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“Still one of the best places on the Great Barrier Reef”

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Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Missoula, MT
Level Contributor
71 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“Still one of the best places on the Great Barrier Reef”
Reviewed June 14, 2010

Lady Elliot Island is a great place to get away from things, enjoy some terrific snorkeling and diving, relax with walks around the beach, and generally unwind. The cabins have million dollar views - under swaying casuarina trees, with a sparkling blue sky, and a gently crashing surf breaking on the edge of the reef. With a drink in hand from the bar, I could easily sit and waste the days away.

The food is nothing special, although there is a lot of it (included in the tariff). The bar staff are a tad rude, but the beer crystal cold. And the whole resort has a slight run-down, unhurried feel to it, which I rather appreciate. This isn't a fancy, expensive, out-to-impress resort but a low-key place to relax without much of a care.

It is the isolation that makes LEI special. The flight out is part of the experience, as you circle over the island and only just make the end of the runway! The marine life at this end of the Great Barrier Reef is the most diverse and the water is crystal clear. There are only a few day visitors, and they leave early anyway. All-in-all, not having a TV, mobile phone coverage, nor internet adds to the feeling of escape.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with friends
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2 Thank wombat18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Brisbane, Australia
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed June 11, 2010

Just what we had hoped for , small resort almost had the island to ourselves, staff were friendly but not over the top.
This resort is not for you if you want to be pampered .The rooms were basic but clean, the view from our reef room was priceless. The food we thought was varied and tasty and lots of it.. Not five star cordon bleu and all the better for it in our opinion.
Of course the snorkeling was brilliant, and easily accessible straight from the beach (no long boat trip )

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank truly_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2010

We initially chose Lady Elliot Island (LEI) resort because, after seeing a Manta Ray fleetingly on a dive trip a few years ago, we wanted to re-live that feeling this majestic creature inspired in us. Advertising of 'resident' Manta's was the drawcard for us as well as mentions of all the other things divers love (ie: great visibility, diverse ecosystem supporting large varieties of marine life.)

We had read previous reviews from trip advisor, so our expectations of the resort itself were not high. We were startled then, from the get go, that seeing as this resort is advertised as a dive resort, only 10kg of luggage is allowed on the trip over and there is a surcharge for each extra kilo. For persons with their own dive gear, you can guarantee that the transport costs will be $30-40 p/p more just to get there.

The view as the plane approaches the island is just as the pamphlets depict and it is a stunning sight, worthy of the two circles the plane does for photographers.

The staff were great from arrival to our departure 6 days later. They were all very casual, approachable and helpful whenever we had dealings with them. There were a few standouts, with Dave and Nick from the activities staff being two of them. Their constant up beat personalities and obvious love of the nature and wildlife surrounding the resort really shone through. Both seemed to be everywhere at once all hours of the day and night from guiding tours to serving appertisers in the bar room.

The resort conditions themselves are what we expected from previous trip adviser comments and are definately not anything to rave about, however they are clean and the views we had from the reef units were great. When we first arrived we wondered why all the rooms and entertainment areas were so drab in colour and appearance, however after experiencing 1hr with the resident birdlife, we realised anything other than cream or white would soon become that colour anyways. There is a pervasive smell in certain areas where the birds flock, however this being a natural phenomenom allows acceptance of this as part of the daily life there.

The dining area and the food were probably the only real let down for us. The inside dining area is definately in need of a revamp as it feels like a visit to a buffet at a lawn bowls club with plastic picnic tablecloths over outdoor tables and plastic chairs to boot. We got caught out a couple of times with the buffet food in that the nicest selection goes first and quite a few people are left with the next (make do) dish that takes its place. This causes an atmosphere of competition rather than relaxation which is amusing as even the best tasting dishes would probably be left rotting in the serving trays at any half decent restaurant. This is not to say that the food is inedible or gross, but just that it is very ordinary compared to all other resorts we have visited over the last few years, and are comparible price wise with this resort.

Most of our stay was spent with the dive staff and diving. I was really impressed with the dive shop staff and would say that they were the most enjoyable, enthusiastic and knowledgable crew I have had the pleasure of dealing with. Scott and Oko, who most of our time was spent with, were the obvious standouts from this great bunch, and I cannot praise these two enough. They made every dive feel special and created a high level of excitement on every dive with their exuberence, loud yahoos and obvious enjoyment upon returning to the boat for the trip back to land. As mentioned earlier, our purpose for this trip was to hopefully dive with Manta's, and this we did on nearly every one of our 8 dives including the first time I put my head under the water and allowed my eyes to adjust to the sight of one swimming directly under the boat. I knew right from then we were in for a good time.

