Cris is an Organiser of the Group Hiking South East Qld and More on Meetup. Visit the website at https://www.meetup.com/HikingInSEQLDandMore/ is free to join all the activities posted on the hiking group.
Published December 12th 2021
The Island is a sanctuary for many species of birds and marine life. The Island offers fantastic snorkelling and scuba diving and a direct experience with an excellent eco resort that produces its own water and electricity. The Island is an excellent example of humans and wildlife sharing the same land and resources.
Lady Elliot Island (LEI) is an Australian Great Barrier Reef Island. Located 80 km northeast of Bundaberg, is part of the Capricorn Bunker Group. The coral cay is the most southern point of the Great Barrier Reef Marine National Park.
Lady Elliot Island seen from the plane approaching the island. Photo by Author.
Lady Elliot Island's vision is to remain a pristine coral cay within a green zone in the southern World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. LEI wishes to provide a nature-based destination, giving an opportunity for visitors from all over the world to experience the natural beauty and fragile ecosystem of a coral cay and its inhabitants, including the birds and the marine creatures, which live on or visit the island and its surrounding reef.
Trees in bloom of Lady Elliot Island. Photo by Author.
Lady Elliot Island's mission is to be custodians of this pristine environment. To enable it to exist and be preserved as nature intended, while giving visitors the opportunity to experience it in an economically and ecologically viable way, without interfering with or having any adverse impact upon the long-term sustainability of the island's unique ecosystem
Black Noddies build their nest, lay a egg and look after the chick. Photo by Author.
The Island was formed thousands of years ago by coral reef, sand and debris carried by currents. The birds, the wind and the sea brought the seeds and the vegetation took place on the island. The vegetation thrived as it was fertilized by bird droppings. The roots of the tree helped to stabilise the corals. Near the shore generally, there are octopus plants, then going towards the interior there are casuarina trees and then pisonia trees.
Members of the group Hiking South East Qld and More posing for a photo at Lady Elliot Island. Photo by Author.
In 1969, Don Adams built an airstrip and accommodation on the island, and was granted a tourist recreation lease by the Australian Government. Don Adams started the program in revegetating the island with the original flora.
There was very vague information about the vegetation of Lady Elliot Island, but looking to other islands of the Great Barrier Reef, like Musgrave Island, very probably there were forests of pisonia trees. These trees are the favourite of the White Capped Noddy, where they build a nest and raise their chicks.
The airstrip crosses the island from north to south. Photo by Author.
LEI is regarded as one of the best snorkelling and diving places in the world. It is situated within a highly protected Marine National Park Green Zone, that means a no take zone. You can explore LEI from the air, snorkelling and walking.
The adventure starts from a small plane and enjoying a scenic flight. The flights to LEI depart from four strategic locations: Gold Coast, Redcliffe in Brisbane, Hervey Bay and Bundaburg.
The only way to reach the island is by plane. Photo by Author.
In your package with the accommodation is included free buffet breakfast and dinner, tea and coffee all day and free fruit. Also included is a tour in the glass bottom boat, snorkelling equipment and reef shoes.
It is easy to spot the giant turtles swimming around Lady Elliot Island. Photo by Author.
Take a few steps back from your daily routine, relax and reset your life at Lady Elliot Island. Create a special bond between the flora and the fauna, create harmony between you and the environment. Sight, sound, smell, touch and taste; create lifetime memories and evoke emotions and expand your understanding of the world around you.
There are plenty of activities to do at LEI. When the evening is approaching, walk to the lighthouse for a sundowner and for witness the beautiful sunsets on the island. You can order a bottle of wine at the bar beforehand and the personnel makes sure to bring it to you at sunset.
Enjoy a beautiful sunset at LEI with a platter of cheese and a bottle of wine. Photo by Author.
Lady Elliot Island is home to many species of birds, including the White capped or Black Noddy, Bridled Tern, Ruddy Turnstones, Buff Banded Rail, the Red Tailed tropic bird and many more.
When the island was mined for guano in the 1860s, all the trees were cut down and the birds left the island. When Don Adams started to revegetate the island in the 1960s, the birds came back and today many of them are permanently on LEI.
The Red Tailed Tropical Bird with its chick. Photo by Author.
LEI is a coral cay, meaning that is formed by corals. Some of the beaches are made up of corals but some are sandy. During summer, the adults turtles come back to the beach to build a nest and lay the eggs. The turtles come back to nest to the beach where they were born. Lady Elliot Island is an important nursery for turtles in the Great Barrier Reef. During the night at high tide, the turtles slowly make their way on the corals and on the sand to lay the eggs.
One of the beaches at Lady Elliot Island. Photo by Author.
The lighthouse on the island was constructed in 1859 and it is located on the west side of the island. When the trees grew taller, the original lighthouse was deactivated in 1995 and it was replaced by a modern tower like structure standing close to the original lighthouse.
The lighthouse at Lady Elliot Island. Photo by Author.
Strawberry Hermit Crabs live on the vegetation during the day and journey down to the waters edge each night. They are manly nocturnal, you can see many of them on the beach at night time. They collect sea water and store it in the shell. They can reach up to 30 cm in length and are able to climb trees a short distance to eat leaves. Females go to the water's edge to release their eggs, which hatch out in the ocean.
Strawberry Hermit Crabs on the beach at Lady Elliot Island. Photo by Author.
The only few trees left on LEI at the time of the guano mining were a few pisonias, so the guano miners could get some shade. All the rest of the vegetation was completely removed. Today the island has a nursery where the little plants grow and then get planted as a revegetation program.
The forest of the pisonia tree at Lady Elliot Island. Photo by Author.
On the island, you never get bored - there is so much to do! There are many free tours run during the day where you learn about the history of the island, birds, manta rays, turtles, sustainability and the coral reef. Feeding the fish is one of the activities on LEI, where you learn about the fish of the coral reef.
Feeding the fish is one of the activities at Lady Elliot Island. Photo by Author.