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What Is Fitzroy Island Known For?

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Wed 13 Mar 2024

Fitzroy Island is a stunning tropical marvel located just off the coast of Cairns. Surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef, this natural wonder is one of the most popular day trips from Cairns for those looking to snorkel, swim, and explore the rainforest. But what exactly is Fitzroy Island known for?

Fitzroy Island is known for many things, from its pristine beaches and bushwalks to its epic snorkelling and luxury resort. Larger than Green Island but small enough to enjoy in a day, Fitzroy Island is the perfect size for a quick yet action-packed island adventure. Here are some things you may want to know about Fitzroy Island, such as how to get there, what to do there, and other things it's known for. 

aerial view of white sand beach on fitzroy island

How To Get To Fitzroy Island

You can get to Fitzroy Island by catching a ferry or a boat tour from Cairns. The island is only 26km off the coast of Cairns and takes about 45 minutes to get there by boat. So it's super easy and quick to get to Fitzroy Island from Cairns!

If you just want ferry transfers you can organise the ferry to drop you off in front of Fitzroy Island Resort. Book round-trip transfers so you can have the whole day to explore on your own and then head back to the mainland in the afternoon. Or you can book a package deal that includes snorkel gear and a glass bottom boat tour in addition to the ferry. Choose between a full day or a half day adventure depending on how much time you want on Fitzroy Island.   

boat pulling up to the beach on fitzroy island

How much time do you need on Fitzroy Island?

One day is enough time to soak in the natural beauty of Fitzroy Island. Of course, this is flexible and depends on what you want to do there! Most people opt for a day trip just for convenience and affordability. Catch the ferry in the morning and spend all day hiking, swimming, snorkelling, and exploring. The island is only 4 square kilometres, so it's not very big. You can see most of the highlights in one day!

If you only have time for a half day tour, you can still see the best parts of Fitzroy Island in just a few hours. Alternatively, if you want to spend more than one day there, you can spend the night at Fitzroy Island Resort. The luxury resort offers everything from beachfront bungalows to family-sized penthouses and everything in between. This is for travellers who want to treat themselves to an upscale, immersive island experience without rushing to see everything in one day. 

couple with snorkel gear walking on the beach

What Is Fitzroy Island Known For?

Fitzroy Island is known for its rainforest, coral reefs, beaches, and fun attractions. It's also known for being stunningly beautiful, and one of the best day trips from Cairns! The surface of Fitzroy Island is 97% national park. You can hike through the protected, untouched rainforest and admire the native flora and fauna. Surrounding this rainforest are picturesque beaches, with Nudey Beach being the most famous. Despite the name, Nudey Beach isn't a nude beach. But it is like something out of a dream, with silky white sand and gleaming turquoise water. 

In the turquoise waters around Fitzroy Island are colourful coral gardens that are part of the Great Barrier Reef. Vistiing Fitzroy Island is a fun alternative to visiting a pontoon on the Outer Reef. Here you can snorkel amongst the marine life and hopefully spot some sea turtles! Fitzroy Island is even home to the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre where you can learn about turtle conservation and protection. 

people looking at a sign for Fitzroy Island National Park

Is it safe to swim on Fitzroy Island?

Yes, you can safely swim in the waters around Fitzroy Island! Just remember to wear a stinger suit during the summer months (October - May). This is stinger season in Tropical North Queensland, and though Fitzroy Island isn't known for having many stingers, it's still better to be on the safe side. But outside stinger season, there are no dangers in the water around Fitzroy Island. Saltwater crocodiles won't come this far out to the reef so you don't need to worry about those! Plus, the water around Fitzroy Island is warm and clear year-round, making it excellent for swimming. 

If you don't want to swim, you can opt for the iconic glass-bottom boat tour. Glide over the water and look down onto the coral reefs through the transparent bottom without getting wet! Or you can explore the waters around Fitzroy Island on a kayak or a stand-up paddleboard. 

couple walking into the water on Fitzroy Island

Can you walk around Fitzroy Island?

Yes, there are some epic bushwalks and hikes on Fitzroy IslandWhether you want a challenging trek up to a viewpoint or just a leisurely stroll to the beach, Fitzroy Island has a handful of great walking trails. The Nudey Beach Track is a 45-minute return walk that winds through the forest and ends at the gorgeous Nudey Beach. The Secret Garden Track is another easy trail great for families and people of all fitness levels. This trail is 1km long and shows off the lush forest vegetation. 

Those who want more of a challenge can embark on the Summit Track. This steep hike leads to the top of the main hill on Fitzroy Island and offers panoramic views of the tropical scenery. The Lighthouse Road Trail also marks a different route up the same hill and ends at the Fitzroy Island Lighthouse. 

fitzroy island rainforest and mountains

Is Fitzroy Island Worth Going To?

Fitzroy Island is absolutely worth visiting! It's less than an hour from Cairns by boat, making it the perfect day trip. Plus you can snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, swim and sunbathe on postcard-worthy beaches, and hike through protected rainforest. Whether you want to stay at the resort or just pop over for the day, Fitzroy Island is definitely one of the best places to visit during your stay in Cairns!

people smiling with snorkel gear on fitzroy island

Read to plan your visit to Fitzroy Island? Check out our top-rated tours, or live chat with us online to ask any questions you might have. Our local travel experts are always willing to help. 

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