The highlight of the trip and of my dive experiences to date was on the second day when we re visited the Lighthouse Bommie site and upon arrrival at the cleaning station we were met by a 3m Manta which circled us all, checked us out and then swam away to be replaced by a 4m beauty which took over the entertainment by approaching all 5 of us individually, first staring into our eyes, and then hovering 10-15cm above our heads enjoying the feel of the bubbles from our regulators tickling its underside. This Manta seemed to stay around and move from diver to diver for 15 minutes leaving us all with a memory we will most probably bore all our relatives and other divers with over the years. Every dive we did was a joy and we saw different creatures not only at differing sites but even when visiting the same sites which weather conditions do dictate. We saw white tip sharks, silver tip sharks, wobbegongs, octopus, moray eels, mackeral, tuna, trevally, shovel nosed rays, groupers, all the usual colourful reef fish (including napoleon and maori wrasse), nudibranchs, white leaf scorpion fish and heaps of Mantas and turtles.

All in all, I would only recommend LEI resort to other persons if you really enjoy the water and activities that revolve around it and don't have a care about facilities or the other luxuries other exclusive resorts have. As a resort to just visit for relaxation and pampering though, you would be better off visiting somewhere else.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
4 Thank brettflynn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brisbane, Queensland
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed April 10, 2010

My husband and I went back to LEI with our daughter and partner (who had never been) and their daughter Ella (10months)- we were hoping the Is still had the same appeal after so long and that our future son-in-law would be impressed......he has not spoken of anything else since - in fact, we are planning their wedding on LEI for this year. I love the no TV, no phones, no transport - just total relaxation and the snorkelling every day WOW!!!!! The staff are fantastic. We will be making it a regular holiday whenever we can afford it. It is no frills, but still the food is good and just the expectation of what you are going to see everyday when snorkelling is priceless.............I tell everyone, that the Barrier Reef is the closest I'll ever get to heaven on earth..........thank you for the bestest holiday.

  • Stayed August 2009, traveled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank rogerfrankie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tamworth
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 7, 2010

My wife and I are keen rather than competent snorkellers. LEI gave us the opportunity to visit the Barrier reef on our 3 week holiday to Oz and enjoy snorkelling on tap outside your door,rather than a boat trip and then thrown into the depths which my wife dreads. The free snorkelling trip was well organised with a guide rope if needed,unlike my Red Sea experience in Egypt. On LEI every activity was well thought out and the staff were informative,keen and very friendly and helpful. Being used to camping our eco-hut was no problem and when the fan briefly went on strike ,it was quickly fixed. It's not 5 star,pampered spas,it's brilliant nature with the rawness subdued and the stars of the Southern sky twinkling above compensate for any lack of Michelin stars. Going on the reviews,I was expecting very basic food and we were pleasantly surprised with the quality and quantity. Considering everything is flown in,bar prices were comparable to mainland establishments and I found a new friend in Shiraz.Informal is the style from your flight out- please close the plane door and on the return a nice chat with one of the staff. Friendly also, apart from some tiny Wrasse fish who tend to give Poms a nip.
LEI is a practical and convenient way of seeing the beautiful world of the reef.Think of yourself as being on safari.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank claretnale
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
so cal
Level Contributor
19 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2010

If you like snorkeling you Must go here, we have also been to Lizard Island on the GBR and that too was awesome but sooo much more expensive. While we were there 103 baby turtles got turned around and followed the resort lights instead of the moon so the staff collected them and let us go watch their release at a darker spot on the island. This was fantastic ~ watching them make their way to the water, following our flashlight path. Our family of four adults were thrilled we choose Lady Elliot as a destination.

  • Stayed February 2010, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank ldnrdh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
sydney
Level Contributor
6 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed January 21, 2010

My partner and I stayed at LEI from 28 Dec till 3 Jan and I can say with utmost certainty that it was one of the most incredible experiences of our life. The major draw card of this island is the snorkeling, diving and encounters with wildlife. As others have mentioned, do not expect any luxury with regard to any facet of the Island (except for the myriad of marine life you will encounter). Accommodation, food, etc are all adequate but not at 5* quality)

ROOM
As this was speak period, we missed out on booking a reef room and settled for an Eco Hut which consists of a room with 2 bunks, a side table , a wardrobe, a fan and a few hooks on walls. The rate we paid was $350/night and I would strongly suggets that you pay the extra and stay at one of the better rooms as this room can get very hot and stuffy. Not to mention noisy as there are no solid walls but more of a tent like matreial held up by four wooden posts. I do not recommend this type of room. Privacy was also an issue as you cannot successfully undress as there is usually someone walking by. But this was more of an incentive for us to spend as little time as humanly possible. Also, doors are not able to be locked so do not take any valuables and leave anything of value with reception.

