Lady Elliot Island a delightful coral cay

Lady Elliot Island is the most southerly coral cay in the Great Barrier Reef, it’s about a 25 minute flight from Bundaberg in Queensland or slightly further from Brisbane or the Goldcoast airports. My 2 night stay was one of the highlights of my two week trip to Australia in Easter 2015.

As an Eco resort in the Greenzone of a National Marine Park, Lady Elliot Island or “LEI” is just as stunning as you would imagine. Let me know what you thought of LEI or ask any questions by commenting after this post.

First Impressions

After a great little flight as the “co-pilot” of a small aircraft, we flew around and over LEI several times before coming in to land. The other passengers were here on day trips and were disappointed to be missing out on Scuba diving, I was lucky enough to make this my home for 3 days and 2 nights, very exciting.

Lady Elliot Island

First sight of LEI

Scuba, Snorkeling and reef walks

Diving at LEI is pretty relaxed, you collect equipment which gets piled on the back of a truck and taken a few hundred yards to the other side of the island where you enter from the beach through a channel. There are a number of dives sites and drift dives depending on the current. I saw a small wreck, reef sharks, turtles, huge maori wrasse and best of all a shovel nosed ray (or shark depending on who you ask).

Shovel Nosed Ray

Shovel Nosed Ray

Lady Elliot Island Turtle

Green Turtle

Mauri Wrasse

Maori Wrasse…big dude!

In some respects the snorkeling was even better, I lost count of the turtles I saw very close to me, along with some lovely corals, invertebrates and smaller fish.

Turtle at Lady Elliot Island

I’m hiding, go away

invertebrates Lady elliot island

Could I be any bluer?

I took a glass bottomed boat on the first evening which was fabulous. The colours look even brighter at night, especially when they switched on their “secret lights”. At one point a turtle swam right underneath us.

Here I come!

Here I come!

Another great activity is reef walking. You grab some reef shoes and a pole, and wade out at low tide, the reef is quite exposed, in fact it stops growing vertically and spreads horizontally. It looks so beautiful at this time.

Reef at low tide

Reef walking

The beach is stunning

Lady Elliot Island beach

A bit on sunbathing

Shoaling fish

Shoaling fish

The accommodation

I was staying in a Garden Unit (check out the video), these are small cabins with a double bed, a set of bunks, a shower room and a veranda. Whilst basic, it was quite comfortable and about 10 paces from the beach. The rooms don’t lock but you can keep valuables at the office if you want.  The restaurant and bar serve main meals and snacks; and a breakfast buffet which was included in my costs. You can also choose to pay for a lunchtime buffet. The food was better than I expected having read some poor reviews, I thought it was pretty good. The deck looks out across the reef and is a good place to relax with a drink and a book.


The best bit, after trying and failing at Heron Island, was on my second night at LEI. I was walking back to my cabin after dinner and spotted something I thought was a crab on the sand, on closer inspection it was a lone baby turtle! There was no one else around and the moon was bright as this tiny little turtle (when i say tiny it was much smaller than I’d anticipated, about 5cm) made it’s way to the water as I followed “supervising”. He or she made it without being picked off by a bird, I really hope it was the 1 in 1000 to survive. Amazing experience, I was very sad to leave but the weather had taken a downturn and I was also excited to get to my next stop in Noosa.


Goodbye beautiful island

Video about LEI


2 comments on “Lady Elliot Island a delightful coral cay

  1. What a beautiful island! From up above, with the surrounding reef, it looks like a self-contained paradise. I love those massive turtles too. What an experience!

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