Lady Elliot Island is a small island on the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The resort on the island, Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, is popular with families, groups and individuals, who want to snorkel, swim or dive and enjoy the wonders of the reef. The reef lagoon provides sheltered waters for beginners, with deeper waters for experienced snorkelers and divers to explore.
Before European settlement, Lady Elliot Island was a deserted coral cay with large population of sea birds. The island accumulated large deposits of guano from the sea birds. In 1863, guano miners arrived on Lady Elliot Island and extracted the guano from the soil, destroying most of the vegetation in the process. The eight Pisonia trees remaining around the bistro are all that remains of the original tree cover. About a metre of surface soil was removed from the island by the miners. In 1969, Don Adams, arrived at Lady Elliot and began to re-vegetate the island with native shrubs and from plants on nearby Reef islands and from the mainland. Lady Elliot is now a beautiful wildlife sanctuary providing nesting areas for a diverse range of bird species.
Visitors can take a glass bottomed boat trip over the reef, learn how to scuba dive, reef walk, feed fish, or take a relaxing walk along deserted beaches. The water is clear all year rounds, and supports a teeming variety of fish and coral. You may see dolphins, turtles and huge manta rays. (The island has a resident population of 40 Manta Rays). Depending of the time of year, you may also see nesting sea birds, turtle hatchlings or migrating humpback whales. Every year Green Turtles and Loggerhead Turtles nest on Lady Elliot Island. Rangers take guests on guided walk to see the turtles nesting. From June to October Humpback Whales migrate past Lady Elliot Island, with regular sightings from scenic flights, or while snorkeling or diving from the diving boat and from the Island’s beaches. You can hear whale songs under the water while swimming around Lady Elliot Island. Many sea birds nest around Lady Elliot Island including Noddies and Red-tailed Tropic Birds. The birds provide excellent close up opportunities for photographers.
The island has all the facilities you need to make your stay comfortable and enjoyable, including a lagoon bar on the beachfront overlooking the Great Barrier Reef, a reef education centre and a Dive Resort Shop (PADI) that caters for all your snorkeling and diving needs. There is also beach volleyball court, beachfront cafe, beachfront dining room, children’s playground, resort shop and salt water pool.
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort offers four different styles of accommodation. The Eco Cabins are permanent safari tents with four bunk beds, full power and lighting, and communal bathrooms located near by. The Shearwater Rooms are set in the gardens with bunk style rooms that accommodate up to six people. The Shearwater Rooms have private bathrooms and cooling fans. The Reef Rooms are ideal family rooms with a double bed and two bunk beds. The rooms have tea and coffee making facilities, verandah, mini fridge, fan cooled and a private bathroom. The Island Suites are one bedroom and two bedroom air conditioned beachfront units with separate bedroom and lounge area. Units include tea and coffee making facilities, mini fridge, and private bathroom.
The only access to Lady Elliot is by air, flying with Lady Elliot’s own air service Seair Pacific which operates a fleet of 9, 13 and 18 seater aircraft. The island is situated 122km north east of Hervey Bay, and has no docking facilities for large boats. The short scenic flight to Lady Elliot is a great way to your holiday. From Hervey Bay and Bundaberg flight time is about 35 minutes. From The Gold Coast 90min from Brisbane 60min, from Sunshine Coast 50min. Lady Elliot Island has direct flight access to the island airstrip.
Lady Elliot Island Great Barrier Reef day trip
If you are short of time, The Lady Elliot Island Great Barrier Reef day trip is a great way to see the Great Barrier Reef from the air, and experience it from the water all in one day. The day visit begins with an early morning pickup from your hotel in Gold Coast, Brisbane or Sunshine. You are flown by Seair on a coastal flight to Lady Elliot Island. You may also take a day trip from Hervey Bay or Bundaberg departing just after 8am.
Once you get to the island, you can take a guided tour on a glass bottom boat, snorkel amongst the coral and brilliantly colored fish and marine creatures, hand feed fish in the lagoon or take a guided reef walk. You may also encounter marine turtles. The reefs surrounding the island are a breeding ground and feeding area for giant manta rays. You may be lucky enough to swim with one of these awesome creatures.
After a buffet lunch, you will leave Lady Elliot for the Gold Coast, Brisbane or Sunshine Coast at around 2.15pm, and get back to your hotel around 5pm. Day trips for visitors from Hervey Bay and Bundaberg depart from Lady Elliot at 4pm.