5 interesting facts about Fitzroy Island

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 01/02/2024

Reading time: 3 mins

Fitzroy Island is a popular destination located near Cairns.

You have likely heard of Fitzroy Island when researching day trips from Cairns. It is a popular destination for snorkelling as it is close to the Great Barrier Reef. It’s also a great island to enjoy rainforest hikes when you’re not snorkelling.

You may think that Fitzroy Island is just another island near the Great Barrier Reef, but there’s more than meets the eye.

Discover 5 interesting facts about Fitzroy Island!

1. As we said before…there’s more than meets the eye.

Fitzroy Island is actually the top of a mountain. Around 8,000 years ago, as the ice caps melted at the end of the Ice Age, the area flooded. That ended up leaving only the tip of the mountain exposed. This technically means that your island getaway is more of a mountain getaway.

2. The island has an area of 339 hectares.

There is a surprising number of things to enjoy on such a tiny island. There is a resort on the island that is perfect for overnight stays or rentals for ocean activities. You can swim, paddleboard, kayak, and relax on the beach. There are also lots of hiking trails and scenic lookouts to check out on the island.

3. Less than 100 people inhabit Fitzroy Island.

Fitzroy Island is tiny, but the population of the island may surprise you. As of 2021, there were 85 residents on the island. The 2021 census also stated that the average age of the residents on the island was 31 years old.

4. Fitzroy Island got its name back in 1770.

During an expedition in 1770, Captain James Cook sailed past the island and gave it its name after Augustus FitzRoy, the Duke of Grafton.

After a few years, another captain explored the island and wrote that it offered a good water source. Because of this, Fitzroy Island became a common stopover for sailors to refill their supply of water. Eventually, the island also became a popular spot for botanists and naturalists who were keen to discover the fascinating flora and fauna.

5. An abundance of colourful wildlife lives on Fitzroy Island.

97% of Fitzroy Island is covered by a rainforest national park. The rainforest is home to a variety of exotic, colourful wildlife. While strolling through the rainforest, keep an eye out for these vibrant creatures. Some of the colourful wildlife include the blue Ulysses butterfly, cockatoos, and emerald doves.

Now you are equipped with a range of fun facts to keep in mind on your visit to Fitzroy Island! You can visit the island via a ferry from Cairns, or join our exciting Fitzroy Island Tour.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.