If knowing that Sir David Attenborough has filmed an episode on Lady Elliot Island (LEI) isn’t enough to make you want to go then maybe, based on our experiences, these top 10 reasons will!
Due to LEI’s remote location in the Southern Great Barrier Reef the only access is by a charter plane which departs from either Bundaberg (approx. 30 mins), Hervey Bay (approx. 40 mins), Gold Coast (approx. 100 mins) or Brisbane (approx. 80 mins). The changing blue hues of the Pacific Ocean left us mesmerised. The dark navy shades turned to vibrant turquoise greens before becoming crystal clear as we approached the island.
SNORKELLING FOR ALL ABILITIES
Being a coral cay (an island made from coral and built on a reef) means that only 10-15 kicks from the shore is needed before reaching an unreal underwater world. There is a lagoon on the Eastern side of the island that is perfect for building up the confidence to be able to enjoy a deeper snorkel/free dive on the Western side. All in all, if you are trying on a wetsuit for the first time or you are a seasoned diver, LEI will provide some of, if not THE best snorkelling adventures you will have.
Forget sleeping in! LEI puts on an amazing sunrise show, better job than Kochie could ever do. In fact, they were the best we have ever seen. Plus, where else in the world can you feel completely comfortable and safe snorkelling beneath the rising sun?!
Whether it is their cool calm attitude or their ancient wisdom, there is no denying that we all have a soft spot for them (or maybe you are slightly obsessed like me?!). The EAC is just 10-kilometers from the island therefore Green Sea, Loggerhead and Hawksbill turtles frequent the island throughout the year. Getting up close and personal with too many turtles to count in the lagoon, coming face to face with the biggest turtle we have EVER seen and seeing hatchlings left us in absolute awe and is a wildlife encounter we will remember for the rest of our lives.
When visiting LEI there is no need to worry about waiting in line for the perfect turtle selfie or weaving through hundreds of flamboyant beach umbrellas because there are only 41 rooms in the resort and it is limited to 150 guests. Minimal crowds = maximum bonding time with marine life. Oh, and less wait at the buffet.
TAKE HOME HOARDS OF GOOD LUCK
With 57 species flocking in, out and around throughout the year, the island is one of the richest breeding grounds for birds. Not being fully aware of this until we arrived, we were stunned at how many birds there were! Having to try and dodge white sloppy missiles that were coming from left, right and centre while wandering the island felt like they were at war with us. It was a battle that was not worth fighting though. We lost count of how many times we were blasted with poo. So, if you are the superstitious type then this is your No.1 reason to visit!
Mother Nature takes the reins on LEI. This allowed us to completely escape reality and unwind off-grid! The eco-friendly resort is powered by 400+ solar panels and although the accommodation is simple to minimise impact, it is comfortable and had everything we needed. Including earplugs because those damn birds loved to party all night long! 😉
UNBELIEVABLE WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS
LEI lies within a highly protected green zone meaning that the area offers a safe-haven for over 1,200 species of marine life. Imagine swimming with turtles, manta rays AND whales all in the SAME day! Season dependent of course. Although we missed out on this unbelievable trio we still had a good time hanging out with all the turtles, SO many different coloured fish, sharks and octopuses.
ALL YEAR ROUND
There really is no answer to “when is the most ideal time to go?” because LEI’s calendar is chock-a-block all year round. So, it truly depends on what experience you want to have. The winter months are peak season for the Manta Rays and whales while the summer months bring the nesting turtles + hatchlings and the island is not affected by stingers!! #bonuspoints
THE STAR GAZING GAME IS STRONG
From sunrise to sundown and beyond you will continued to be amazed on Lady Elliot Island.