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“Access to the true beauty of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Lady Elliot Island Day Tour
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Discover the magic of the Southern Great Barrier Reef on a Day Tour to Lady Elliot Island! Lady Elliot is a coral cay located at the southern tip of Australia's iconic Great Barrier Reef, north of Fraser Island. The island is regarded as one of the best diving and snorkelling locations on the Reef and is famous for its unspoilt coral reef and amazing array of spectacular marine life. Day Tours to Lady Elliot Island depart daily from the Gold Coast, Brisbane (Redcliffe), Hervey Bay/Fraser Coast and Bundaberg.
Reviewed August 20, 2013

A late booking a departed from Hervey Bay in a tiny Cessna. A bit pricy at first glance but tremendous value. Except from thousands and thousands of ordinary fish, there were sea turtles, manta rays, sharks and other exceptions species just in reach. Maybe the highlight during the whole trip.

Drink of the tap water. Maybe the purest and best tasting in the world?

Did I mention the vast amount of birds?

Thank Carl T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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128 - 132 of 168 reviews

Reviewed August 5, 2013

I was only in Australia for a week and 2 days. Got to see Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane. Going at about 2-3 days each, I only had 1 day left before going back to the US. And my friend was starting work on Monday, so we couldn't exactly plan a trip to get from Brisbane to the Great Barrier Reef - If we were going to actually plan a way over there, it required getting a domestic flight over there, then booking a boat tour etc. After hanging out at Melbourne's library and thinking up and calculating the possible combinations - it just wasn't going to work. Most of the boating trips were in the morning and there was no way to get a flight there earlier enough to catch a boat, whether for Cairns or Whitsundays. Defeated, I was accepting the idea that I would go back to the US to say "I didn't snorkel the Great Barrier Reef".

However! There was a last minute option, which bypassed all the issues of trying to plan a Great Barrier Reef snorkel! You really have to be leisurely reading through those floppy guide magazines that are placed at the info section at the train station.

The solution to the dilemma: The Lady Elliot Island Day Tour!!!

OMG!! for just $100-$200 more from all the effort trying to make a snorkel tour fit in, it's totally worth it.

All inclusive brain dead tour. They'll pick you up from your hotel in Brisbane (there are other locations they can also pick you up from). Drive you to the airport. Have you get into a small plane that will fly you to the island - so you can see the coastline all the way until you get there. Land on the smallest airstrip in the whole Australia. Have you get into a boat with windows on the bottom so you can see sting rays. Snorkel. Feed you at lunch! Then have another 2 or so hours to snorkel or feed fish at your leisure. Then get back on the plane, then back at the airport, then drive you back to your hotel. The day tour fit that all in and you can still catch a flight home early the next day and tell people you were still able to see part of the Great Barrier Reef! In fact, there were two people on the tour with me that said they were hopping on a plane immediately afterwards to go home.

I got to see sting rays, turtles, an octopus, and a multitude of fishes. I didn't find any cone shells, but we're not supposed to touch them, even though I couldn't find any.

Amenities! Don't worry about coming unprepared - just casual wear is fine. They provided all the snorkeling equipment, reef shoes, and body suits if you feel you need it.

So... even though I went without my friend... I was well taken cared of. And it seemed that there were about at least 10 people on the plane so you can make friends or socialize.

I completely recommend this for the value and especially if you're compressed on time and in a location that participates in the Lady Elliot Day Tour.

Thank MissUnderstood4U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

This trip was absolutely the highlight of my Australian vacation and well worth the money! I had intended to take a less expensive boat ride to a different island, but ended up taking this trip instead due to the logistics. So glad that we did because it was an amazing experience! My family took the 14 seat plane out of Hervey Bay. We were the only ones on the plane in the morning as it was the off season. We were able to spot whales as we neared the island. On arrival, we were greeted and given a brief introductory tour of the facilities before heading out on the glass bottom boat ride. We were able to swim with many manta rays that happened to be in the area. We returned to the island for lunch (included) and then had a couple more hours with a choice of activities, such as snorkeling on our own, going on a guided beach walk or just relaxing. We snorkeled through the coral gardens from one end of the island to the other (allow at least an hour for this) before returning for the 4 pm departure. All staff were very friendly, helpful, and excited about the island and the reef. The small size of the island with relatively few people allowed for a very personalized experience. I would absolutely recommend this trip to others!

