There’s nowhere else quite like the islands of Australia’s Wild North! As you venture north of Cairns, expect to find yourself in true remote and rugged natural beauty.
One of the most popular island getaways along Australia’s northern coastline is Lizard Island. This tiny touch of paradise offers exclusive beachfront accommodation, 24 stunning white sandy beaches, and is uniquely located at the centre of inner and outer reef systems as well as fringing reefs.
Further north of Cape York you will find yourself on the doorstep of the Torres Strait. The Torres Strait Island group is made up of 274 islands located between Australia’s mainland and Papua New Guinea.
The majority of the islands are uninhabited however both Horn Island and Thursday Island are fantastic getaway destinations. Both of the islands served a significant role throughout World War II and boast a rich multicultural and historical heritage.
Find out more about the islands of the Wild North below.
Lizard Island is in simple terms, sheer paradise! Located around 240km north of Cairns, the island is home to 24 secluded beaches, more than 15 pristine coral reefs, a stunning blue lagoon, and 1,013 hectares of national park, boasting mangroves, grasslands, woodlands, and a large community of lizards and goannas.
The island is also home to the northernmost luxury resort on the Great Barrier Reef - Lizard Island Resort.
The island is accessible by private charter plane from Cairns Airport.
Journey to Australia’s most northern township and immerse yourself in history, culture and tropical paradise. Known as the administrative centre of the Torres Strait, Thursday Island is located around 40 kilometres north of Cape York Peninsula and is one of the 274 islands located between mainland Australia and Papua New Guinea.
Thursday Island has a rich pearling history dating back to 1885 and to this day the Japanese, Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander influence is still evident.
Thursday Island is relatively small, just 3.5 square kilometres in size. You can actually walk the entire circumference of the island which is home to multiple beaches, bays, lookouts and historical monuments.
You will find an array of modern accommodation lining the island’s main street, Douglas Street, along with supermarkets, takeaway stores, pearl stalls and souvenir shops.
Thursday Island is reachable by plane from Bamaga or Cairns, or by a 30-minute boat ride from Bamaga.
Horn Island is far beyond the beaten track and is the most northern part of Australia! Located around 55 kilometres north west of Cape York and just south of Papua New Guinea, Horn Island is home to the central domestic airport of the Torres Strait, offering connecting flights to the surrounding islands.
Horn Island is rich with history and played a significant role in Australia’s involvement in World War II. In 1940 a military air base, Horn Island Aerodrome, was built on the island. The air base was bombed eight times throughout the war and to this day, remnants and tales of this era can be discovered when exploring the island.
The island is reachable by plane from Cairns Airport or by ferry from Bamaga.
How long does it take to get to the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns? It very well may seem like a simple and easy question to answer, however, there are so many variables that make the answer not quite as straight forward as you may have initially thought.
No matter whether you are a snorkeller or a certified scuba diver, there are number of amazing Great Barrier Reef experiences that are a once in a lifetime absolutely ‘must do’. And a Minke Whale snorkel and dive Expedition is one of those that should be on your list!
Thinking of becoming a Certified Scuba Diver and looking to do your learn to scuba dive PADI certificate? Do you wish to learn to dive with a high quality professional company that has an outstanding reputation for not only skill but also safety and can match this with some of the best liveaboard dive boat fleets on the Great Barrier Reef?
This tour is special in so many ways, and is unrivalled to all other reef tours in Far North Queensland. First of all, it has the shortest open water crossing to get to the Great Barrier Reef. Fantastic news for anyone prone to motion sickness. Although this tour is a ‘Reef’ tour, it includes a ‘River Cruise’ on the journey there with Island activities on arrival. And a huge PLUS to guests that like to avoid the crowds, it has one of the lowest passenger capacities of all the island tours with a maximum of 100 guests. The destination is to an uninhabited continental island called Normanby in National Park which is part of the archipelago of Frankland Islands. It is located 10km offshore from the mouth of the Russell and Mulgrave Rivers at Russell Heads, which is approximately 45km South-East of Cairns. The Normanby Island has an abundance of wildlife not only in the water, but also on the island itself. The island is pristine, and has its own rainforest and a fringing reef not far out from its sandy shores. There are also coral gardens located further out from the island for the those that want to explore the deeper waters.
This is not a blog, it is a pitch on how good this Great Barrier Reef 2 day 1 night liveaboard dive trip from Cairns is such good value. One of our team members wrote it because she thinks it is such an amazing good value Great Barrier Reef tour, she wanted to write about it and put it on our Barrier Reef Australia blog page. We were not sure it was appropriate to pitch a single tour but we decided on free speech and free opinions so read more if you are inclined, or go to another page now. From our wonderful Great Barrier Reef Tour Specialist Chelsea Are you looking for a good value liveaboard Great Barrier Reef scuba diving adventure from Cairns without the crowds? Do you want the best dive deal money can buy in Cairns? If your answer is yes, then check out what deals we have on offer with our Great Barrier Reef Tour 2 Day 1 Night Sail, Snorkel and Scuba Dive tour!
If you are scared of the water and the creatures that live there or have never been exposed to an aquatic life in your younger years, but still wish to live out that lifelong dream of seeing the iconic wonders of the world the Great Barrier Reef, then that is okay, we have a tour that will enable you to see the coral reef from above the water and also below the water’s surface without you even getting your hair wet!