I can't look. I'm covering my eyes as the ferry from Cairns approaches the jetty at Fitzroy Island. Due to my weird fascination with crystal clear water, I usually fear that a tropical destination won't live up to my "water clarity standards". But mum's giving positive signals so far..."Wow, c'mon take a look!" she's saying…. Sure enough, I open my eyes to see a glowing aqua coloured paradise.
It's been more than 10 years since I did a stopover at Fitzroy, an island located around 23 kilometres from Cairns. Back in those days you could do a day trip which took in both Fitzroy and Green Island. These tours are no longer operating, and instead we decide to take the 11 AM resort ferry direct to Fitzroy (45 minute trip), and catch the return ferry at 5 PM. The timeframe seems ideal as we're only in Cairns for a short time, and don't want to commit a whole day out on the reef, as most day trips require. This way we can get out and enjoy the water but do it at our leisure. There are also ferries leaving Cairns at 8AM and 1.30PM- a return trip will cost around $75.
Stepping off the boat, I start snapping away with my camera. The main building of the resort looks out to the jetty and the picturesque calm beach. With a low key open plan design and timber and stone finish, the resort looks like it belongs in the Fijian Yasawa Islands. I'm soon learning that the resort was fully rebuilt four years ago. No wonder it has a fresh and welcoming vibe. I can't remember much about my last stop-over at Fitzroy, but this time I'm truly impressed. Sea kayakers and snorkelers are dotted around the beach and a few lazy holidaymakers are sipping beers up at outdoor Foxy's Bar and Cafe.
We're pretty thirsty too and so we enjoy a coffee and sandwich up at Foxy's. Nearby at Nudey Beach you're advised to "keep your clothes" (it's a family place ok). An hour later we're heading off to join the Turtle Rehabilitation tour. At the end of a five minute walk through a rainforest pathway, we arrive at what looks like a kid's swimming pool. There're no kids in sight however, just two large water loving turtles. As our guide gives us the background story about how the turtles came to be rescued and treated at the rehab centre, everyone's fascinated by these sociable fellas. They pop up for a pat and really seem to enjoy the attention. Not only is the tour endearing, it's comforting to know that Fitzroy are being proactive about conserving their wildlife.
Soon we're heading down to the jetty again to join the glass bottom boat tour. It's easy to see the coral and fish through the turquoise clear water, but the most spectacular attraction is "Shark Fin" rock, just around the corner from the beach. Take a look at this natural formation in the pic below. It looks like a real fin!
Speaking of sharks, were told that the beach swimming conditions are very safe at Fitzroy. If you want pool action however, the resort pool is definitely worth a visit. I like the "back in the 80s" holiday vibe, complete with palm trees, a swim-up bar and spectacular beach backdrop.
Anyway it's time to board the ferry back to Cairns. Remember I said that a short day trip was ideal? I retract that - a few hours on Fitzroy is amazing but at least three days are needed to really enjoy the sunsets, rainforest walks and cosmopolitan vibe. On that note, as I'm chatting with Glen the General Manager on the ferry ride back, he tells me that the resort rooms are actually the best feature of the place. Oh no, now I'm really curious and just have to go back!
Why travel so far come to my part of paradise Bribie Island.
Connected by a 1 kilometre bridge you can have seclusion on the Ocean side of the island.
Or stay on the passage side of the island and enjoy great beaches and lovely cafes and clubs.
It is over to you just what you want, without travelling hundreds of kilometres to get to paradise.
Do I sound biased - you bet I do - because I live there!