1  Thank TraceyM5Boston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2013

I took the day trip to Lady Elliot Island that departed from Hervey Bay. When I booked the trip, I thought it a little expensive but, at the end of the day, I thought it was an amazing value. I went in June which is the off season, so I think that I may have had a better experience because the island did not seem at all crowded.

It was fun to travel in the smallish prop plane to the island and the view from the air was surprisingly good because the pilot circled the island at a low altitude before landing.

Part of the package included a ride in a glass bottom boat to the reef with an opportunity to snorkel. I pity the those who chose to stay on the boat as the experience swimming with turtles and sharks and schools of colorful fish can't be replicated through a window in a boat. I saw creatures I didn't know existed!

The package also included a buffet lunch. I was traveling by myself and was prepared to eat alone, but the folks staying on the island were super friendly and I ended up hanging out with a group and had a great time.

I found all the staff to be friendly and helpful.

I would love to go back and stay a few nights.

Thank Dresus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 30, 2013

While visiting the Gold Coast I decided to do the Lady Elliot Island day tour. I have never seen the Great Barrier Reef and I'm always hearing reports saying see it before it's too late. While it's one of the most expensive day tours available on the Gold Coast (currently on special at $619; usually $699) I can honestly say it's money well spent. The tour guide that spent the whole day with me (from picking me up from my hotel to snorkelling to dropping me back to my hotel) certainly loves his job, and who could blame him? He was full of energy and an absolute joy to have around. He was constantly on the lookout for me as well as the other tourists. He's an unexpected highlight of the tour.

The plane purposely flies low along the Gold Coast shore, giving lots of opportunities to take photos and enjoy the scenery. Helicopter flights to do the same kind of flight costs hundreds so this adds extra value to the tour. The plane made a short stop in Redcliffe to pick up some more passengers then continued flying low along the Sunshine Coast, then flying over Fraser Island before heading out to Lady Elliot Island.

Before landing on the Lady Elliott Island grass airstrip the pilot circles the island so that all passengers can marvel at the beauty of this coral island. I have goosebumps just thinking about it.

I was hesitant about going snorkelling. I'd never done it before and it was only about 19 degrees Celsius when we arrived. But it was warmer in the water than out. Before we got into the water we took a short glass bottom boat ride. We saw turtles and manta rays. The water is extremely clear all year round, but especially so in winter. The water was a bit choppy and I suggest that anyone that suffers from sea sickness take a tablet before heading out (available at the shop on the island). I also recommend hiring one of the digital underwater cameras they have on the island. I had already bought a disposable film camera before going on the tour and I only saw the poster about hiring the digital cameras at the end of the day. The hire cameras apparently are able to do color correction so that your photos don't all turn out "blue".

I wear glasses so my tour guide arranged for me to get a mask suited for short sighted people (they have different strengths). A wetsuit is also provided as well as flippers and reef walking shoes. Everything is thought of on this tour. I really can't fault it.

I loved the snorkelling. My tour guide really pushed for me to do the snorkelling, saying that it's the best part of the tour. He was right. I can't wait to go snorkelling again. I saw a few turtles (you can gently touch them) as well as lots of tropical fish. The tour guide pointed out an anemone that had two clownfish swimming in and out of it (the same fish seen in the movie Finding Nemo). The coral was beautiful - amazing colors and diversity.

The tour includes a snack on the plane in the morning, buffet lunch and drinks. Everything is thought of including towels, lockers & sunscreen.

This day tour is an unforgettable experience. If you can afford it you shouldn't give it another thought - just do it. I definitely want to return, maybe during Feb - Mar when the turtle hatchlings can be seen. The tour guide said it usually doesn't get any warmer than 30 degrees Celsius in summer. It was overcast the day I went but the sun magically appeared for the duration of the snorkelling.

I would recommend staying overnight or a few days on the island if you can. While you spend 5 hours in total on the island, it goes pretty quick. I would have liked to go out snorkelling again and if you have bad weather one day, you might have better weather the next so staying would be preferable. But if you are short on time then the day tour is perfect. Needless to say it was the highlight of my trip to the Gold Coast. Make sure you book before you go on holidays. The tour only runs if there are enough people to take, so it doesn't necessarily run every day. It took a week of checking daily before I was able to finally go. I would assume school holidays and summer would be more popular times for the tour. They have two types of planes that fly to the island (9 seats & 13 seats), so they only take small groups of people (another reason to book in advance). Don't drink too much before flying because there are no toilets on the planes and it's a 90 - 120 minute flight from the Gold Coast.

2  Thank Jon B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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