Shell Yeah! 4 Reasons Why Lady Elliot Island Needs to Top Your Travel Bucket List

Shell Yeah! 4 Reasons Why Lady Elliot Island Needs to Top Your Travel Bucket List 1

Welcome to Lady Elliot Island, gateway to one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Formed from sediments derived from the Great Barrier Reef, this pristine coral cay is home to over 1,200 species of marine life. Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is a mecca for sustainability, leading the way with award-winning Advanced Ecotourism products and facilities. This family-run and operated eco-resort is truly one of the best for those looking to get off the grid and get back to nature. Offering year-round, world-class snorkelling and diving experiences to any keen water baby, here are our top 4 reasons to add Lady Elliot Island to your bucket list in 2021…

1. Home of the Manta Ray
There is a reason why Lady Elliot has been crowned the Home of the Manta Ray. But don’t take our word for it, PADI boasts the island as ‘one of the best’ for manta encounters as it tops the chart for ‘Five Dive Destinations to Scuba Dive with Manta Rays’.

You can snag a glimpse of these gentle giants year-round at Lady Elliot Island, but your best chances are between May to September when they aggregate in larger numbers. The manta ray is recognized as the world’s largest ray, with a wingspan of up to seven meters! They also have the largest brain-to-body size ratio of any other fish in the ocean, and are adored for their particularly inquisitive nature – a fan favourite on any diver’s bucket list.

Lady Elliot Island is also home to the world’s only known pink manta ray, Inspector Clouseau! Spotted for the first time in 2015, and again in January 2020, the 11-foot male was affectionately named after the Pink Panther movies. Seen fewer than 10 times in total, Inspector Clouseau is proof that you never know who or what you might run into in the pristine waters off Lady Elliot Island.

Shell Yeah! 4 Reasons Why Lady Elliot Island Needs to Top Your Travel Bucket List 2
Image: Pink manta ray “Inspector Clouseau” captured by Underwater Photographer Kristian Laine

2. Turtle time
Sweeeeet. Totally. Lady Elliot hosts three species of turtle – the green, loggerhead and hawkesbill. From November to February each year the island turns into #turtlemania as the island is visited by an abundance of nesting green and loggerheads. Each turtle can lay up to nine clutches of eggs per season, with each clutch containing up to 120 eggs!

About eight weeks later, between February and May, the hatchlings will start their run down the beach and back to the sea. Temperature plays a vital role in determining the sex of the hatchlings. Eggs kept at cooler temperatures will host males and hotter temperatures female, with a fluctuating temperature producing a mix of both sexes.

Under the watchful guide of the experienced Turtle Rangers, you can experience this natural phenomenon as it unfolds. Complimentary activities including turtle talks and walks are offered during these months to learn and experience more of these prehistoric creatures. Find out more

Shell Yeah! 4 Reasons Why Lady Elliot Island Needs to Top Your Travel Bucket List 3
Image: A green sea turtle cruises the waters off Lady Elliot Island

3. Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef
Lady Elliot Island is fondly referred to as ‘First Lady of the Reef’, located within a highly protected ‘Green Zone’ at the southern tip – and therefore gateway – to the Great Barrier Reef. The island is a coral cay, meaning it has literally been formed from reef sediment and therefore no wonder why it prides itself as one of the best snorkelling and diving destinations on the Great Barrier Reef.  

There are so many ways to enjoy the best the island has to offer. From snorkelling tours to world-class diving, guided reef walks or glass-bottom boat safaris. There are so many different ways to experience this special place and the wildlife that calls it home. So I know what you’re now thinking, ‘where can I sign up?!’ Well, the only way you can access Queensland’s best-kept secret is via plane, with scenic flights departing daily right here in Hervey Bay! Find out more

Shell Yeah! 4 Reasons Why Lady Elliot Island Needs to Top Your Travel Bucket List 4
Image: Aerial shot of Lady Elliot Island

4. Life looks better underwater
Speaking of world-class diving, did we mention that there are over 20 dive sites on the island? Any #diveaholic wont want to miss the chance to tick Blowhole, Tubes, Hiros Cave, Three Pyramids and Anchor Bommie off their lists. Visit during the cooler months for you chance to dive with some of the island’s largest guests – the migrating humpback whales.

The dedicated dive staff will escort you on all of your underwater endeavours during your stay and can cater for all levels of experience. Enjoy the 20meter visibility, uncrowded and easily accessible locations, as you immerse yourself in one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Find out more