World famous Green Island is a tropical cay just 45 minutes from Cairns and just north of Fitzroy Island. Situated in the Great Barrier Reef and surrounded by white sandy beaches and sapphire blue waters, Green Island is perfect for that ultimate island getaway.
For nearly fifty years Green Island has been one of Cairns’ primary tourist attractions. A small, coral cay it once had nothing more than a jetty, a marine viewing point at the end of the jetty and a few huts.
Green Island is a small (15-hectare) coral cay which can be effortlessly walked around in 20 minutes, making it a popular destination for day trippers from Cairns. In fact its circumference is almost exactly 1.5 kilometres. It is about 300 metres wide and 650 metres long.
The edges of the island are either compacted coral or rather beautiful coral/sand beaches. The interior is predominantly rainforest. The resort takes up only 12 per cent of the total island so, remarkably, there are still plenty of places where people can escape.
Green Island is home to 126 native plant species, a myriad of birdlife and surrounded by magnificent coral gardens.
Australia’s government recognises that Green Island is a very special place and has protected it by making the island a National Park in which all commercial activities are regulated by permits.
The reef and underwater areas are part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Green Island and its reefs are included in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, which gives it international protection under UNESCO.
How to get to Green Island
To get to Green Island you can take a ferry or helicopter ride from Cains. The fast catamaran ferry service departs Cairns three times a day at 8:30am, 10:30am and 1pm (if you’re staying at Green Island Resort, your transfer is included in your room rate).
Green Island is a popular day trip from Cains as its just an easy, scenic 45 minute boat ride.
Helicopter flights to Green Island typically take 20 minutes, where you’ll get to enjoy sweeping views of the area surrounding Green Island. Don’t forget your camera!
The Green Island Experience
Whether you’re day tripping to Green Island, or staying a little longer at the resort, there’s plenty to see and do on the island. Arrive by ferry, and explore the sand fringed island and all it’s natural beauty.
Take a glass bottom boat tour, or better still – swim with the locals – snorkelling is a very popular and accessible activity for all ages. Then, dry off and take a wander through the island’s tropical rainforest.
Explore a little further and kayak around the island. And then finish the day watching a perfect sunset.
Big Cat – Green Island Day Trip
Operating out of Cairns, Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruises takes you to a part of a protected Marine Park, Green Island – a beautiful coral cay readily identified from the air by its emerald rainforest surrounded by white sandy beaches and beautiful coral reefs.
Enjoy a day trip with Big Cat Reef Cruises whilst discovering the fascinating underwater world among the coral reefs surrounding the island.
They will supply you with an endless variety of colourful fish, turtles, giant clams, starfish, shells, anemones, eels, sponges, sea urchins and many more incredible marine creatures.
For those that love the water, Big Cat also make for the perfect time to snorkel, scuba dive, swim, view the coral and fish life from the comfort of a glass bottom boat or semi-submersible or just relax on the sandy beaches.
Green Island Resort
There has been some sort of holiday accommodation on the island since a guesthouse was established there in the late 1930s. Still it has always remained primarily a daytripper destination.
Green Island Resort is widely regarded as one of the world’s most eco-sensitive tourism developments.
Structurally, all resort buildings and infrastructure (e.g. boardwalks) were built with minimal vegetation clearing, in many cases the structures were built around the trees. No building extrudes above the tree canopy, therefore preserving the natural appearance of the island from the water, shoreline and air.
There are 46 rooms and two room types; Island Suites and Reef Suites. Island Suites consist of either two double beds or one King size bed.
The Island Suite offers a view of the pool or the rainforest. The maximum amount of people in an Island Suite is two adults and two small children, or three adults. Some Island Suites are interconnecting and are ideal for families.
Reef Suites have a King size bed. With just 10 Reef Suites, these rooms offer a limited view of the ocean as there is a strip of rainforest between the room and the beach.
Resort facilities include luxury accommodation, a licensed bar, indoor/outdoor dining, boutiques, dive and snorkel shops, beach hire and a 25m swimming pool.
At the resort, guests may choose from a variety of culinary establishments open for business during the day. Emeralds Restaurant, Lite Bites, or room service are just few of the options available to guests at the hotel.
In the evening, Emeralds Restaurant offers a variety of gourmet dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, as well as room service and, for a special occasion, a romantic beachside dinner.
As the day visitors leave the island and the sun starts to set, the island becomes a paradise just for guests. Join the staff for a fish feeding presentation followed by the complimentary sunset drinks and later in the evening, enjoy a guided night walk.