The Great Barrier Reef island escape it's green, it's lush and it's perfect for everyone!
Just 27km from Cairns in the Great Barrier Reef is the small coral cay of Green Island. It is believed to have been formed 6000 years ago from a build-up of sand sediments, animal and coral deposits. The 15-hectare island is home to 126 native plant species, colourful birdlife, a magnificent coral reef, rainforest, crystal clear waters and white sandy beaches.
It is a national park, named not, ironically, for its greenness, but by Captain Cook after his chief astronomer on the Endeavour. It was first colonised in 1857 by someone operating a sea slug smoking station. Cruises have been running to Green Island since 1890 and today it attracts visitors from all over the world and is a popular day trip from the mainland.
For those who wish to stay longer than a day, there is the Green Island Resort, one of the world's most environmentally-sensitive tourist developments. The island's delicate make-up is of utmost importance. The luxurious haven is on 1.8 hectares and is secluded from the rest of the island and day visitor facilities.
The resort is low-rise, so does not interfere with the rainforest canopy, and raised timber boardwalks connect buildings, which minimises impact to soil and root systems. No untreated sewerage enters the reef, fresh water arrives weekly from Cairns, power is provided by four generators and a native re-vegetation program is in place.
The five-star resort can accommodate up to 90 people and there are two room types: Reef and Island. Reef Suites are split level and have king beds and a separate living area.
All rooms have cable television, radio, air-conditioning, fans, phone, mini bar, tea and coffee and safe.
Eating options are the Emeralds Restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the Canopy Grill under the rainforest, open till 4pm and serving barbecued food from 11am, and Lite Bites, an ice cream, coffee, snack parlour. There is a poolside bar serving cocktails and other drinks, a lounge with books and magazines, Nintendo 64 for the children and board games. Don't forget to visit Benetton and Memories for a spot of shopping.
You can take a guided walk with a resort staff member walk around the island or go straight through the centre on the boardwalk. Both walks take around 30 minutes. Guides will tell you some of the island's natural history and its Aboriginal history.
Green Island has the world's first underwater observatory. It was built in 1953 from an old navy diving chamber and towed to the island. The portholes allow you to see giant clams, coral, fish and seahorses. It is at the end of the jetty and house guests can visit free of charge as many times as they wish.
You don't need experience to take a supervised introductory dive to explore the wonders of the Barrier Reef. There are three and four-day PADI Open Water Dive Courses. As with all such courses, age and medical restrictions apply.
Guest services include concierge, 24-hour reception, guest laundry, as well as laundry and valet service and two pools: one is private for in-house guests and the other is for day visitors.