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Wavedancer Low Isles Cruise (Port Douglas)

Home > Far North Queensland > Adventure | Cruises | Day Trips | Escape the City | Family
by Rose (subscribe)
In the words of JR Tolkien "Not all those who wander are lost". My passion and loves are my family, travel and writing. I'm fortunate to be able to combine all three for an extraordinary life adventure....
Published July 23rd 2018
wave dancer, low isles, port douglas reef cruise, great barrier reef, snorkelling
The impressive Wavedancer


The aptly named Wavedancer, an impressive 30 m sailing catamaran, was patiently awaiting our arrival in the picturesque Port Douglas marina for the 10:00 am departure.

Today our journey would take us gliding across the Coral sea to our day's destination; the Low Isles, a mere hour's sail away.

The beautiful Port Douglas marina


With a reasonable morning start, our one hour drive from Cairns to Port Douglas along the scenic coastal road was a welcome relaxing start to the morning. Shimmering waters sparkled with the sun's reflection, as we passed the iconic and sought after northern beaches lifestyle.

When we arrived, Wavedancer was ready with a welcoming crew on hand to greet us with a friendly smile, a much-needed cup of coffee or tea and some ginger tablets if needed.

wave dancer, low isles, port douglas reef cruise, great barrier reef, snorkelling
The friendly crew


The Low Isles, named by Captain Cook in 1770, was also the site of the first extensive scientific study of a coral reef anywhere in the world and took place in 1928.

Only an hour's sail from Port Douglas, the Low Isles is an easy destination to enjoy in a day trip and very family friendly giving kids the opportunity to roam off the boat for their very own island adventure.

wave dancer, low isles, port douglas reef cruise, great barrier reef, snorkelling
Sailing away with capable crew


We settled comfortably into the top deck for the journey. It was not long before we were leaving the Port Douglas township behind us and instead faced an immense stretch of brilliant blue before us. With a mix of anticipation and salt water in the air, we turned our attention to the sailing adventure ahead.

wave dancer, low isles, port douglas reef cruise, great barrier reef, snorkelling
Not long til we spot the low isles in the distance


The friendly and knowledgeable staff were attentive and chatting easily to the patrons on board. The staff were available to provide information on the day's activities, equipment available, and some helpful tips for snorkelling. A marine biologist on board was able to share some of her extensive knowledge about the reef which we all enjoyed.

wave
Mesmerising location


A trip to the reef is not just a tourist experience, but an educational one, learning about the wonders of the natural reef world. It wasn't long before we spotted our low isles oasis in the distance with colours of deep lush green, azure, and rich sandy yellow just ahead.

Lush green, azzure and bright yellow oasis


The beauty about the low isles is the seclusion. Apart from the Wavedancer, there was only one other small catamaran moored nearby which gives you the feeling of visiting your own private paradise.

We gathered our snorkelling mask, fins and lycra suit ready to take with us, before we were whizzed away and we were brought ashore, feeling the warm and soft yellow sand beneath our feet.

wave dancer, low isles, port douglas reef cruise, great barrier reef, snorkelling
Tropical paradise


A shady natural beach umbrella become our home for a short time while we took in our surrounds, the kids explored the shallow waters and we got ourselves ready to dive into the crystal water for some snorkelling fun.

My eldest son, aged 8 and my husband joined the marine biologist on a 45 minute guided snorkelling exploration while my younger son aged 6 and I pottered around in the water at our own pace soaking in the exciting underwater world below.

wave dancer, low isles, port douglas reef cruise, great barrier reef, snorkelling
turtle spotting


We spotted a turtle and a variety of different types of reef fish lazily drifting in and out of the coral structures. My son was fascinated by the sea life and continuously pointing these out to me as he spotted a variety of fish swimming below us ducking in and out of sight.

tropical buffet lunch


After some time, we came ashore and spotted yet another turtle, swimming along in the shallow waters. Quietly we watched and followed from a distance, seeing where this turtle's adventure might take it.

wave dancer, low isles, port douglas reef cruise, great barrier reef, snorkelling
Turtle spotting from below and above the sea


It wasn't long before the sun, water and sea air were creating a hearty appetite for a scrumptious lunch.

Back on the Wavedancer, a tropical fresh buffet lunch was awaiting us, complete with meats, seafood, hearty salads and even some warming pumpkin soup if desired.

We sat on the deck enjoying the island and sea view. There was plenty of food for second helpings and some fresh fruit to complete a satisfying and refreshing meal.

wave dancer, low isles, port douglas reef cruise, great barrier reef, snorkelling
Relaxing on deck - lunch with a view


After lunch, there was more island time this was spent walking with the marine biologist who informed us of the island's interesting history, including the beautifully restored lighthouse which has towered over the island since 1878.

low isles light house, wave dancer, low isles, port douglas reef cruise, great barrier reef, snorkelling
Looming historic light house


The island is small and an easy to navigate with a small walking track which takes you to the centre and out again.

Along the way, we learnt more about the coral and marine life which inhabits the sandy cay. It is evident that the staff are passionate and care about the beautiful reef and the animals living in the area, educating visitors about the importance of protecting the reef to ensure this diverse and unique ecosystem remains for a long time to come.

marine biologist walk, wave dancer, low isles, port douglas reef cruise, great barrier reef, snorkelling
Knowledgeable marine biologist


International and national visitors who were with us on the day seemed to show their appreciation for this amazing location, and we all felt privileged to be in this special place and have a glimpse of, and experience this slice of rare beauty.

We ended our unique day outing with a special glass bottom boat tour which took us to spots we did not quite get to during our snorkel and swim time.

It is also a dry and relaxing way to enjoy the reef from above and enjoyable for the kids.

wave dancer, low isles, port douglas reef cruise, great barrier reef, snorkelling
Music to our ears!


Soon it was time to head back to Port Douglas. This time we enjoyed the return sail sitting on the bow - the front deck of the catamaran. We were treated to some classic soulful acoustic tunes by a talented staff member who serenaded the guests on the return trip.

I sat with my eyes closed and legs outstretched. The sound of the sail flapping in the wind, the gentle rolling of the sea and with a splash of sea drops occasionally flicking my way. I couldn't think of a better place to be.

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Why? Set like a jewel in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, Low Isles is an idyllic, unspoilt coral island that appeals to everyone.
When: All year round. Contact the tour operator and/or check the website and booking details for schedules
Phone: (07) 4031 4355
Where: 44 Wharf Street Port Douglas
Cost: Prices valid to 31 March 2019: Adults $204.50, Child $105.50 (4-14 years). Under 4 years travel free. Family (maximum 2 adults and 2 children) $521.00. Fare includes morning and afternoon tea, tropical smorgasbord lunch, snorkel gear and snorkelli
Your Comment
I must keep this one in mind, Rose, the one we did a few years back was to the deep reef and the boat was a bit too crowded - I like the idea of touching terrafirma...great article!
by Elaine (score: 3|6681) 453 days ago
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