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…..
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.
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’……
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.