Day trip green island

It’s not the size of the island: 48 hours on Green Island

Take a weekend off from life’s usual programming and head to Green Island, 45 minutes over the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns. A small coral cay and World Heritage listed site with over 6000 years of natural history. Surrounded by island getaways with a reputation for luxury, Green Island tows a charismatic line between indulgence and low-key soul. A perfectly executed combination of down to earth adventure, with all the comfortable trimmings.

Green Island is best known as one of the smallest islands in Tropical North Queensland’s 900 island line-up, but certainly not the most secretive. Its abundant in activities and drenched in natural phenomena, so during your 48 hours on Green Island you can enjoy a long list of things to do, or plenty of great excuses to do nothing at all. You decide.

Day 1

Morning: making your way to the island

Make the most of your weekend in paradise, surrounded by crystal blue waters and patterned by nearby sea life. Coral, turtles, manta rays, warm air and soft tropical breezes. Head across the Great Barrier Reef early. This leaves plenty of time for exploration, snorkelling, diving and windsurfing. The day is yours.

Green Island is accessible by boat or by helicopter. You can catch a Great Adventures catamaran transfer from the Cairns marina. They leave around three times daily, starting from around half eight in the morning. These transfers are complimentary for Green Island Resort guests, so you can confirm your trip there and back when you’re planning your escape.

Dive right into the weekend

Mid-morning is a beautiful time to dip your toes in the surrounding waters before the heat of the day. The coral cay is surrounded by sea life and underwater gardens. For this reason, it’s an incredibly popular location to snorkel right off the sand, and Green Island Resort provides all the equipment complimentary for the weekend.

The catamaran you’ll arrive on provides a snorkelling demonstration on board (they know what you’re there for!) so you can hit the water as soon as you’ve checked in. They’ve even got lifeguards in patrolled patches of water for some family peace of mind and those feeling a little ginger about snorkelling. You’ll quickly see why Queensland has such a love affair with our tropical waters and mottled clusters of coral reefs, with nearly 300 types of hard and soft coral to gaze at beneath the surface. On a clear day, you’ll be lucky enough to spot nearly all of the great eight species of underwater friends.

Afternoon: explore the grounds and say hi to the neighbours

Green Island Resort is amidst acres of unspoilt tropical rainforest and well-known for being the only coral cay getaway surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. The best of both worlds. With dense walking tracks and varied beach environments you can explore every part of the island on foot. The ideal activity to while an afternoon away.

The island itself is steeped in hundreds of years’ worth of history to explore, including many ‘firsts’: the world’s first underwater observatory in 1954 and the first island movie theatre (both since decommissioned). But oldest of them all is one of the world’s prehistoric pals, Cassius, who calls Green Island crocodile farm his home (within a natural enclosure – don’t stress). Cassius the croc is said to be more than 110 years old, weigh around 1300kg and measure 5.5m from nose to tail.

Day two

Morning: Hit the waters

Start your second day on Green Island the way any escapist dreams of, with a little down time balanced with Australia’s natural sensory pools. Aside from snorkelling, there are any number of incredible ways to explore the surrounding depths to Green Island. Book a tour on the popular glass bottom boat, a great option for families and those looking for accessible options. If you’re up for a challenge, take a beginner’s scuba diving course, or venture onto the Seawalker – where you don an underwater helmet and walk the ocean floor!

Afternoon: A wander through the wonder

The Green Island Boardwalk is worth a special mention before you leave the island. An accessible 1.3km return, taking just under an hour, this trail will guide you through the history of the island and observing over 126 native species of Green Island plant life. The island also attracts an incredible range of migratory birds, with over 55 species of birds nesting on its shores. See how many you can spot while you’re out and about this afternoon.

You’ll notice the board walk you venture across is raised infrastructure – part of Green Island Resort’s commitment to leaving habitats undisturbed and preserving the land. Green by name, and green by nature, the island is also working on newer and greener technologies for energy and waste management for a sustainable stay.

They’re committed to protecting this World Heritage wonderland, so that you can enjoy all the reef has to offer without contributing to its demise. Solar panels, desalination, waste management and water treatment are just some of the focuses at this eco-certified retreat. Their sustainability practices and eco-approach have been so well adapted to island BAU that it feels an authentic way of living, rather than a box ticking exercise.

A breathtaking return to Cairns

green island

Photo by @shots.by.sls

If you truly believe in saving the best to last, book a return flight to Cairns via helicopter. Not only does it offer an entirely different perspective on the land that you’ve called home for a while, but it gets you back to exploring Cairns in less than half the time. An exhilarating bird’s eye view of our natural wonder and its sheer magnitude beneath you.

Connect and recalibrate in a short 48 hours on Green Island – the kind of barefoot simplicity that makes you want to step away from everything… just for a little while.