Lady Musgrave Island & Lagoon is a coral cay with a 405 hectare coral lagoon, which some say is the Great Barrier Reef's most beautiful. It is just 32 nautical miles from the Town of 1770 and is the second southern-most island of the reef so for southerners, it's closer than you think.
On a return visit, Natalie Gruzlewski was just impressed with its 14 pristine hectares of abundant pisonia forests, resident birdlife, around 1300 varieties of brilliant fish and 350 species of hard and soft corals.
Lady Musgrave is a very important nesting site for loggerhead and the more common green turtles. Nesting usually happens at night during high tide and the main season is between late November to January. Hatchlings emerge from the sand nests from mid-January until late March, mostly from late afternoon to midnight.
Green turtles are under threat throughout the world, and the Queensland rookeries are some of the few protected areas remaining for the gentle creatures to nest. They and their nests are fully protected by law.
Lady Musgrave Cruises is a family-owned business providing day trips to the Reef on three vessels out of 1770.
One of their six-hour cruises involves snorkelling the crystal waters of the lagoon at two sites and viewing coral gardens through a large glass-bottomed boat. You will be provided with quality snorkelling and fishing gear, flotation vests, optical masks and sunscreen. Wetsuits are available for hire.
Enjoy a guided island walk with informative commentary and feed the colourful marine life. Year round you will discover turtles and manta rays, and humpback whales in season.
All of that is topped off with a tropical buffet luncheon, morning and afternoon tea.
Your craft moors alongside Reef Sanctuary, a floating pontoon just 300m from the island and that is your base for the day. It has a covered seating area, change rooms, shower and waterline platforms for easy snorkelling access.
There is no accommodation on the island but camping is permitted and Lady Musgrave Cruises will arrange that. Those wishing to camp must load most of their gear the day before departure.
Portable gas stoves are recommended and orders can be taken ahead for ice, bread and milk. There is no fresh water on the island, so campers should take enough to get them through. There are 3.7m-long aluminium dinghies with 6hp outboard motor available for hire.
Off the Queensland town of 1770, a five-hour drive from the Sunshine Coast
Lady Musgrave Cruises depart 1770 daily. The 22m Spirit of 1770
takes 90 minutes to reach the island allowing five hours to explore the outer reef. Travel in comfortable aircraft-style seating in air-conditioning. Snorkelling for all standards is on offer and semi-submarine tours through a coral bay and gardens are available. They cost $160 for adults, $80 for children and $430 for a family of two adults and two children. Wetsuits are $5 a day and masks are $10. Scuba diving is available from $75, including all equipment.
There are no permanent residents on the island but you can camp for just $4.85 a night. Camping permits are required on Lady Musgrave Island and must be purchased in advance from the Environmental Protection Agency.
For further information
Lady Musgrave Cruises
Ph: 1800 631 770
Fax: (07) 4974 9505
EPA Customer Service Centre
160 Ann Street
PO Box 15155
City East 4002
Ph: 1300 130 372
Fax: (07) 3227 8749