Paula’s top 5 tips for visiting Lady Elliot Island
Make sure you do the Glass Bottom Boat tour when you first arrive in order to check out the best places to snorkel on the western side of the island.
Head to the lighthouse in the evening for sunset drinks, and enjoy the sunset over the ocean. (for overnight guests)
If you visit between May and October – keep an eye out for manta rays and humpback whales during their migration. Or come to see the turtles nesting or hatching between November and April.
Make sure you snorkel in the lagoon at high tide, you’ll never have another turtle experience like it!
Book yourself on the low tide reef walk and learn all about the beautiful tropical fish on the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Flight Centre co-captain and travel expert Paula recently went on a day trip to Lady Elliot Island, and brought back these tips to save for your next QLD visit:
Lady Elliot Island is the type of place that once you leave, you find yourself checking your calendar for when you can return. It's no surprise that 15% of the guests are return travellers.
I have dived on reefs all around the world, from Africa to Indonesia and nothing compares to the Great Barrier Reef, it's no wonder that it's been heritage listed. Home to over 1,200 species of marine life, the water around Lady Elliot has an average visibility of 20+ meters. Even David Attenbourogh and his film crew went to Lady Elliot Island to capture footage for his episode on the Great Barrier Reef.
Lady Elliot Island can accommodate up to 150 guests, and 100 day guests at any one time, but is currently operating at a reduced capacity to assist with Covid-19 requirements. Sustainability is really important here, and the resort operates on 95-100% renewable power with over 800 solar panels scattered around the resort.
The staff on the island are also passionate about the sustainability of the reef. Everyone you meet has an interesting fact and is more than happy to offer up information. The resort offers the use of reef shoes and has designated entry and exit points on the reef to ensure the impact caused by tourism is minimal.
How to get to Lady Elliot Island
You can only get here via a scenic flight. There are flights daily from Brisbane (Redcliffe), Gold Coast, Hervey Bay (Fraser Coast) and Bundaberg.
Lady Elliot Island is 80 kms north-east of Bundaberg. It is actually the most southern island on the Great Barrier Reef.
When to go to Lady Elliot
All year round!
The island is 5kms off the continental shelf which brings warm and consistent water temperatures all year round. In fact, they say that the winter months are the best time to visit as you have a higher chance of seeing manta rays and humpback whales.Turtle nesting season is from November to February, and turtle hatchlings emerge between February and April. There is a very good chance of seeing turtles all year round. The good news? No stingers!
What to expect from a visit to Lady Elliot Island
The island is smaller than you might think, only 100 acres in size and you can walk around it in 45 minutes.
The resort may not be a 5-star luxury haven, but it sure has 5-star diving. Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort offers a range of comfortable accommodation options, with each unit, tent and cabin designed to minimise impact on the island while enriching the overall guest experience of the environment and seasonal wildlife. In keeping with the natural, eco-friendly practices there are no telephones, television, radios or Wi-Fi available in the rooms. Limited Wi-fi is available in the restaurant.
The resort has just had its Beachfront Units renovated, which would appeal to those chasing something a little more upmarket. The phrase “disconnect to reconnect” really applies here.
If you are here for a day tour, lunch is provided. If you are an overnight guest you have breakfast and dinner provided each day, served in the restaurant with amazing views overlooking the lagoon.
When you land on the island you will be greeted by a member of staff who will point out all the important information and areas. You will then be taken to the guest hub where you will be shown a map of the island and a board that displays everything that is happening that day such as reef walking tours, guided nature/history walks, glass bottom boat tours and fish feeding tours, as well as information about the tides and currents.
There is so much to see and do, you might just have to come back and visit again. The Hervey Bay/Fraser Coast/Bundaberg day trip plane departs the island at 4pm, and there are showers and lockers for day guests to freshen up before their flight home.
Accommodation on Lady Elliot Island
I was able to have a sneak peak into their accommodation options and have given a brief overview below.
Glamping tents (2)
Sleep two people - very cool off-the-grid vibe. They both have a balcony and ensuite.
Eco Cabins (13)
Sleep four. There is also one eco family cabin that sleeps five people. Perfect for those that want a cost effective way of visiting the island. These eco cabins have shared bathroom facilities. There are two blocks of bathroom amenities.
Garden Units (9)
Sleep two or four, depending on the room booked
Reef Units (15)
Sleep two or four, depending on the room booked- these have the same layout as the Garden Units - but are located 10 metres from the lagoon.
Beachfront Units (5)
Two bedrooms including 1x Queen bed and 2 x single beds plus a pull-out sofa. Perfect for families.
Banner image: Ben Di courtesy of Lady Elliot Island Resort.