It has been a while since I last added to my blog. Yesterday was my 39th birthday. As a gift, my husband, Ben, took me to Lady Elliot Island and oh boy, it is worth writing about. The day not only reminded me how important little adventures are but it also inspired me to get back into blogging and so here I go.
Lady Elliot Island is the southernmost coral clay of the Great Barrier Reef. It is around 80km north-east of Bundaberg. You can get there by boat or plane, they have an airstip that runs down the center of the Island. For us, as we live in Hervey Bay now, it was a 35 minute flight on a smallish plane.
The adventure started the minute we boarded. From the air we saw our beautiful new home town in a new light. We then saw Fraser Island, and as a natural bonus, it happens to be whale season and so we got to see a few of the majestic humpbacks from above. When you first get a glimpse of Lady Elliot from the air, you can’t help but inhale and hold it for a moment. It is absolutely beautiful.
When you land, the smiles and enthusiasm that meets you, in the form of the island staff makes you feel so welcome. There is an itinerary for the day but there is no pressure, you can literally do whatever you feel like doing. In our day trip, everything was included. We had a locker to use for the day, which was super handy when you are in and out of the water. They provided towels, snorkel gear and a buffet lunch. You can stay at the Lady Elliot Eco Resort. If you are a day guest, you are welcome to it’s facilities.
We took a stroll on the island while we awaited our glass bottom boat and snorkel tour. Our guide pointed out all of the features and then we were free to roam. The Lagoon is a shallow reef, which basically surrounds the south-east side of the Island. You can walk in at low tide and at high tide you can snorkel the warm waters right off the beach, without being in water any deeper than an adults shoulders. Marine life is abundant and before we even entered the water, we started seeing marvelous finned friends swimming in the shallows. A few black tipped predators could even be seen stalking them.
Although the water was a little choppy, there was no stopping us from snorkeling the outer reef off the glass bottom boat. The world below the water at Lady Elliot is amazing. It boasts that it is ‘the home of the manta ray’ and we were lucky enough to swim beside one of these gentle giants. As their big flaps lift so do your spirits, they were an absolute treat. As were the abundance of healthy looking corals, that happily showcased their resident fish. From big rock cod hiding under ledges, to trevally and glowing parrot fish, to smaller fish that seemed only too happy for you to see their brilliant colour up close.
When we got back, we were more than ready for some food. The buffet lunch, although simple, was fresh and enjoyable. They have a well stocked bar where we were able to purchase some drinks.
After lunch, there was nothing else to do but head back to The Lagoon area, where the promise of meeting my favorite marine creature was looming. There was a green flag our tour guide had pointed out, she said that if we headed for it, seeing one of the wonderful “flippered” reptiles was a huge possibility. So we donned our snorkel gear again and did just that. The water in the lagoon is easy to snorkel and there is so much to see. We looked and looked and got excited about all of Lady Elliot’s amazing sea life that takes refuge in the green zone.
As we swum over a small ledge in a deeper part of the reef Lady Elliot really delivered. Tucked partially under some rock and coral, we saw one… a green sea turtle resting. My excitement soared, for as long as I can remember, I have been jealous of all of the people I see on the television getting close to a wild turtle and now I was doing it. We looked over him a few times, taking in the glorious patterns on his shell and his flippers and his gentle black eyes. We stood up and took a moment to celebrate, we’d done it, we’d seen one! As we started to make our way back to shore, another smaller turtle appeared, causally grazing a top of the coral. Not a care in the world, not even for the humans ogling him within extremely close proximity.
A refreshing shower and a couple of a beers later, we were back on the plane for our ride back home. Again, we spotted some whales, Fraser then Hervey Bay from above. A pub dinner and cake with my parents to top it off. It all added up to a birthday I’ll never forget. Alongside my Weipa birthday (able to be read about in a previous blog), I am unsure it can ever be beaten. I am so thankful to Ben for this amazing day and also for the photos he took that you see in this post.
If you are looking for a great trip, you love snorkeling or diving or just love being close to nature, then look at Lady Elliot Island and Eco Resort, it is nothing short of magical.