Lady Elliot Island

Surrounded by a gorgeous white-coral beach and a wide, shallow lagoon teeming with colourful marine life, Lady Elliot Island is renowned for its unrivalled water clarity, offering exceptional reef walking, scuba diving and snorkelling.

Lady Elliot Island is the closest Great Barrier Reef island to Brisbane, Queensland’s southern capital. The island is part of Australia’s World Heritage Listed Area and lies within the 'Green Zone' of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

What to do and see

Swim among colourful corals and fish, clams, sponges, urchins and anemones and look out for the resident population of 40 manta rays.

In addition, this 42ha coral cay offers bird, turtle and whale watching opportunities. Watch green and loggerhead turtles nest on the beach from November to March and then eight weeks later, from January to April, see young hatchlings leave their nests and head towards the sea in one of the world’s most important sea turtle habitats.

Listen to whale songs under the water while swimming around the island between June and September when humpback whales return to breed in the island’s waters.

And try to spot some of the more than 50 species of seabirds and wading birds that inhabit the island, including black noddies, eastern reef egrets, red-tailed tropic birds and wedge-tailed shearwaters.

During the summer breeding season, more than 100,000 noisy birds call the island’s grassy plains home.

Where to stay

Unwind in comfort at the exclusive, eco-friendly Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort, which guarantees a maximum of only 105 overnight guests at any one time to ensure a true romantic getaway holiday escape.

Getting to Lady Elliot Island

Lady Elliot Island is located in the Coral Sea, around 85km (53mi) northeast of Bundaberg, between Fraser Island and Lady Musgrave Island. Bundaberg is around 360km (223mi) north of Brisbane.

Despite being an island, there is no boat access to Lady Elliot Island due to its remote location, distance and time it would take to travel by boat to the edge of the southern Great Barrier Reef.

Instead, the most convenient route to Lady Elliot Island is by air to the island's own grass airfield on aircraft chartered by Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort.

Lady Elliot Island is one of only six island resorts on the Great Barrier Reef and one of only three with direct flight access to an island airfield.

Flight transfers for day visitors and overnight guests depart from several locations in Queensland, including Bundaberg Airport, allow 30 minutes; Hervey Bay Airport, allow 40 minutes; Brisbane (Redcliffe Airport), allow 1 hour 20 minutes; and from the Gold Coast Airport, allow 1 hour 40 minutes.

Presently, the types of aircraft used are Cessna Caravans and Britten Norman Islanders. Aircraft are chartered from Seair Pacific

From international destinations, this requires first flying into Brisbane Airport (BNE) – the closest international airport – followed by a connecting flight to Lady Elliot Island from Redcliffe Airport, located just north of Brisbane. Or a connecting flight from Brisbane Airport to Bundaberg Airport.

Alternatively, Queensland Rail Travel operates a frequent high-speed Tilt Train service from Brisbane Roma Street Station to Maryborough West Station, taking 3 hours 33 minutes, four times daily. By taxi, Maryborough West Station to Hervey Bay Airport takes around 32 minutes.

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort can best advise overnight guests on the most appropriate travel options.

Latest update: Lady Elliot Island: 9 September, 2022