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Melanasia - Fitzroy Island

Fitzroy Island is a 45 minute ferry ride (about 30kms) from Cairns in Queensland, and is surrounded by a reef system that forms part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, making it the perfect accessible base for snorkelling, diving and exploring the reef. Idyllic white sandy beaches lead into the safe, sheltered waters, which are also ideal for swimming and water sports as well as yachting and boating.

(originally Koba or Gabar) is a continental island out from Djujbirri (formally known as Cape Grafton), 29 km south east of Cairns, Queensland, Australia.

Fitzroy's isolation has resulted in a unique habitat, with few large mammals. The dominant predators on the island are reptiles; particularly pythons (brown and green), monitor lizards and the Major's skink. The latter of these is particularly common and will be seen frequently as a tourist wanders around the trails. There are no venomous snakes on the island, though python bites can become infected.

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User profile for Brion H
Brion H.
"Nice and secluded, but there are still jellyfish concerns when swimming. Great nature trails to walk around. Bring your own snacks, drinks and groceries, as options are limited"

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View of Little Fitzroy Island from Fitzroy Island in Queensland, Australia - Courtesy of Historic Sites Little Fitzroy Island and Lighthouse

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Travel Information  Travel Information

The only way to reach the island is via ferry boat transfer from Cairns, located at the Reef Terminal. There are two ferries that operate, both leaving in the morning (before 10am), and returning around 5pm each day.

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History: Fitzroy Island is a continental island, not a coral cay. It became an island when sea levels rose at the end of the last ice age, flooding a plain between a hill that is now Fitzroy Island, and what is now Cape Grafton. Over the 10,000 years since that time, coral reefs have formed in the bay on the protected western side of the island, and lush rainforest on its shore.

Fitzroy Island has been put to many uses by humankind. It is part of the traditional lands of the Gurabana Gungandji people, who recorded its formation in myth, and was used as a hunting and fishing ground. In 1778, Lieutenant James Cook named the island after the family name of the Duke of Grafton, who was the British Prime Minister when his ship, the HMB Endeavour, had set sail. Through the 1800s, a pearling and beche-de-mer industry operated from the island. A giant clam research station remains in operation on Welcome Bay. The Island has also served as part an aboriginal mission in the early 1900s, an artillery gun emplacement in World War II, and, more recently, a tourist resort.

The Island has also been home to lighthouses warning ships in the Grafton Passage of the reefs around the island, and a small automatic light on Little Fitzroy Island, just off the north-east point, still serves this purpose. An inactive lighthouse sits on the point above, and is part of the circuit trail that is open to tourists.

English-Speaking?: YES

Customs/VISA: You must complete an electronic VISA application prior to entering Australia

Currency: Australian Dollar

Immunization: No shots or immunization is required.

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  • Fitzroy Island - Official website for island from Queensland Government Environment and Resource Management department....

  • Fitzroy Island tourism - Informational website for Fitzroy Island. Lots of details compiled from different websites...

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Random User Comments

Dave D. wrote about Dominica:

"Dominica was another stop on our Caribbean cruise. Here's an excerpt from my blog post about our day in Dominica:

The bus departed from the pier at 10:30am and we were en route to our first stop up in the mountains for a hike to a waterfall. As we drove through town, it looked really poor - more than the other places we've visited. During our history lesson of Dominica we learned that the island is 99% volcanic rock and 1% limestone, that there are 17 dormant volcanoes and 365 rivers - one river for every day of the year, and during leap years they find another river, was the joke.

The bus stopped after the 45-minute drive through the mountains, and we were at the entry point of the rain forest for the walk to Spanny's Waterfall. A few people stopped to use the facilities but the rest of the group began their walk through the rain forest - great tour guide, just leaving us to navigate on our own. The walk was roughly 20-minutes and was a pretty substantial hike through the mud. We saw a lot of interesting and colourful plants along the way, but surprisingly no bugs. The waterfall was absolutely beautiful. Could have spent a lot more time there.

Back on the bus, we made our way down the mountain and to Mero Beach, which is a black sand beach. The drive down the mountain was a little easier to handle than the drive up. Baron sure did like to grind the gears, and take the turns pretty fast. The beach was pretty interesting, seeing that I've never been to a black sand beach before. The water looked really murky, but was surprisingly clear - the black sand makes the water clarity deceiving. Because we were with the tour group, we didn't have to pay for the chairs/umbrella, and we were given a free drink at the bar.


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Brion H. 62 
Vera H. 12 
Kay J. 10 
Diane D. 10 
Angelica Louise A. 4 

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