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Five Islands That'll Make You Want to Pack Your Bags, Stat

Fun fact: Did you know there are over 900 tropical islands along the Queensland coastline? It’s like Mother Nature threw a handful of diamonds into those bright blue waters and willed ‘em to grow. Having long moved beyond the place where old Neighbours stars go to retire, Queensland - especially the Tropical North end – is a spot just bursting to welcome you to a tropical island adventure.

So pack those bikinis and warn your friends of the Instagram spam about to happen – here are five of the best islands off the Tropical North Queensland coast to make you want to live out that tropical escape.

Fitzroy Island

Where
Paradise, as it seems, is found approximately 30km south-east off the coast of Cairns.

Travel details
A 45-minute trip on a Fitzroy Island Fast Cat ride will take you from Cairns direct to the island. Or, find a first mate with a yacht to hang out with secure public moorings around the island.

Best known for 
Its periwinkle blue seas lapping into white sandy shores. The kind of contrast that looks photoshopped because it’s so unnaturally beautiful.

Where to eat and nap
Fitzroy Island has a resort onsite and plenty of camping spots too. You won’t live on rations though, a restaurant and a beachside café and bar will make sure you’re well fed and hydrated.

Most Instagrammable spot 
Nudey Beach on the island has been voted as the Best Beach in Australia – although beautiful on the beach, the best view is from the top of the lighthouse walk to get the view from above aspect. Warning though, Nudey Beach is nudey by name and not by nature, so keep the kit on, folks.

Green Island

Where 
Approximately 25km off the coast of Cairns. Despite what the fashionistas say, the blues and the greens should absolutely be seen.

Travel details
Only a stone’s throw from Fitzroy Island, it’ll also take only 45 minutes and a fast catamaran to ride out of Cairns and arrive on this island. Green Island also has its own helipad, just in case you’re high rollin’.

Best known for
For the Royalists, it was the visited by HRH Lizzie back in the ‘70s, firmly putting the Tropical North on the international map. It’s also known as the largest of all the sand cays. Other than being a stunning tropical island where you can live out your Fantasy Island dreams, best you also meet Cassius, the 110 year-old saltwater crocodile, weighing 1300-kg and measuring 5.5m nose to tail – the oldest and biggest in the region. Don’t worry, he’s kept enclosed and fed very well. 

Where to eat and nap
Green Island is well known for its resort to the stars, and its restaurant Emeralds serves up daily treats of more seafood than you thought was possible.

Most Instagrammable spot
Snap a pic with Gavin the photobombing Parrotfish on the Seawalker experience. Wearing a 20 000 Leagues style helmet you’ll submerge underwater without getting your hair wet. Your guides will throw fish food at you, triggering hundreds of coloured fish to dance in front of your helmet.

Snapper Island

Where
About 20km north-west of Port Douglas

Travel details
There are very limited commercial boats that have a licence to access the island, however, the National Parks Authority do allow for private vessels and day tours to explore. Windswell SUP and Kite Surfing, operating out of Port Douglas, have a most excellent day trip out to the island, including a fast boat transfer and SUP-ing for turtles.

Best known for
The island is part of the traditional sea country of the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people, who continue to hunt and fish around the island.

Where to eat and sleep
Camping is permitted, however, there are no facilities on the island. Robinson Crusoe is up, people!

Most Instagrammable spot
All of it. A remote, practically untouched ecosystem of reef and rainforest, this is definitely one spot to brag about.

Lizard Island

Where
240km north-west of Cairns, smack bang in the middle of possibly the most pristine part of the Great Barrier Reef.

Travel details
Accessible only by private charter from Cairns, which doubles as a scenic flight over a tie-dye of brilliant blue sea.

Best known for
It’s home to the ultra-luxe Lizard Island Resort, one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World. Also, the island has the closest access to the world-famous Cod Hole diving spot, heavily populated by giant, surprisingly friendly and very curious giant cod.

Where to eat and nap
The resort is a premium all-inclusive stay, so although no day-trippers are allowed, the resort does have two exclusive restaurants and plenty of private catering options. Arrange a picnic and have your own boat take you to a private part of the island to enjoy. 

Most Instagrammable spot
A National Park covering 1,013 hectares with 24 private, sandy beaches and a lagoon, this is a photographer’s dream come true.

Mackay Cay

Where
Here’s one for the memory bank! As a tiny sand island approximately 50km from Port Douglas, Mackay Cay is located on the north-west corner of the Mackay Reef.

Travel details
A number of boat operators have this special spot on their visit list – Ocean Safari and Sailaway, both leaving from Cape Tribulation. Otherwise, you can chopper out with GBR Helicopters for the ultimate way to see the Great Barrier Reef!

Best known for
Mackay Cay is one of many coral cays that are small islands that rise mere metres above high tide. Protecting a variety of endangered plant and animal species, the coral cays are internationally recognised. Take the kids on a trip to one of the most significant sections of the reef, or lounge on the picture-perfect beach.

Where to eat and nap
As a low-lying sand cay, high tide prevents any staying out here, and all food must be supplied. Chat to your chosen boat/chopper people, and they’ll make sure you’re well taken care of.

Most Instagrammable spot
With its pure white sand and direct access to practically untouched parts of the GBR, you’ll be hard-pressed choosing a spot.

Top image courtesy of Tourism Tropical North Queensland