Aneta Nedimovic ditches all her mod cons and gets back to nature on Lady Elliot Island
A secluded island with no reception is everyone’s worst nightmare. How are you supposed to update your Facebook and Twitter statuses and tell people the amazing time you are having right at that very moment?
Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef, a 25-minute plane ride from Hervey Bay, is one such secluded getaway with a island maximum of 100 people and the aforementioned lack of connectivity to the outside world.
Once the initial panic attack subsided, I began to realise that this is in fact a blessing, immerse myself completely in the tranquil paradise, bursting with wildlife.
My week spent on Lady Elliot was exciting and action-packed as I followed the activity board and the recommended tours.
A very low tide made perfect conditions for a reef walking experience. Amongst the branching and brain corals I saw sea stars, urchins, clams, far too many sea cucumbers, dangerous blue-spotted sting rays as well as harmless epaulette sharks.
For an amazing snorkelling experience, this is the perfect location.
There’s the option of venturing out into the deeper waters, but the lagoon (less than 10m from the Eco Resort) is bursting with life. Floating over the corals I saw an array of colourful schools of fish. There was the fish orchestra – the trumpet, drummer and flutemouth fish, the animal kingdom – the parrot, rabbit, butterfly and batfish, as well as angel, clown and surgeon fish, a whole heap of wrasses, cods and fish I don’t know the names of.
But it was the resident artist, the Picasso trigger fish, that I thought was by far the coolest with its blue face mask and colourful body. Although it is very territorial and if you get too close to it’s patch of algae it will raise its trigger and torpedo towards you and bite.
The best snorkelling moment for me was when I saw a green sea turtle and swam along side it. The way the shell gets reflected in the sunlight through the water is just beautiful.
Turtles are magnificent creatures, living to be 100-years-old. However to get to that age is a perilous journey in itself, with only 1 in 1000 reaching maturity. I was lucky enough to see not only see turtles in the water, but also see them laying their eggs and turtle hatchlings racing to the water at night. Baby turtles are adorable and if they survive the multitude of dangers and obstacles in the open ocean, when they will be 30-years-old when they next return to the island.
The island is not very big and can be explored in about two hours at a slow walking pace.
Lady Elliot is a bird haven and during my time there I counted some 20 different bird species, with the white-capped noddys most prominent.
There was a visitor from the northern hemisphere – the ruddy turnstone, the island punk – the crested tern, regular restaurant food thieves – buff banded rail and Capricorn silver eye birds, as well as rare red-tailed tropic bird chicks.
Also, don’t be surprised if you hear a creepy baby crying sound at night, it’s just the mutton bird (or wedge-tailed shearwater) trying to locate its partner in an understand nest.
It seems the sun shines brightly on Lady Elliot, even when it’s raining everywhere else in Queensland as I scored perfect weather for the entire week.
For those who love photography, wildlife or just lazing about on the beach and relaxing, Lady Elliot is your ultimate getaway.
// Aneta Nedimovic is a member of our Virtual Internship Program. If you’re a photographer or writer looking to break into travel journalism, we’re here to help you get a leg up. To find out more, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org