Nestled amongst the turquoise waters of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, Lady Musgrave Island beckons travellers with the promise of coral gardens, an abundance of marine life and a unique coral island.
But with the option of heading further North, is Lady Musgrave Island worth visiting?
We’ve been lucky enough to experience both incredible destinations, so let’s get into it!
Firstly, Where Is Lady Musgrave Island?
Lady Musgrave Island is located on the Southern side of the Great Barrier Reef. You will find this coral cay island off the Queensland coast between Gladstone and Agnes Water and Town Of 1770.
You can only access the remote Lady Musgrave Island via boat.
Reasons To Visit Lady Musgrave Island
Lady Musgrave Island is a prime travel destination located on the majestic Great Barrier Reef.
There is no denying the island’s attraction with the vibrant coral formations from large bommies to delicate fan corals, colourful fish, sea turtles, manta rays and other marine life.
But what makes Lady Musgrave Island so special?
Secluded Island Charm
Unlike some of the other Islands on the Great Barrier Reef, Lady Musgrave Island is less developed. With limited visitors and absolutely no mode of transport besides your two feet – it’s the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with nature.
Might I add, you are literally walking on large coral as you drift along the island among the nesting birds.
Stunning Coral Reefs and Marine Life
The calm lagoon provides a protected haven for beginner snorkelers, while the outer reef delivers the depth for experienced divers.
Lady Musgrave Island is home to an incredible diversity of marine life. You can snorkel or scuba dive among colourful coral reefs, sea turtles, dolphins, reef sharks and other sea life.
The island is home to a large number of seabirds, including silver gulls and white-capped noddy terns. In fact, all you’ll see on the coral island is the pisonia forest, coral and nesting seabirds. This makes it the perfect destination for bird watching.
Fun fact – the white capped noddy tern males spend their days searching for leaves to bring to their female. Which in turn is either accepted or rejected and the process continues. What a life!
Lady Musgrave Island Boat Tour
Now that you’ve seen what Lady Musgrave Island has to offer, let’s run through the boat tour.
We took this Lady Musgrave day tour from 1770 as that is where we were staying at the time! The tour times change each day to cater to the tide times, so make sure to pick the right time for your adventure.
Upon arrival you’ll be put into groups to participate in the experiences:
- Glass Bottom Boat – it was incredible to experience the aerial view of the reef and marine animals. I’d rate this a 10/10
- Snorkelling/Scuba Diving – you can never go wrong with snorkelling a reef; we witnessed every coloured fish, sting rays and numerous coral varieties. However, we both agreed the marine life and coral varieties were much larger at Cairns. For this reason, I’d rate the Lady Musgrave snorkelling experience a 8/10
- Guided Island Tour – it’s pretty special walking an uninhabited island to experience the different ecosystems. This tour gets a solid 8/10 from me.
If you didn’t want to participate in one of those experiences, I’m sure you can opt to spend more time in your preferred experience. However, we were pretty keen to try it all.
The tour also supplies lunch, snacks and some complimentary drinks such as tea and coffee. However, we’d definitely recommend packing a water bottle and some additional snacks, just in case.
Things to consider before visiting
- Book your tour in advance: Tours to Lady Musgrave Island can fill up quickly, especially during peak season
- Limited facilities: there are no shops, restaurants, facilities or accommodation (besides National Park camping) on Lady Musgrave Island
- Pack the sun protection: bring reef-safe sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses
- Be respectful of the environment: leave no trace and minimise your impact on the island. It’s simple, take your rubbish with you.
Our Final Thoughts: Is Lady Musgrave Island Worth Visiting?
We really enjoyed our day at Lady Musgrave Island. The tour was completely different to what we had experienced on our Cairns tour, making it hard to decide which was the best destination.
Really, it would all depend on how you want to spend your time on the Great Barrier Reef. If you want to spend the entire time snorkelling, book the Great Barrier Reef tour at Cairns. You get more time in the water with much larger coral and marine life to explore.
However, if getting all the way to Far North Queensland isn’t on the cards and you’d prefer to break your day up with multiple experiences – Lady Musgrave Island is for you.
The coral reef at Lady Musgrave Island is still absolutely beautiful with plenty of marine life to explore (both in the water and on the water in the glass bottom boat). Plus you get to walk the coral island among the birdlife!
If we had the choice would we do both again? Yes. However, I would probably pick Lady Musgrave Island first, followed by the Cairns tour to avoid any (minor) disappointment with the reef.
FAQs For Visiting Lady Musgrave Island
What is there to do at Lady Musgrave?
Lady Musgrave Island is a raw as they come – you can opt for a leisurely walk through the natural environment, snorkelling or diving the Great Barrier Reef or other water sports.
How long does it take to walk around Lady Musgrave Island?
The guided tour takes approximately 40 minutes. This is inclusive of stops as the tour guide explains the history of the island.
When should I visit Lady Musgrave Island?
Lady Musgrave Island is best explored between November and April. Added bonus, if you arrive between November and January – you might be lucky enough to witness a mother turtle nesting.
What is Lady Musgrave Island known for?
Lady Musgrave Island is home to a large variety of nesting marine and bird life. A top designation for snorkelling or diving on the Southern side of the Great Barrier Reef.