Fitzroy Island – When you live in the tropics, spectacular views like this become the norm but for most of us, crystal-clear turquoise water around a luscious tropical island is our idea of utter paradise.
What kind of Island Enthusiasts are you? The ultimate chiller or an active energiser bunny? Thankfully, Fitzroy Island accommodates all as there is a wide range of activities to suit all tastes. I was very lucky to be gifted a Fitzroy Island VIP member pass for 2019, which gave me unlimited access to “a little slice of paradise” and boy, let me tell you did I use it to the max.
This pass gave me and my partner unlimited ferries over to Fitzroy Island as well as a romantic one-night stay at the Fitzroy Island Resort.
Summit and Lighthouse hike
Are you much of a hiker? If you have read any of our blog posts, you would be able to deduce that yes we do like a wee hike or two. We cannot recommend the Summit and Lighthouse hike on Fitzroy Island more because it is truly epic 3.6 km grade 4 hike culminating with 360-degree views out over the Coral Sea, Welcome Bay and the 22 km back to the FNQ mainland.
Now, we must warn you that the hike is not that long but it sure is pretty steep and some of the ‘less avid hikers in the group’ may get a bit pooped half-way up to the summit. But with a bit of gentle encouragement, in no time at all, you are up the top of the 269-metre summit of the National Parks trail and the views are spectacular. The trail continues down to the old abandoned lighthouse which was updated to a newer improved system that no longer requires lighthouse keepers and backs down to the beach.
Nudey Beach and White Rock point (Sensational Sunbathing, Diving, and Snorkelling)
Nudey beach was voted the number 1 beach in QLD many times over the past decade and definitely has a hardcore Instagram following to back up that claim. A short walk along the Nudey beach access track turns a corner and then BOOM there is the most breathtaking view of a world-famous beach.
However, it is actually what is under the water in front of the beach that was special to us. This gently sloping beach makes it enticing for sunbathing to pop in for a swim to see sea turtles cruising around the coral, giant clams and tropical fish. The marine life will really blow your socks (fins) off. So much so, that after we snorkelled we did beach SCUBA dive to even get close to the underwater action.
The Fitzroy Dive Centre is manned by some of the friendliest and most staff qualified around FNQ. If you have an open PADI license then for a pretty cheap price you can hire gear and get in the water. Or for those less experienced divers, you can take a course with one of their the world accredited instructors.
I must admit that I was in absolute HEAVEN hanging out with Nemo……pure bliss. If you are not a confident swimmer but need to get an eye-full of this underwater wonderland then the Glass Bottom Boat Tour is a fantastic option offered by the resort.
Ocean Trampoline / SUP and kayaking
Some of us are not natural aqua babies, that pretend to be mermaids, and prefer water activities that you do not have to be submerged in the big blue. Enter Fitzroy Island’s epic ocean trampoline, stand up paddle (SUP) boards and kayaks. Even as adults, we spent hours killing ourselves laughing by bouncing on and off the trampoline into the waters of the Welcome Bay.
Foxys Bar and Grill
We have to admit that an ice-cold beer, frozen cocktail or mocktail, on a lush tropical island truly feels absolutely decadent. Depending on how organised I have been before leaving Cairns for Fitzroy, sometimes I have packed a picnic and our own refreshments in an eski, but other times, in my lazier moments, we have simply eaten our lunch at Foxys bar and grill.
There is also a little island shop that sells ice-cream, souvenirs, and sun-screen if case you fancy a wee treat or have forgotten to pack any of the sun-safe essentials.
Again, if you have read any of our other posts you will know that we are SUP enthusiasts, and hiring the SUP boards on Fitzroy was pretty epic as you get a birds-eye view of the fish swimming below. We saw heaps of batfish, parrotfish, sergeant majors and many other species.
Fitzroy Island Turtle Sanctuary
My favourite part of the whole of the island is the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. The driver on our Glass Bottom Boat Tour had helped us spot loads of sea turtles, so I was extremely inspired to see what work was being down the Rehab centre.
The centre shares knowledge about the Great Barrier Reef and the importance of protecting it inhabitants and it fills every animal lovers’ heart with love to see the injured sea turtles getting stronger as they are nursed back to health in the centre. In fact, we were lucky enough to visit on a day where a fully rehabilitated turtle was being released back into the wild – definitely got all the warm and fuzzy feels as she was released back out into the Coral Sea.
Fitzroy Island Resort
We consider ourselves pretty lucky to live in the tropics and the opportunity to experience the island at night was incredible. After the last ferry full of chatty beach enthusiasts departs the island, a quiet serenity that envelopes the beaches and sets the scene for a breathtaking sunset.
You can either bring your own food and cook on the beach bbq’s provided, or treat yourself to dinner at Foxys or Zephyrs restaurant which has romantic views over Welcome Bay as the sun goes down.
Personally, we woke up early to experience the views from the summit hike in their full morning glory, after which we indulged our gluttonous desires over a sumptuous continental breakfast before we had a dip in the ‘resort-guest only’ pool with swim-up bar.
How to get to Fitzroy Island
It is approximately a 45-minute ferry from Cairns Marina where you will experience a beautiful ride out to the island as the ferry passes the Yarrabah coastline.
The Fitzroy Islander Flyer leaves Cairns Marina at 8:00, 11:00 and 13:30.
Return ferries are 09:30, 12:15 and 17:00.
Raging Thunder Ferries leave Cairns Marina at 09:00 and 11:00.
Return ferries are 14:00 and 16:00.
Top tips for the Island
· Bring shoes because the main beach at Fitzroy Island is not soft sand but a ‘coral’ beach.
· The Beach Hut (next to the jetty) is the main hub for all things Raging Thunder at Fitzroy Island
· In the winter we have taken our camping gear over and booking with National Parks to stay the night which is a really cost-effective way to have a cheeky overnight stay in paradise.