Frankland Island Cruise & Dive – Great Barrier Reef Tours

Wander down to Cairns Marlin Marina in the morning and you may be lulled into thinking that this is the only way you can do Great Barrier Reef tours. There is an alternative – less than an hour’s drive south of Cairns, moored up at a secluded spot on the Mulgrave River, is the Frankland Islander, a boat that can take you far away from the maddening crowds. It’s in the shadow of Bellenden Ker, home to Queensland’s highest mountain, that we got to enjoy a different type of reef journey…..

Frankland Island - Great Barrier Reef tours

Ready for some Family Fun on the Reef

Amongst the mangroves we hopped on board the Frankland Islander (a catamaran that seats less than 100) and enjoyed a calm water cruise down the Mulgrave River to its mouth.

Frankland Island Cruise - Great Barrier Reef tours

Cruising down the Mulgrave River

As the boat followed the twists and turns of the river, we were busy checking out the tangled root systems and muddy banks for signs of salt-water crocodiles. In our case though we spotted mostly ‘logodiles’……

Frankland Island Cruise - Great Barrier Reef tours

Keen eyes trying to spot some wildlife in the mangroves

At the river mouth it was only a 20-minute dash across open water to our destination – Normanby Island, part of the Frankland Islands group. Don’t expect to find any resorts or any other tour operators in these parts, Frankland Island Cruise and Dive has this area all to themselves.

Frankland Island Cruise - Great Barrier Reef tours

It doesn’t take long before you’re at the actual Island

Frankland Island Cruise - Great Barrier Reef tours

The Semi-submersible is another great way to see the surrounding reef

At the island a temporary shelter was erected and the day’s activities started in earnest. For those that came for a lazy day, finding a piece of tropical beach all to yourself was pretty easy.

Frankland Island Cruise - Great Barrier Reef tours

Plenty of space on the beach to throw a towel

Frankland Island Cruise - Great Barrier Reef tours

Not a bad view of the FNQ coastline from the island

For others (like us), we packed the day full of snorkelling – there were also beginner and advanced snorkel tours on offer, a guided walk, a semi-submersible tour and even the added option of a scuba dive on the surrounding reef.

Frankland Island Cruise - Great Barrier Reef tours

We packed the day full of snorkelling

Our kids had a ball checking out the sea cucumbers and sea stars in the shallows as well as spotting a number of turtles that cruised amongst the coral. Thankfully the tropical buffet lunch on the island kept us refuelled during all the fun activities.

Frankland Island Cruise - Great Barrier Reef tours

We found lots of great stuff in the shallows

Frankland Island Cruise - Great Barrier Reef tours

My kids are obsessed with sea cucumbers

And its definitely worth taking the time out to explore the island by foot. Its a unique blend of continental island and sand cay, with rainforest and mangrove swamp and lots of tidal pools with exposed beach rock during low tide.

Frankland Island Cruise - Great Barrier Reef tours

Some Family Time on Frankland Islands

The best part of the day had to be when we wandered away to explore, mainly because it was seriously hard to imagine what a busier destination might be like……

Good Things to Know:

  • Return transfers are available from Cairns but its only a 40-minute drive south to the boarding point if you have a car. Click HERE for the Self-Drive Map.
  • Your day includes return transfers from your accommodation, a guided snorkelling tour, an island walk and interpretation, coral viewing tours AND a tropical buffet lunch.
  • All snorkelling equipment, flotation devices and protection suits (during summer) are provided onboard.
  • Certified and Introductory scuba diving packages are available for extra.
  • There are no toilets or change rooms on the island, you must return to the boat to use these facilities.
  • The Frankland Island crew can organise transfers to nearby Russell Island for those interested in camping (please note that camping permits must be arranged beforehand through Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and all camping provisions must be organised by the passenger). Click HERE for more info on Sleeping on the Reef!
Frankland Island Cruise - Great Barrier Reef Tours

Don’t Forget to PIN ME!!

Have you been out on any Great Barrier Reef Tours yet?  Would you be keen to explore the Frankland Island’s and what things are on your list to do? 

We received our tour complimentary BUT all views, opinions and photos in this article are %100 my own.

Click HERE if you would like to Book >> Frankland Island Cruise & Dive.

ARE you an FNQ local?? If so there’s an opportunity to WIN a family pass with Frankland Island Cruises – All you need to do is join/go to the FNQ Family Fun Facebook Group for more details on how to WIN!!!! Click HERE (Competition finishes 11/03/16).

The WINNER of the competition was Andrea Chamberlain.