SHARED FACILITIES
Majority of the time, there was a shower available at thos nearset to us but on an odd occassion where both were in use, other facilities are available. Note however that water is limited on the Island and the pressure can be incredibly low at times. One time, with conditioner in my hair, I was forced to wash my hair in the sink as the water in the shower ran out. But this happened after a day of swimming with turtles so I was not complaining.

FOOD
We loved the food. Despite being there for 7 days, we did not get bored with the dinners as they were plentiful, varied and tasty. Lunches were very reasonably priced and were good portioned and tasty. There was some type of fish every night as well as other mets ranging from staek, chicken, pork, etc. there were a variety of salads, a very very tasty soup every night, side vegatbles, and other side items such as quiche, puff pastry goodies etc etc. And fresh fruit, tea, coffee, dessert to finish off with. Breakfast was fried eggs, bacon, sausage, tomatos, hash brown, cereals, fruit, yogurt, etc.

SERVICE
Very hit and miss. The dive staff were AWESOME!!! Very insightful and happy to answer as many questions as was thrown their way. The Food and Beverage staff, not so. The staff work 20 days on, 10 days off the Island so toward the end of their 20 days, some would be irritable, cranky and downright rude. One one particular occasion, customers were crowded around the bar and one of the staff barked at everyone to get in line instead of being a little more polite about it. Check in staff appeared to be asleep some times and simple requests such as tallying up the bill would seem like a big ask. I was asked to return in 2 hours to get my final bill.
Upon arrival guests are provided with a card that they use to purchase food, some tours, gifts from the gift shop, drinks, lunch etc. Not a bad idea but I ended up losing mine.

SNORKELLING
Out of this world!!!! The area called the Fish Pool allowed for very low maintenance snorkelling and almost every single time I visited this area, I saw turtles. We swam with a small one for about 30 minutes and filmed it as it was very comfortable and did not swim away. We didn't touch it and instead just enjoyed being in its company. There are various resident schools of fish and some are very friendly. At low tide, the second you step in the water, they all gather at you feet. I got nibbled on a couple of times which made me jump but no harm was done. At low tide you can also do a tour whereby a guide explains numerous items on the reef and it's very inetersting and eye opening. We even saw a baby turtle at low tide just resting in 30cm of water.

The snorkelling on the other side is like stepping into a water wonderland. We did quite a few snorkel tours (one is free with your stay) at $20/per person and they are worth every cent. The reef shore snorkel tour is $10/person which is soooooooooo worth it. they provide free sunscreen atteh dive centre too whcih is very handy. On one particular glass bottom boat tour, we spotted Manta Rays and were greeted by a school of about 20-30 giant Mantas. We were all speechless as to their grace, size and beauty. If you are lucky to spot one or two, you will never forget such an experience let alone when it's 20-30.

I will not repeat the comments about the birds except to say thatyes tehy are EVERYWHERE. But hey, even that's pretty cool. Especially as we saw many tiny little chics with their mothers.

Even when it was the two of us snorkeling, we spotted many sharks, Spotted Eagle Rays, a giant ray (cow bell? Not sure of the name but it was MASSIVE), White Tip Reef Shark, Black Tip Reef Shark, Grey Tawney Shark and Zebra Shark just to name a few of the more memorable things. there are soooo many Turtles that after a few days you will lose interest in them if you can believe that. This is ofcourse in addition to the millions of fish that you swim with.

Although the room was below standard, I recommend this Island to every man, woman and child out there contemplating this. If you don't enjoy being in the water (I met 2 such people on the Island!), then it's really not for you as this is the major activity.

I will leave you with this final thought: On Jan 1st, I sat at the bar sipping a cocktail while reflecting on teh first day of 2010 which had been filled with the swim with the turtle, the Mantas, Sharks etc and I was thinking how amazing of a day it had been and thought this could not get any better. I heard some one on the beach call out "turtle, turtle" and I thought to myslef, "yeah so what". then I saw a crowd of people gather at the beach and when I went to investigate, I saw a giant Green Turtle climbing on shore to come and lay its eggs. It was just incredible!!! LEI is that type of Island. You think you have seen it all and then it manages to surprise you even more.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
4 Thank moorig
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort

Property: Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort
Address: Lady Elliot Island, Queensland 4216, Australia
Phone Number:
Location: Australia > Queensland > Lady Elliot Island
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Lady Elliot Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 41
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

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