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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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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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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 St. Maarten/Martin:

"Back in 2011 my wife & I visited St. Maarten/Martin as part of a Royal Caribbean Cruise. We were blown away by the beauty of the island. Here's an excerpt of a blog post about our day on the island:

The beach was absolutely beautiful, with the white sand and the teal tinged water, not to mention the great view of the mountains off to the right of where we were resting. The weather couldn't have been better either, with a few clouds to break up the hot sun. We went from laying on the beach chairs to soaking in the Caribbean Sea back to the beach chairs and beers. I could get used to this! The best part was that the beach wasn't overly busy, so it was nice & quiet and you could swim around in the water without bumping into people.

What a great day on St. Maarten. We had such a great time during those few hours while our cruise ship was docked, that we went back to St. Maarten for a full week later on in the year.


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

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