Lady Elliot Island – The Best Reef Experience

Lady Elliot Island resort provides the best reef holiday in Queensland in my view . It is just 3 hours north of Brisbane. If you want to explore reef just outside your door, or dive with turtles and manta rays, then Lady Elliot Island is the place for you.

The main departure point for the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is the sleepy seaside town of Hervey Bay.

Where is Lady Elliot Island Resort?

Lady Elliot Island lies around 100km off the Queensland coast.  It is only accessible to guests by light plane. Flights generally leave from Hervey Bay or Bundaberg, although flights from the Brisbane suburb of Redcliffe are also possible.  Forget about all those hours bobbing up and down on the ocean getting seasick. You can be there on the Island within about 15-20 minutes after taking off from the Hervey Bay or Bundaberg.

Why is Lady Elliot Island Resort so special?

There are many reasons why Lady Elliot Island attracts returns travellers. There is the tranquil coral cay location which allows guests to walk from their accommodation straight into the turquoise water. The island is also more remote than other Queensland Islands giving a sense of peace and calm away from the hustle and bustle.

Probably though, the main reason why guests flock back is the true connection to nature. Lady Elliot has turtles laying eggs as well as baby turtles hatching from their shells. It has manta rays and whales swimming just off shore over coral reefs and is home to 1,200 species of marine life. There is also a plethora of sea birds like Egrets, Noddys and Boobys.

A diving mecca, Lady Elliot Island has a great array of dive spots for the serious diver. It also serves well for snorkellers with easy access locations for those less experienced in the water.

When is the best time to visit?

When to go to Lady Elliot Island is a tough question because the island has great nature experiences all year around. Turtles can be seen in the water all year around. Turtles generally though lay eggs between the months of November to March. Turtle egg hatching takes place between January and May. Manta rays can generally be seen all year around as well, although peak numbers tend to happen from May to August. The humpback whales are passing the island on their migratory path from May to October.

My experience

Guests can walk around the island in less than 30 minutes. On my last stay on the island, I experienced one of my best nature experiences ever.  The walk had me strolling in knee deep water with tiny baby reef sharks as well as spying turtles and stingrays paddling in the shallows. The bird life was also astounding.

Whilst there, I dived around 5 times at various locations. On 2 occasions, I was lucky enough to dive with the manta rays. Mantas move with such grace and are a delight to watch close up in the water.

Lady Elliot Island resort diving

One of the main reasons I went to Lady Elliot Island was for the diving. The Island has some wonderful dive sites just off shore in the fringing reef or a short boat ride away. Due to Lady Elliot being part of the Green Zone (no take, fish or spear) there is an abundance of marine life waiting to be encountered. Lady Elliot has been voted as the one of the top 5 places in the world to see Manta Rays. There are 20 dive sites, all of which can be explored with a registered Padi instructor. There are also night dives for those who wish to see the reef activity when it’s at its most lively time. For those new to diving there is a Padi shop so you can do a Padi Course.

Other activities

For those that don’t dive then this is a great place to snorkel. You can walk off the beach and swim over some great coral. There are also glass bottom boat outings for those less amphibious. Guided reef walks also take place as well as guided tours of other aspects on the island nature. For those younger, there is also a Reef Rangers program provided during NSW and QLD school holidays.

Accommodation & meals

Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is an eco-resort. The accommodation is of a particularly good eco-resort standard ranging from two bedroom beachfront units to Eco Cabins. Breakfast and dinners are included whilst lunch is provided to be paid on consumption.

Get in touch

If you are looking for the best reef holiday in Queensland with extraordinary nature experience in a coral paradise, then this is the place for you.

If you wish to know more about deals to Lady Elliot Island Resort from somebody that has been, then please feel free to connect.


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Anthony Lee is an award winning travel designer. With close to 10 years designing high end travel, and a lifetime of travel experiences, it is a love of history, geography and cultures that drives his passion for travel. Anthony grew up in Australia but spent a good portion of his life immersed in Europe, living in the Netherlands, Germany and England. His greatest experiences have come from exploring what is around the next corner, getting off the beaten track and experiencing the local way of life in different cultures.