Secret Green Island
Whale watching in the waters of the Great Barrier Reef is no secret, but surprise visits from extremely rare species are secrets to be discovered! There are only four reported white humpback whales in the world, and one of them, Migaloo, likes to drop by for surprise visits in the waters off Green Island. You might be one of the lucky travellers to spot Migaloo while on your way to or from Green Island.
The dazzling visual appeal of the reef and rainforest under the glorious Queensland sun is hard to overlook, but keep in mind that some of the best walks are to be had when the sun goes down. Set out on a moonlit walk to get a look at the nocturnal happenings in nature from birdlife to turtles laying eggs. Guests of the resort can be escorted on an informed tour, torches provided. The view of the night sky, out in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, is a pretty good excuse to stay up late, too.
For your next trivia night: Green Island is not actually named for its green rainforest. The story goes that in 1770, Captain James Cook marked the island on a navigational chart and named it after the ship’s astronomer, Mr Charles Green. The island, part of the traditional sea country of the Guru-Gulu Gungandji Aboriginal people, is also known by the aboriginal name ‘Wunyami’ meaning ‘a place of spirits’, or Dabuukji, ‘the place of the hole in the nose’.
Famous today for its blend of reef and rainforest, and of course Guinness World Record holder Cassius the crocodile, Green Island’s fame actually has a long, amazing history. In 1937, the world’s first glass-bottom boat was introduced, and in 1954 the first stationary underwater observatory opened.
Green Island is a convenient back to nature idyll. Once you get off the boat, it is easy to be enveloped in the startling beauty of the green rainforest, clear blue water, colourful flora and fauna and white sandy beaches.
Green Island National Park is the only rainforest destination to be found on a coral cay in the Great Barrier Reef. There is a feast for the senses as you walk through over 100 species of native plants, including a unique blend of coastal and rainforest plants. Marvel, too, at the juxtaposition of coastal vegetation and dense, shady rainforest, both only a few metres apart. In addition to rainforest wildlife, Green Island is a birdwatcher’s paradise, with over 50 species of land and seabirds to be observed.
The rainforest is accessible with easy boardwalk pathways leading visitors on a guided interpretive tour of the plant and animal life on the island. Resort guests can join an informative guided Eco Walk tour, and self-guided tours can also be planned to suit the length of your stay.
Note: Great Adventures post their own version (PDF) of a simple Eco Walk map with accompanying text explanations that could be replicated.
Become your own explorer and set out to walk around the only rainforest on a coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef. The island’s 1.6 km circumference can be explored at a light pace in 45 minutes and will lead you on a journey past the island’s vibrant flora and fauna.
But take note – some of the best walks are to be had when the sun goes down. Set out on a moonlit walk to get a look at the nocturnal happenings in nature from birdlife to turtles laying eggs. Guests of the resort can be escorted on an informed tour (torches provided). The view of the night sky, out in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef, is a pretty good excuse to stay up late, too.