Green Island Resort, Queensland
Green Island resort is located just off the coast from Cairns. The island is prominently used by day trippers who depart from Cairns for a day on the island, snorkelling, swimming and enjoying the other facilities and activities the island has to offer. But the island also features fantastic accommodation options if you would like to stay for more than a day. We stayed for five beautiful nights at the resort after visiting the island on a day trip a number of years before.
Green Island was used by local aboriginal tribes as a fishing ground and a sacred ceremonial site for manhood initiations before European settlement. Captain James Cook sighted the island in 1770 and named it after Charles Green, the chief observer and astrologist on the HMS Endeavor. The island was visited regularly from the late 1800's and the first guest house was opened in the 1940's. The existing resort was built in 1994.
We departed Cairns marina on the Great Adventures ferry for a quick 50 minute trip to the island. On arrival we were taken to the resort section of the island - separate from the day trippers area.
The rooms are excellent, beautifully positioned around the resort pool in a rainforest setting, with a choice of either ground or first floor. The Island Suites have a king or twin rooms which are perfect for young families. The Reef Suites are larger and suited for a couple. Rooms are modern, spacious, have great views and are air-conditioned.
Our stay included return transfers, buffet breakfast, snorkelling equipment, sunset drinks, glass bottom boat tour as well as fish feeding and access to beach chairs and umbrellas, kayaks and canoes.
The highlight is the snorkelling and mainly the marine life you get to see. Plenty of juvenile turtles, reef sharks and stingrays to see snorkelling just off the beach. Near the pier is the best snorkelling spot and make sure you go on one of the snorkelling trips to nearby reefs. At low tide it's too shallow snorkelling off the beach but the end of the pier is always a good spot.
Buffet breakfast was included and was good. For lunch you can eat in the main restaurant or at one of the takeaway outlets. Dinner offers plenty of options and the meals we had were excellent. After dinner there is nothing, no night-time entertainment, bar or area for guests to go - a bit disappointing.
There are plenty of walking tracks allowing you to explore the island by foot. There are over 120 species of plant life and many species of bird life including land birds, seabirds and migratory birds. The pesky buff-banded rails are everywhere, crested and noddy terns, herons, pied oystercatchers and many more. The smell from the birds can be overwhelming at times.
Wunyami is Green Island's traditional name and it has a fascinating ancient cultural history. With the Wunyami Cultural tour you are accompanied by an indigenous guide who explains how the island is connected to an ancient journey of two ancestorial story-time beings who fought and formed the island and who still protect it today. You get to learn how to create fire, how the different plants are used and how the indigenous people lived off the land. The tour takes around an hour and is well worth doing.
One of the highlights is Marineland Melanesia. This attraction features a number of saltwater crocodiles, turtles, an aquarium and one of the largest private collections of exotic Melanesian tribal artifacts. There are two crocodile shows daily where you get close to the action as the crocs are fed. You also get to see the largest captive croc in Australia - Cassius. He is estimated to be over 110 years old and is 5.48 metres long. There is also a gift shop, with plenty of souvenirs and clothing to choose from. If you are staying at the resort you only have to pay for the first time you visit, all subsequent visits are free.
Green Island Resort is an affordable island stay that is well worth visiting. During the day you need to share the island with the day-trippers but once they're gone the island is all yours. Fantastic snorkelling with turtles, sharks and rays, a crocodile attraction and great accommodation makes Green Island an excellent choice for an island holiday.