Only 45 minutes by boat from Cairns, Green Island is the ideal place to discover the Great Barrier Reef.The pictures of Green Island are so beautiful that one wonders if they aren’t a bit too Photoshoped. Actually, Green Island looks exactly like the photos: turquoise and transparent water, huge fish and corals, and everything is very clean.Green Island isn’t really suitable for sunbathing or swimming, corals are everywhere, so plan to go diving instead!As for me, I bought a tour including the boat and several activities :
- Glass Bottom boat tour: As its name suggests, the bottom of the boat is glassed, which allows to see the fish without getting wet. The main interest is the food that the guide gives to the fishes, so we can see a lot more fish than when we dive.
- Semi-submersible coral reef viewing tour: The view from this type of boat is even more interesting because the boat is half submerged and we are at the bottom of the boat; the fish from very close, the food is given to the fish as well, which attracts very big fish, to choose either this activity or the snorkeling
- Snorkeling: Diving with mask &snorkel. The equipment is provided (except the swimsuit of course). We can see very well the fish and corals, but to see big fishes we have to go very far (at least that’s what the visitors told me), so I was afraid and chose the “semi-submersible” activity instead of diving
- Underwater Observatory: a kind of observatory plunged in the water with portholes to observe fish. But the view really didn’t impress me.
The only negative point I could find is more related to the agency (and not the island). Indeed, if the trip went well, the lunch proposed by the agency was to be taken on the boat (and not on the island). Even if the ocean was very calm, the boat was moving a lot. The rather cheap food and the movements of the boat made me a bit sick.
How to get there
We can go to Green Island by boat from Cairns (Reef Fleet Terminal, we can go there on foot because Cairns is a small city).If Cairns isn’t particularly interesting (you can’t even swim there, except in the large Esplanade pool – even the backpackers are quiet!), plan a night in Cairns anyway because the boat leaves early in the morning for Green Island. I advise you to take day trips as there are many things to do on the island
- Tour 1 day : $110
- 2 nights at Cairns Youth Hostel: $38/day/room
- Food: $7/person
Total: $300 for 2 days, 2 adults, excluding shipping to Cairns
- Boat at Green Island, Green Island Discovery package http://www.green-island.com.au/discovery is the cheapest rate I found for a day trip
- Backpacker in Cairns: Asylum Cairns http://asylumhostelcairns.com// isn’t necessarily the closest to the port nor the cheapest, but I chose them for the atmosphere and the free pickup service. In the end, only the pick-up service was good, the atmosphere was good, but the people were very respectful and the beds were comfortable. There is an unlimited BBQ on Mondays for $5