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Home to one of the most beautiful beaches on Australia’s east coast, Fitzroy Island welcomes hundreds of day trippers from Cairns. Although the underwater visibility around the island (located near the coast) can be poor, don’t hesitate to explore its seabed if you’re spending the day there. Hundreds of reef fish species, sea turtles, and small sharks live on the reefs lining the island.

Coral and parrotfish at Nudey Beach, Fitzroy Island
A bluebarred parrotfish at Nudey Beach reef.

How to get to Fitzroy Island?

Cairns is the main departure point for boats to Fitzroy Island. The boat trip takes about 45 minutes. Several companies offer boat rides to the island (about AUD80 per person, with various schedules available).

Once on Fitzroy Island, you are free to explore the island as you want. It is also possible to stay on the island at Fitzroy Island Resort or at the campgrounds. In this case, your transfer can be organized by the hotel.

Fitzroy Island snorkeling map

Getting into the water to snorkel Fitzroy Island

There are two snorkeling areas around Fitzroy Island. The Nudey Beach area (zone 1 on the map) can be explored at high tide as well as at low tide. The water entrance is from the beach. However, snorkeling the dock area (zone 2 on the map) is tide-dependant.

In fact, at low tide, it is often impossible to get into the water without stepping on the coral (which is absolutely forbidden and dangerous). Make sure to check the tide times.

Fitzroy Island snorkeling tips and recommendations

There are two areas recommended for snorkeling Fitzroy Island:

1/ The small coral reef that borders the rocks at the north end of Nudey Beach (zone 1 on the map). The beach is reached reach in a fifteen-minute walk from the dock (well signposted). Enter the water near the rocks. The reef starts just a few meters from the edge.

The reef is overall healthy with beautiful patches of hard corals forming a small drop-off (↕3-9ft/1-3m). Parrotfish, butterflyfish, angelfish and wrasses are common at reef, which is sometimes visited by small whitetip sharks.

Green sea turtle at Fitzroy Island
Green sea turtles are commonly seen in the dock area (zone 2).

2/ The reef which faces the main beach of the island east of the dock, about opposite the resort (zone 2 on the map). If you find the beach to be less pleasant, this spot is the best place around the island to swim with green sea turtles. They are most often found in areas where depths are 6 to 12 ft/2 to 4m, at the reef edge (see map).

This spot has some coral that forms in places of pretty slopes where sixbar angelfish, schools of snappers, and pairs of spinefoot abound.

Giant clam at Fitzroy Island
One of the many giant clams living in Fitzroy Island’s shore waters.

The underwater visibility at Fitzroy Island is generally average and can worsen after heavy rains. As in all of Queensland, wearing a sting suit is recommended, especially during the summer months.

Restaurants and accommodations nearby

The Fitzroy Island Resort (which also manages the nearby campground) is the only accommodation on the island. There is a restaurant that is open to visitors during the day.


  • Level required Beginner
  • Protected areaFitzroy Island National Park
  • Maximum depth15ft/5m
  • Water entranceFrom a sandy beach
  • LifeguardNo
  • Visitor numbersHigh
  • Access costsTour price (from AUD80pp.), or stay on the island
  • Restaurants nearbyYes
  • Public toilets & showersYes, only for the resort's guests

MAP Spot

These snorkeling spots are accessible to beginners and kids. You will enter the water gradually from a beach, or in a less than 3ft. deep area. The sea is generally calm, shallow, with almost no waves or currents. These spots are usually located in marked and/or monitored swimming areas. It is not necessary to swim long distances to discover the sea life.

This level only apply when the spot experiences optimal sea and/or weather conditions. It is not applicable if the sea and/or weather conditions deteriorate, in particular in the presence of rough sea, rain, strong wind, unusual current, large tides, waves and/or swell. You can find more details about the definition of our snorkeling levels on our snorkeling safety page.