It’s the Great Barrier Reef, but not as you know it. Green Island is a coral cay within the Great Barrier Reef, just off the coast of Cairns. We visited on a day trip from Cairns during our week in the Whitsundays & Tropical North Queensland.
The reef here isn’t as bright or teeming with life as it is at the Outer Reef Station, but I didn’t mind having a little less wildlife spotting, to get my snorkelling with a side of paradise.
Pulling up to the jetty, I could hardly believe my eyes. This is the type of tropical island I’d always dreamed of kicking back on. Clear, electric blue water, white sandy beaches and a dense covering of rainforest. Perfection.
In the sunshine, the water just about glowed, revealing all of the coral and fish living on this shallow part of the reef. We headed straight for the dive shop & hired our snorkels and flippers, and hit the water.
Snorkelling on Green Island
Neither of us had been snorkelling before, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure how much I’d enjoy it. I’m more of a lazing around in the shallows or splashing around in the waves, than a big swimmer. Then again, I’d never been swimming in coral reefs, among tropical fish and the strangest sea creatures I’ve ever seen. We were snorkelling for over an hour, but the time flew by.
It was so exciting yet relaxing at the same time, we had to practically drag each other in at the hottest part of the day, to avoid the midday sun (and a nasty sunburn).
We ate lunch from one of the cafes in the resort and spent about an hour in the shaded resort pool. We could have visited the resident crocodile or giant turtle, but decided to go snorkelling again instead. Snorkelling is addictive!
The coral is not as colourful around Green Island as it is in deeper parts of the Great Barrier Reef, because the shallow water means it gets bleached by the sun. As a result, there is less wildlife on the reef than you’d find elsewhere, such as at the outer reef station. Even so, it was really exciting to see the coral, fish and other unidentifiable sea creatures and being able to snorkel off the beach was the perfect first snorkelling experience.
I think the Outer Reef Station would have better marine wildlife and healthier coral, but one of the perks of Green Island is that we could get in and out of the water whenever we wanted. We didn’t need a guide with us and the only boundaries were that we had to swim between the red and yellow flags.
I didn’t want to leave Green Island, and as the boat pulled away at the end of the day, I made a promise to myself that I’d return – and stay for much longer.