Inspiration Queensland Dive Into the Waters of Green Island Resort

Dive Into the Waters of Green Island Resort

Green Island Resort in Cairns is located on a tiny coral cay, making it perfect for those who want to spend days between sun beds and the sea - Luxury Escapes

If resorts were rated exclusively on their proximity to snorkelling opportunities, Green Island Resort would earn a spot on top of the podium.

On arriving at Green Island Resort, the island’s only accommodation and a 45-minute boat trip from Cairns, it feels like you’ve entered an unassuming oasis among the rainforest. The resort invites guests to savour barefoot-and-board shorts luxury, perfect for those who want to spend days drifting between sun beds and the sea.  

What’s the neighbourhood like?

The setting is hard to beat. The tiny 37-acre coral cay (the only one with a rainforest in the Great Barrier Reef) gives Green Island an intimacy that can’t be competed with. Blanketed in emerald-green foliage and ringed with soft sand, Green Island is near, well, nothing... except an underwater wonderland of protected reefs, sea turtles and rainbow-coloured fish.  
It takes 45 minutes by ferry (included in the package price) to reach the island from Cairns. I’ve stayed on islands off the coast of Tropical North Queensland a handful of times, and the journey there from the mainland is famously windy. “You don’t get seasick, do you?” the steward asked us as we boarded from Cairns Reef Terminal. “It’s choppy out there today.” Thankfully, the journey flew by. 
The ferry services both resort guests to the island and tourists embarking on day trips. 

An aerial view of Green Island in Cairns, home to Green Island Resort - Luxury Escapes

Where am I sleeping?

All 46 rooms (from A$467 per night) are nearly identical; the only difference between the two categories, the Island Suite Room and the Reef Suite Room, is that the latter is slightly larger and boasts a split-level design. All feature soaring ceilings, natural wood textures, air-conditioning, separate bathtubs and fuss-free, sea-breezy decor. I could easily spend a month on the shaded, furnished balcony, looking out at the rainforest, reading books and drinking beer. 
The ferry-to-door baggage drop was much appreciated. Our room was on the second floor, and I'd overpacked, so much so I coped a hefty additional charge at the Jetstar counter that morning – whoops. 

The interiors of the Island Suite Room at Green Island Resort boasts soaring ceilings, natural wood textures, air-conditioning, separate bathtubs and fuss-free, sea-breezy decor - Luxury Escapes

What's on the menu? 

In keeping with the low-key vibe, there’s only one restaurant, Emeralds, which is open for buffet breakfast and a la carte lunch and dinner. Locally sourced ingredients abound – think Kurumba prawn salad, dry-rubbed kangaroo fillet (a highlight) and an impressive surf ’n’ turf that nearly overflows the plate. Only guests of Green Island Resort can dine at Emeralds – I feel bad (sort of) as an air of exclusivity closes the door on non-guests who try their luck. 
We dine each night on the tented terrace, but you can enjoy meals inside, or, for an added price, on the beach or as part of a private picnic. Also available on the island is The Canopy Grill for casual takeaway lunch (burgers, fish and chips), Reflections Pool Bar for classic cocktails by the pool and Little Bites for a caffeine fix, all available to day-trippers. 

And how about drinks?

Each afternoon, once those not sleeping on the island have left, a fish-feeding presentation takes place on the jetty. I join 10 or so other resort guests to watch as sharks, schools of fish and turtles broch the surface for a snack as the sun begins to set. The experience is topped only when a tiny white cart is rolled onto the jetty and staff hand out complimentary drinks (two per guest). It’s the perfect place to enjoy a mimosa.  

The shaded balcony of a Green Island Resort room - Luxury Escapes

What are the facilities like?

With sea kayaks and stand-up paddleboards to hire, complimentary half-hour glass-bottom boat trips to attend and guided walks of the island to enjoy, there’s plenty to keep us busy. If you’re game, you can go parasailing, scuba diving, sea walking and outer-reef snorkelling. Non-motorised watersport equipment is included for guests at the dive shop. 
On the patrolled beach, there are sun lounges reserved exclusively for resort guests. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis, but we always manage to find a spot. Do yourself a favour and collect a complimentary high-powered torch from reception after dinner and head to the jetty – the light attracts the attention of sharks, which swim just metres away. 
Two medium-sized pools are on offer, but most of the time they remain empty (why bother when surrounded by warm ocean?). Besides the resort facilities, the island is also home to Marineland Melanesia, which includes aquariums, artifacts from Papua New Guinea and twice-daily crocodile shows featuring 120-year-old Cassius, the largest captive crocodile in Australia. 

One of two pools on Green Island, home to Green Island Resort - Luxury Escapes

What sets Green Island Resort apart? 

This serene hideaway pulls its weight in sustainability, from using solar power to boasting some of the most innovative waste management practices in Australia. A tour of the back-of-house to view the practices in person might not be your typical holiday activity, but it's offered with such enthusiasm by staff that it's become a must-do for many guests. 

Who will love Green Island Resort? 

This is a boutique, unhurried resort aimed at adventure-enthusiastic families and ocean-loving couples. Connecting rooms are available for groups who exceed the two adult, two children room limits.   

Looking for more inspiration? Read 9 Ways to Get That Holiday Feeling in Queensland.

The writer was a guest of the hotel.  

About Madeleine Keck
Journalist and travel writing aficionado: Madeleine has visited six continents and worked throughout four. At home in Melbourne, you'll find her reminiscing on past solo backpacking journeys, dreaming of the next adventure and wishing she lived in a continuously warmer city.

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