The Frankland Islands are a cluster of five (5) continental islands which are located approximately 45km south east of Cairns and 10km offshore.? These are continental islands, which means they were once connected to the mainland, but were separated around 6,000 years ago with rising sea levels.
The group is comprised of High, Normanby, Mabel, Round and Russell Islands.? Surrounded by fringing reefs and home to a range of native flora and fauna, the Frankland Islands are a great day tour destination for those wanting to head off the beaten track.
The Frankland Islands company provides snorkel and dive day tours to Normanby Island, departing from Deeral, which is a 45-minute drive south from Cairns city.? This is the only Great Barrier Reef island day tour to include a calm water river cruise, with your day commencing with a comfortable journey along the Mulgrave River.
This is also the shortest open water crossing, which makes it a good option for those suffering from sea sickness.? The fringing reefs surrounding Normanby Island is home to a diverse array of marine life, including sea turtles, giant clams, sea stars, sea cucumbers and many varieties of Great Barrier Reef fish.
All of the islands are protected as national parks and their surrounding waters were included in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 1983.? The islands themselves offer a variety of terrain and vegetation, from gently sloping sandy beaches, to rocky outcrops, mangroves and open woodlands.
Water entry is straight off the beach and Normanby Island’s fringing reefs are literally meters from the beach, making snorkelling and exploration very easy.? The corals are just metres beneath the surface and at low tide there are numerous rock pools to explore, with some reef residents, including living giant clams, even becoming exposed to the sunlight.
Like most islands, the underwater visibility around Normanby and the entire Frankland Islands group varies, pending tide and conditions.? Generally speaking, it is anywhere from 2-10m.? This destination is suitable for swimmers, snorkelers, divers and even non-swimmers, with a range of in and out of water activities available, including glass bottom boat and semi-submersible tours.
There are no permanent residents at Normanby Island and no resort facilities, making this a very different experience to that offered on Green and Fitzroy Islands. There is only one operator licensed to take visitors to the island and with day tour numbers capped at just 100 people, you can be assured an island escape without the crowds.
The Frankland Island group were named in 1770 by Captain James Cook.? They are named in honour of a Lord of the Admiralty and James Cook’s nephew, both of whom were named Sir Thomas Frankland.? High, Normanby, Mabel and Round islands were declared national park in 1936 and have been a popular day tour spot with locals for over 100 years.
For islands so close to the mainland, the Frankland Island group have a real feeling of escapism about them.? Perhaps it’s their distance from Cairns or the lack of other people on there at the time, or maybe it’s just the pandanus lined beaches and crystal clear blue waters that give the whole place a real Robinson Crusoe feeling.
The Frankland Islands day tour is certainly worth adding to your Great Barrier Reef itinerary.
Please note: We are not affiliated with any of the boats. We are Cairns locals, trying to help visitors have the best time they can, on the amazing Great Barrier Reef. This website is funded and built by us: we make commission from your tour bookings. We hope the information is of some assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more advice on +61 7 5641 0112 | email@example.com