Lady Elliot Island - home of the Manta Ray - is a coral cay positioned at the southern-most tip of the World Heritage Listed, Great Barrier Reef. Lady Elliot also has the bragging rights to being only one of two islands (the other being Heron Island) where keen snorkelers and divers have access to Australia's magnificent Reef, directly from the beach.
Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is located within a highly protected 'Green Zone' and provides sanctuary to more than one thousand two hundred species of marine life, including an abundance of manta rays, turtles and black-tipped reef sharks.
This was our second visit to this beautiful island. We love the fact that a two-hour drive from the Sunshine Coast to Hervey Bay Airport and a forty-minute scenic flight across the pristine Coral Sea brings us to our desired destination in record time! No time wasting here!
We recently had Miss Niece visiting and my adventurous other firmly believes that a trip to Queensland is not complete without a personalised experience of the Great Barrier Reef. On booking, I was delighted to discover that 'return visitors' to Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort receive a ten percent discount - as a way of saying 'thank you' - what a fabulous, unexpected bonus!
Being return visitors one is prone to thinking 'how on earth will we keep ourselves busy second time around on this little island'. Believe me, there is plenty to do and to get you on your way, here's my list of top fun FREE activities to do at Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort.
🐠 Glass Bottom Boat Guided Snorkelling Tour
One FREE glass bottom boat snorkelling tour is included in the price for overnight and day visitors. We were advised that high tide was the best time to enjoy the snorkelling tour as the boat was easier to access with the higher water levels. So high tide it was! And we were lucky enough to be the only three snorkelers on board, ensuring a very personalised tour, with just the guide and the boat captain for company.
Guests board the custom-built boat for a safety briefing. En route to a snorkelling location, snorkelers get a very informative, twenty-minute expert commentary about the coral and marine creatures that can be viewed through the glass bottom of the vessel.
Marine lovers then get the opportunity to snorkel for about thirty minutes, whilst discovering the absolute wonders of this spectacular underwater world and hopefully meeting the numerous resident marine creatures that call this section of the Great Barrier Reef, home.
There are also Night Glass Bottom Boat tours available, which allow visitors to discover the extraordinary reef at night, without actually having to get your toes wet. The Night Glass Bottom Boat tours are subject to tides and weather conditions and on our recent short visit, neither the tides nor the weather were conducive to participating in an enthralling night tour. I can only imagine how fabulous the Great Barrier Reef must look at night, as the boat's UV lights give visitors a whole new outlook of the fascinating eco-system, including experiencing the coral polyps, which awaken at night.
Glass Bottom Boat/Guided Snorkel Tour | Adult $35/Child (3 - 12 years) $20 Night Glass Bottom Boat Tour | Adult $35/Child (3 - 12 years) $20
Register at the Dive Shop on the island after arrival
The Activities Board is updated every day with all the informative and educational activities on offer, and if guests are not in the water snorkelling or diving, these FREE tours are a fun way to spend a morning or afternoon.
At low tide, the lagoon becomes accessible to 'walkers', who can venture from the beach all the way to the reef edge. An experienced guide will introduce walkers to the complexities of the reef eco-system and whilst one thinks that you are merely 'walking' over rocks, extreme care has to be taken to ensure that the delicate balance of this environment is not harmed in any way. In other words, "don't walk all over the sea cucumbers, which despite looking dead, are very much alive and well"!
Reef walks are organised every day, tides permitting.
🐠 Fish Feeding
Make sure you get to the Fish Feeding session at the 'Fish Pool' to experience an amazing variety of reef fish that magically appear every day - I wonder if it has something to do with the 'food'? The only 'food' permitted at the Lady Elliot Marine Park is algae pellets. The guide will enlighten and answer questions regarding the types of fish and the way they are 'fed' within the Marine Park. Ensure you wear your reef walking shoes for this FREE fifteen minute delightful experience. Nothing quite like having fish nibbling in and around your feet.
As if life on an island cannot get more relaxed! But …it can! One cannot visit Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort without experiencing their fabulous sunsets. Make sure you take a stroll down to the beach, located in front of the historical Lighthouse just before sunset. Chairs, loungers and even a beer, wine and snack 'pop up' are provided for guests, to sit back and take in the absolute awesomeness of Mother Nature, with the sun gradually dipping below the horizon.
There is so much to see and do at the fabulous Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort with its protected, spectacular diversity of marine life and unspoilt coral reef.
🐠 Writer's Verdict: If you have never experienced the Great Barrier Reef, a trip to Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort should definitely be on your bucket list. This breathtaking spot is so easily accessed and with no tv's and no wifi, the relaxation benefit for short stay islanders is definitely in the upper echelons of unparalleled bliss!
All images courtesy of author unless otherwise indicated