resort and at the same time keeping the balance of the fragile ecosystem at the forefront of every task.
The Island also has a playground and swimming pool. A range of different tours and activities that can be found daily on the activity board. We tried to make the most of these free activities including a night guided tour of the island as well as a manta ray presentation, fish feeding and the reef walk. The reef guides will also put up the times when to snorkel the lagoon and other additional information.
Sunsets can be enjoyed over by the lighthouse where wine, beer and soft drinks can also be purchased. As well as a cheese platter if you order by 2pm on that day. Definitely don’t miss this, as the sunsets over there can be incredible, especially at this time of the year while the humpback whales are migrating.
The Island has three main spots for snorkelling. The Lagoon, Coral Gardens and the Lighthouse. These are all easily accessible straight from the shore. There are spots that are further out from the shore that are just incredible and would be better suited to more experienced snorkellers.
We really enjoyed snorkelling The Lagoon. It’s crystal clear and the marine life in the lagoon is everywhere. Turtles, sharks, octopus and so many different and colourful fish can all easily be found here. It is extremely safe for beginners and children. It is however tidal dependent and can only be snorkelled two hours either side of high tide (Times are posted on the activities board). During low tide you can join a reef walk where you get to explore the lagoon with your Master Reef Guides who point out some fascinating creatures and plant life, we even found some amazing blue starfish. These guys are full of knowledge and I would totally recommend this with kids, our boys thoroughly enjoyed this tour and learnt so much.
The Coral Gardens and Lighthouse are located on the opposite side of the island to the lagoon. These spots can be snorkelled at any time. The depth of water at these spots range from 2mtrs down to 10mtrs. The coral life around here is so incredibly healthy and best of all, there are no stingers! You may however get a few little bites from all the plankton floating around depending on what time of year it is. Another feature of these spots is that they have installed a snorkel line which runs between the two spots. This is a large rope that helps guide you from one spot to the other. At each of these spots there is only one entrance in and out of the water. These locations are also open to currents so you generally snorkel from one spot to the other depending on which way the current is going.
Anytime of the year is a perfect time to visit this island. The manta rays frequent the waters all year round but are in greater numbers through the months of May to August, so your chances of swimming with them through these months will be higher. November to February you can witness the beautiful nesting of the turtles on the beach. Then from February to April you can witness the babies hatching and making their way out into the world. Another popular time of year to visit is the Humpback Whale season. This runs from June to October. If you’re lucky you might get a chance to swim with them in the water on a Snorkel Safari otherwise you can sit on the waters edge and watch them breaching close to shore. It’s an incredible sight to see. If you’re a bird lover, then plan a visit between September and April to witness thousands of migrating sea-birds nesting on the island. We were lucky enough to see the Red-Tail Tropic bird with her chick in her nest just outside of our unit which we loved keeping our eye on.
This trip will definitely be one to remember and we will get back over there again before too long. We would love to get over their next time for the incredible turtle season.
Check out our video and see what adventures we got up to.
Cheers Tom and Aimee – 4 Boys and a caravan.