Fly to Lady Elliot Island surrounded by the Southern Great Barrier Reef and discover one of Queensland’s best kept secrets!

Most don’t realise that it’s possible to enjoy a true reef experience on a day trip without departing from Cairns or the Whitsundays, yet Lady Elliot is an easy day trip for visitors located in Brisbane.

In just 10 hours I was whisked from Brisbane’s CBD to Lady Elliot and back via a scenic coastline flight. I managed a lagoon swim, glass bottom boat tour and snorkelling with turtles, rays and schooling fish, a relaxed lunch, reef walk and fish feeding.

We left the heart of the city at 7.30 am and I was back by 6 pm.

Explore the Northern Great Barrier Reef by air

Fly to Lady Elliot

The coastline flight was an unexpected highlight as we passed over places where I’ve holidayed many times from Sunshine Beach to Fraser Island.

the shapes of the Glasshouse Mountains, the cores of extict volacoes over 21 million years old, were an awesome sight as we flew up the coast.

Lady Elliot is located 100 km north of Hervey Bay and is the first island in the World heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Although I was hardly marooned, stepping foot on Lady Elliott felt a bit ‘Robinson Crusoe’. It’s a small, compact island that’s packed with so much wildlife, wide coral beaches and natural beauty you might not want to leave.

Undiscovered paradise

Formed over 3000 years ago, the coral cay is home for around 88 species of birds, nesting sea turtles and beautiful underwater coral teeming with marine life.

Despite being so close to Brisbane, this region is relatively undiscovered. There are no crowds on this tiny island, and a visit is more relaxed and personal.

People come here to experience a destination that’s a little less mainstream. Where it’s more about nature, reconnecting with family and friends or getting out and exploring than getting dressed for dinner.

Jacques Cousteau famously called the Southern Great Barrier Reef one of the world’s premier dive destinations. Expect to discover stunning, secluded reefs populated by a unique combination of large hard coral reefs, colourful fish and big marine life like turtles and manta rays. And the water is extraordinarily clear, even by Great Barrier Reef standards, so you’ll be left speechless by the experience of getting up close and personal with life in this stunning part of the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkelling on Lady Elliot’s reef is within easy reach, right off the beach.

Here’s what I saw.


Getting there


You can fly to Lady Elliot from the Gold Coast and Brisbane (via Redcliffe) for the day and enjoy five hours on the island, a tour, glass bottom boat, reef walk, lunch, buffet lunch, fish feeding, snorkel equipment, use of day guest facilities and more for $849 for an adult.


Find out more about the Southern Great Barrier Reef. 


Disclaimer: Ed+bK travelled to Lady Elliot as a guest of Tourism Queensland and Scenic Air