Popular as a day-tripper destination, Green Island is a 12ha rainforested coral cay 45min by fast cat from Cairns. A low-lying island barely visible from seaward were it not for its thick vegetation, you’ll know you’re not far away when you see tourists suspended beneath colourful parasailing chutes.
Disembarking at the jetty, the island is abuzz with frantic tourists wanting to try everything from glass bottom boat tours, diving, snorkelling and beachcombing to boardwalks that meander through the rainforest. There’s also the world’s first underwater observatory, as well as Marineland Melanesia, an eclectic collection of artefacts representing the passion of crocodile hunter George Cross.
Look out for 110-year-old saltwater croc Cassius, reputedly weighing in at 1300kg and 5.5m, although no-one but George is brave enough to get close enough with a tape measure. George insists that although Cassius had a fierce reputation in the wild before he came to Green Island 20 years ago, he’s really a “gentle old softie, who nurtures young crocs.”
Exhausted visitors wanting to linger a little longer in relative tranquillity can check into one of the 46 elegant Reef or Island Suites at the five star Green Island Resort (www.greenislandresort.com.au). Come 5pm, with day-trippers banished, the island reverts to a peaceful sanctuary, perfect for couples and families wanting to experience the extraordinary transition as dusk descends over the rainforest.
Getting There: Great Adventures’ (www.quicksilvergroup.com.au) fast cats or Ocean Free (www.oceanfree.com.au), an elegant sailing schooner, depart from Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal. Helicopter transfers from Cairns Airport.