You arrive at Green Island by boat from Cairns. Many people go for the day, but to really appreciate this rain forest island, you need to stay a few nights. The hotel nestles quietly behind the trees that tumble down onto the beach, hidden from view. The rooms are wonderful. We stayed on the top floor that is the first floor, with our balcony nudging into the rain forest canopy.
During the day the island is buzzing with happy holidayers enjoying the sea, the fish, the coral and the sheer beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. At 4:30 the day’s visitors sail away, the fish reclaim the water around Green Island and you find yourself in the most tranquil place in the world. The turtle that eluded me when I was snorkelling earlier, pops his head up and swims past, just a few feet away from where I’m lazing on the beach. Shall I stay or grab my snorkel?
They have many fun ways of parting visitors from their cash: diving, snorkelling, kayaking, sea-plane flights. People who cannot dive or snorkel can still go underwater. Wearing something that looks like a goldfish bowl on your head, you can walk on the sea floor and get up close and personal with the fish and the coral. But now the day visitors have gone the beach is almost deserted. A few sharks and GTs (Giant Trevallys), a large groper and lots of smaller, prettier fish gather at the pier. Guests are invited to feed the expectant fish before cocktails on the beach.
The restaurant is superb and after a splendid dinner you are invited on a night tour of the island and the chance to star gaze using their big telescope. Queensland is renowned for dangerous snakes and other hazards. Even some of the trees are dangerous. Nettle trees have leaves that look like our nettles. However, these leaves are coated with filaments containing poison. When you rub the area that got stung, it breaks the filament and releases more poison. Get stung by one of these and you have to go hospital.
Relaxing on my Green Island balcony in the canopy, I am so glad that Green Island is a young coral cay; so young it doesn’t have any snakes and I can admire the trees safe in the knowledge that I won’t be getting up close and personal with a few metres of python or snake of any other description.
There’s a lot to do on the island: trips in glass bottom boats, an underwater observatory, kayaking, snorkelling. But taking a day trip to the outer barrier reef is a must-do. Here there is brilliant snorkelling, diving, and for non-divers, a chance to go underwater on something akin to a baby motorbike.
This holiday caters for all abilities and ages, although not set up for little ones. It’s not cheap, it’s indulgent. If you want to indulge yourself some more with a sea-plane flight over the Great Barrier Reef, they do discount flights on your last day so you can make your return to Cairns a flight you’ll remember.