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5 Best Secret Islands of the Great Barrier Reef

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View from Cook's Lookout on Lizard Island, Australia.  Photo courtesy of Lizard Island Resort

View from Cook's Lookout on Lizard Island, Australia. Photo courtesy of Lizard Island Resort

The Great Barrier Reef hosts nearly 1,000 islands formed by the coral reef network over thousands of years and you can discover the five best secret islands of the reef that are off the beaten path during your Australia trip.

The more popular islands continue to draw visitors from around the world, including tourists from across Australia eager to enjoy the marvels of the scenic heritage in their own backyard. But other idyllic islands offer unique experiences across the Great Barrier Reef network.

This information shares the inspiration of wild cayes with tropical birdlife, private landscapes overlooking shipwrecks, and emerging beaches providing remote, deserted islands for exclusive and rare experiences unlike those of their better-known counterparts.

  1. 1. Lizard Island
  2. 2. Heron Island
  3. 3. Fitzroy Island
  4. 4. Lady Musgrave Island
  5. 5. Haggerstone Island
  6. Discover the Best Secret Islands of the Great Barrier Reef

1. Lizard Island

Sunset Beach on Lizard Island, Australia

Lizard Island, Australia. Photo courtesy Tourism Australia

The natural paradise of Lizard Island shimmers with white-sand beaches and a hidden lagoon accessible from Australia’s northernmost resort. The local lizards roam across the uninhabited 2,500-acre national park and other creatures wander the immense jungle-clad landscape.

Tropical birds accentuate the remote ambiance and marine life teems around the edges of the island’s fringing reef. Guests can relax with sunset picnics, lounge with the local Australian lizards, sunbathe on private beaches, or sip a cocktail in view of the serene waters lapping against the shoreline.

2. Heron Island

Turtle returning to the water on Heron Island, Australia

Heron Island, Australia

Located along a southern coral caye known for hosting sea turtles during nesting season, Heron Island is a marvelous secret island with many marine experiences suitable for families, couples, and solo explorers. A myriad of seabirds populate the island's tropical landscape.

The local resort creates a cozy and remote ambiance absent of technological attachments like televisions. The open island will allow you to watch the wonders of the wildlife at your doorstep and listen to the calming rhythm of the lapping waves during or outside the turtle nesting season.

3. Fitzroy Island

Nudey Beach on Fitzroy Island, Australia

Fitzroy Island, Australia. Photo courtesy Tourism Australia

Though relatively well-known, Fitzroy Island mostly draws visitors on day trips rather than those staying overnight or longer. For a more immersive and secret discovery of Fitzroy, opt to stay and explore the natural treasures at your own pace.

Tour the Cairns Turtle Rehabilitation Centre, trek to the Secret Garden, and take a glass-bottom boat ride across the water. The clear azure waters and white sands create a reflective sheen blanketing the edges of the island. Located 45 minutes from the city of Cairns by ferry, the island acts as a perfect and easy family getaway.

4. Lady Musgrave Island

Flock of birds in flight on Lady Musgrave Island, Australia

Lady Musgrave Island, Australia

Birdwatchers revel in the active avifauna residing in the Capricorn Bunker archipelago connected to Lady Musgrave Island at the southern edges of the Great Barrier Reef.

Scuba divers search for giant clams and tropical fish, while sea turtles poke their heads out of the water, nest on the white sands between November and January, and hatch between January and March.

The unspoiled and authentic island destination offers the splendors of pristine waters and beaches away from the crowds of more famous islands.

5. Haggerstone Island

Aerial view of Haggerstone Island Resort

Photo courtesy Haggerstone Island Resort

Intimate, secluded, and sparkling, Haggerstone is an island with a private, self-sustaining eco-resort that offers a romantic experience far from the bustle of the Great Barrier Reef’s popular destinations.

Shipwrecks, World War II memorabilia, and magnificent marine life fill Haggerstone’s translucent waters and invite eager explorers to soak up the maritime history, take pleasure in the sensational scenery, and spot the reef’s colorful creatures. You will enjoy the luxuries of your lavish resort as you explore Haggerstone mostly to yourself.

Discover the Best Secret Islands of the Great Barrier Reef

Sooty tern flying high in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Sooty Tern in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

There are several secret islands to explore on your adventure from Australian shores to the Great Barrier Reef.

From the private beaches of Haggerstone Island to the birdwatching experiences in the Capricorn Bunker archipelago, Zicasso can take you to immaculate destinations off the beaten path on our handcrafted Australia Tours & Vacations.

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