This ruggedly picturesque, heavily forested island is 94% national park, with vegetation ranging from rain forest to heath, and an extensive fringing coral reef. Only 6 km (4 miles)—less than an hour’s cruise—from Cairns, the 988-acre island, once connected to the mainland, was a hunting, gathering, and ceremonial ground for the Gungandji people, who called it Kobaburra before Cook re-named it in 1770. Today Fitzroy Island houses a modern resort, budget cabins, and facilities for the day-trippers who flock here year-round to snorkel, dive, and kayak with turtles and tropical fish. From June to September, migrating manta rays and humpback whales pass right by the island.
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