Welcome to Lady Elliot Island, a coral cay on the Southernmost part of the Great Barrier Reef. We took a flight from the Gold Coast’s Coolangatta airport (general aviation side). After a brief stop at Redcliffe airport (Brisbane) and we were once again on our way. Flights depart from Gold Coast, Redcliffe, Hervey Bay and Bundaberg. It was great flying from the Gold Coast so low over the coastline and really enjoyed seeing the Sunshine Coast and Fraser Island in a whole new light. The island sits on 42 hectares in size and is a protected green zone within the Great Barrier Reef. This eco resort holds advanced eco, climate change leader certifications and prides itself on their ecotourism sustainable practices.
On arrival a staff member greets you and takes you on a brief orientation providing great info on the resort and where to find everything you need during your stay. The orientation finishes with a lovely non-alcoholic welcome beverage in the Beachfront Café & Lagoon Bar. From here you are welcome to explore the island at your leisure.
Included in your tariff is a Glass Bottom Boat & Snorkel Tour. We really enjoyed this and saw a Reef Manta Ray from the glass bottom boat and many species of fish, marine life which was very exciting. There are over 1200 species of marine life, so you are sure to meet several of them. Lady Elliot Island was voted by Lonely Planet in 2020 as the number 2 site globally as “best beaches for snorkelling around the world”. It’s easy to see why and we loved that each morning or afternoon we could stroll to the beach, slip on our snorkelling equipment, and walk directly into the water and submerge ourselves in this aquatic paradise.
As it was Turtle nesting season, we were fortunate to see several turtles coming up the beach to lay their eggs or making their way back to the ocean after they completed this incredible task. Whilst we didn’t site any Turtle hatchlings ourselves, we saw loads of their tracks. Another highlight was snorkelling with Turtles who happily ate or came to swim near us not at all bothered by our presence. Over 100 species of birds also call this coral cay home and during nesting season the cacophony of calls is constant.
In the 1800’s the island was mined for Guano (that’s fancy speak for bird poo to be used for fertiliser) which removed all the topsoil and vegetation leaving the island barren. Since then, others and Lady EIliot Eco Resort have actively been revegetating this coral cay back to its natural state. The island is a sanctuary for over 1200 marine species and over 11 hectares of the island has now been revegetated – weeds have been cleared and native coral cay species have been planted. The on-island nursery has stock of over 7000 plants and is the only native coral cay species nursery on a Great Barrier Reef Island. In terms of sustainability practises the island is 100% renewable energy through its 801 solar panels, 258 batteries and 25 solar hot water systems. Fully automated and solar powered irrigation drippers feed the nursery plants we well.
We stayed in a Reef view room and waking up each day to our amazing view was a pinch me moment. Various levels of accommodation to suit families, couples, friends. Food was very good with breakfast and dinner included and by advising dietary at time of booking the restaurant/cafe easily catered to my low fibre, gluten free, pescatarian/veg diet. I cannot speak highly enough about the Chefs, Restaurant & Bar staff. Executive Chef Jason leads a great team for sure.
Visitor numbers are capped at 150 overnight guests and 100-day tour guests and if you are looking for an island to unwind and get away from it all we thought Lady Elliot Island with no television or wifi in rooms was perfect for us to relax, reconnect with each other, nature and to snorkel was a dream come true. The resort has a fabulous Education Centre where their amazing crew of Marine Biologists provide regular presentations and various free activities on numerous topics from Turtle Nesting, The Ecology and Revegetation of the Island, Fish Feeding, Island Discovery Tour, Symbiosis of the Reef and many more. Josh and his team will look after you.
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