Marooned off the coast of Cairns in north Queensland, Green Island is a tropical paradise of lush rainforest, white sandy beaches, and crystalline waters. The idyllic island is part of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef National Park, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and harbors an extraordinary variety of coral reefs, exotic fish, and marine life.
As one of the most easily accessible islands in the Great Barrier Reef, Green Island is a popular choice for day-trippers from nearby Cairns. The Green Island resort offers everything you need to explore the island’s underwater wonders, whether you fly in by seaplane or sail out across the reef. As well as swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, and seawalker helmet tours, there are island reef cruises, glass-bottom boat tours, and semi-submarine excursions, the latter of which offer the chance to peek under the ocean without having to dive in.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Temperatures can reach upwards of 86°F (30°C) in summer, so pack sunscreen and a hat, as well as a swimsuit and towel.
- Follow the rules to avoid damaging the coral or disturbing The Great Barrier Reef, a protected conservation area.
- Facilities at the Green Island Resort include showers, changing rooms, lockers, a bar and restaurant, and free WiFi.
- The Green Island Resort has wheelchair access, but not all activities are fully accessible to those with limited mobility.
How to Get There
Located around 16.5 miles (27 kilometers) from the mainland, the coral cay of Green Island is only accessible by boat or air. Most visitors travel to Green Island from Cairns, about a 45-minute cruise by schooner, catamaran, or charter boat. The quickest way to arrive on the island is by helicopter or seaplane, while passenger ferries set sail from the Reef Fleet Terminal in Cairns.
When to Get There
The most popular time to visit the Green Island National Park is during the dry season (April to September), when the weather is cooler and less humid, while in wet season (October to March) visitors can expect temperatures to average 86°F (30°C). It’s possible to visit year-round, but note that the island is occasionally inaccessible due to high winds or cyclonic activity.
The Underwater World of Green Island
Green Island’s platform reef offers more than 1,854 acres (710 hectares) of coral reef to explore. Its rainbow of corals include staghorn, plate, boulder, and mushroom corals. Look out for green and hawksbill sea turtles, dugong, giant clams, and sea urchins, as well as a spectacular variety of exotic fish, crabs, and starfish.