Fitzroy Island is a popular day trip from Cairns and has a surprising amount of marine life. This charming continental island is close to the mainland, so doesn’t have great visibility. Around the island are rocky reefs with varying amounts of coral cover. Snorkelers generally stick to the shallows, but will still encounter a good variety of small reef fish and invertebrates. While the odd turtle and stingray can be seen, if you look under ledges you have a good chance of seeing a small and harmless epaulette shark.
Diving from the shore or boat, divers can explore rocky reefs in depths to 15 metres at Fitzroy Island. The corals are generally better in deeper water, with a variety of hard and soft corals providing shelter for reef fish, crabs, shrimps, sea stars and the odd stingray. Fitzroy Island is not going to appeal to experienced divers, but for the beginner it is a great introduction to the marine world.