Are you planning a trip to the Southern Great Barrier Reef? There is so much to see and experience on this beautiful coral cay so here are three things we suggest you check out while spending the day on Lady Elliot Island.
1. Explore the underwater world on a snorkel
As part of the day trip, guests have a complimentary glass bottom boat and snorkel tour included in their package. Departing from the dive shop, you will board the glass-bottom vessel and begin hearing about the reef from your guide. While on board, the staff will aim to show you some of the wildlife frequently sighted around the island while explaining some important and fascinating things about the Great Barrier Reef. Depending on the conditions, this trip may visit the manta ray cleaning station where these animals are often spotted through the glass floor of the boat. The boat will then head North, mooring up at one of the snorkel lines for your eagerly awaited snorkel over the reef. After a briefing, guests are invited to enter the water and gaze upon the healthy coral, fish, and other wildlife. This experience is a highlight for many guests with an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. You have roughly 45 minutes in the water for your snorkel, so we recommend pacing yourself and taking it all in. TIP: Don’t forget that your guide is a local here so ask them any questions you have and even pick their brain about favourite spots!
You may also be able to snorkel in the lagoon during your day trip which is the best place to hang out with our friendly turtles. The lagoon is tidal, meaning its only open for snorkelling at high tide due to the depth of water. Many of the staff will recommend entering the lagoon in front of the restaurant and snorkelling out through “channel one” which is a large channel of sand. TIP: At the back of the channel, you will see a marker buoy with a blue flag which is the location of a turtle cleaning station. Turtles gather here to have their shells cleaned while having a rest, like a turtle day spa! While in the lagoon also keep a lookout for baby sharks, starfish, anemonefish, and the beautiful coral. This environment is great for beginners or people new to snorkelling due to the depth, not to mention the friendly inhabitants!
2. Get to know our seabirds
Within the first few minutes of your arrival, you will notice a particular odour characteristic of a seabird nesting colony, the smell of guano! Lady Elliot Island is home to the second highest diversity of bird life on the Great Barrier Reef, hosting over 150,000 birds during peak breeding season (September – April). It can be quite surprising just how comfortable our seabirds are around humans, due to very few predators on the island this is an ideal breeding location for them. During your day trip you will meet our white capped noddies on your orientation walk, you can also hear some of the crested terns calling to one another. In addition, there are also Bridled terns, Common noddies, Frigate birds and other terns currently utilising the island. If you have the opportunity, join our island discovery tour and you will meet the red-tailed tropicbird colony, one of only four nesting locations on the East coast of Australia. TIP: If you get pooped on by one of the birds, its lucky!
3. Join an island tour
Depending on your departure time, you may be able to join one of our guided island tours. Our activities staff lead the island discovery tour, a gentle stroll through the resort explaining the islands formation, vegetation, history and pointing out some local residents before finishing with fish feeding in the lagoon. Reef shoes are a must for fish feeding where you will cast your eyes upon some of our friendly (and hungry) locals! TIP: If you have one, bring your underwater camera to fish feeding and hold it in front of you as the food is released into the water, it makes for some great footage!
We hope you have a great time on your day trip to Lady Elliot and don’t forget to share your experience with us using #ladyelliotisland or tagging us @ladyelliotislandecoresort.