Overnight on Green Island on the Great Barrier reef - turtles, beach, reef and rain forest - plus a little luxury.
Cairns in the background.
Green Island is a short 45 minute ferry ride from Cairns and is one of 300 sand cays in the Great Barrier Reef. It's unique in that it's the only one covered by rain-forest. Sand cays are islands that form on top of existing reef structures - they are basically large piles of sand, coral rubble, broken shells and other reef debris. When birds land they bring nutrients and seeds in their droppings and as Green Island is close to the Daintree Rainforest the seeds on the island have germinated and developed into a rain-forest.
Green Island is just 30 acres, most of it protected as a national park, the rest is the luxury Green Island Resort - a little expensive but a great place stay. The resort, justly, prides itself on its environmental management practise and Wendy and visited to celebrate her birthday.
Green Island is beautiful and its an easy way to get a taste of the Great Barrier Reef. A somewhat stomach turning glass-bottomed boat trip enables a close up look at the coral reef and fish life. With an excited group on-board the guide describes the fish life.
The last ferry back to Cairns leaves late afternoon and once the day-trippers have left you have the island almost to yourself.
The resort has resident marine biologists and in the evening there is a fascinating walk and talk. The first point of interest is to see the flower emblem of Queensland - the rare Cooktown orchid (left).
It's a short walk from here to the jetty where sleeping turtles can be seen and the occasional ray.
The walk then takes you back through rain-forest with sightings of bats, snails and spiders.
Then back out onto the beach, under some she-oaks that are the roosting site for a noisy, squabbling colony of Noddy Terns - in Australia where many names are shortened - these guys are called 'Noddies.'
It was an excellent walk and talk.
The best thing though!
On our second day the sun came out and we went snorkelling with turtles above the extensive sea grass beds where they feed. Looking down through the water, just a few feet away, it was magical to see their beautiful patterned bodies and their beak like mouths chomping away on the sea grass. We were so close we could touch them - they rightly ignored us, seemingly having not a care in the world. Living around Green Island why would you!