We had a great time. The staff were all friendly and helpful, although several said it was their first week there, so they were not so knowledgable about the fauna. That said, there were a variety of people on the island, from casual tourists to folk seriously interested in the wildlife. We soon picked up on who to speak to regarding our sightings for the day and staff were always willing to help us identify fish and birds.
No complaints about the meals or the dining facilities. Good variety and choice of food. We were in one of the permenant tents and that added to the atmosphere of being in the wild.
We were there in November at the start of the rainy season so we heard occasional thunder in the distance, and twice there was a shower of rain which was quite enjoyable. Also great is the sunset on a fine night and the clear sky for stargazing.
Each day there are arranged activities, including snorkelling 101 in the pool, and reef walks. There are all sorts of island encounters and the week went by just as we did them all. There are tours about the flora, fauna and history (which is story of desolation and restoration). One night we walked the beach finding turtles making nests. Some nights there were presentations in the education centre which were great. A special one was Fabrice Jaine presenting his teams research findings on the manta rays.
The birds were a bonus - being able to cohabit with nesting birds is quite special. We saw lots of species, including the nesting terns, noddys, boobies, egrets, lesser frigates, red-tailed tropic birds, and the impressive sea eagles. I probably should mention that there are a lot of birds on the island and they make noises day and night. We didn’t have any problem with this (it’s fascinating listening to the sooty shearwaters howling at night) and earplugs were provided in the tent if you needed them.
Sea-life was even more abundant, with lots of fish in the lagoon, including the blue spotted stingray, and epaulette shark. I snorkelled with a sea turtle there one day. The lagoon is quite shallow and of even depth so go out around high tide. At low tide it is possible to walk onto the reef (between the coral) and exploring it in this way is equally rewarding.
The best snorkelling is on the west side. We saw sea turtles, reef sharks, and many fish at close range there. The week includes a trip out ion the glass bottom boat, and the skipper found a manta ray and two leopard sharks and positioned the boat for great views. After that we snorkelled from the boat at the edge of the drop off. Brilliant - if you have an underwater camera bring it with you. Some of the corals are impressive too. Do use a good suncream - LEI is far from the mainland smog (dust) and the sun is quite intense. A great thing about LEI is that if one side of the island has unfavourable conditions (due to wind, tide, and currents) then you can still snorkel the other side.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Lady Elliot is a true coral cay island located at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, north of Fraser Island. The island is regarded as one of the best snorkeling and diving destinations on the Great Barrier Reef and is famous for its unspoilt coral reef and amazing array of spectacular marine life including turtles and manta rays. Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort provides a range of low key accommodation options ranging from 2BR Island Suites to Eco Cabins for those on a budget. The overnight rate includes: Full buffet breakfast and dinner daily; One free glass bottom boat/guided snorkel tour per person; Free use of snorkel equipment (mask, snorkel, fins); Range of free guided Island activities/tours; and Environmental Management Charge. Scenic flights depart daily from Bundaberg, Hervey Bay/Fraser Coast, Brisbane (Redcliffe) and Coolangatta. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Lady Elliot Island Eco Hotel Lady Elliot Island