Fitzroy Island is an old mountain just off the Murray Prior range south of Cairns. About 8000 years ago as the last ice age subsided this mountain became separated from the mainland by rising seas. A hard, rocky substrate has provided the basis of a fringing reef system. Fitzroy is home to lush tropical rainforest which covers its tall peaks, stretching up to 269m (882ft). Home to iconic Australian wildlife, such as Sulphur-crested cockatoos, orange footed scrub fowls, fierce Ospreys and migratory birds such as the Pied Imperial Pigeon.
The fringe reef starts where the water does, making it one of the most accessible snorkeling sites on the Great Barrier Reef, with large areas of live coral cover, or coral thickets in very shallow water. Iconic reef fish such as the beaked butterfly fish and clown fish are very common and easy to spot. Green Sea Turtles are regularly spotted searching for algae to graze on throughout the reef.
Fitzroy Island is also a wonderful place to start the search for the Great Barrier Reef’s megafauna, or larger marine creatures. Giant Manta Rays have been seen right up against the edges of the rocky reef as they feed on the plankton bought in by oceanic currents. From July-September whale watching tours depart from the island in search of the majestic Humpback Whales as they arrive in tropical waters for their annual calving migration.