A comprehensive and honest review of the Fitzroy Island Resort near Cairns to prepare yourself for what to expect on this epic Far North Queensland island paradise.
While basing myself in Cairns, I visited Fitzroy Island a dozen times. I’ve camped at the nearby campground and slept out on our boat in Welcome Bay many times. But recently I finally got around to spending a night at the resort.
In this quick accommodation guide and resort review, I’ll outline everything you need to know about staying at Fitzroy Island Resort based on my experience.
I’ll include a list of the facilities on offer, how to get to the island, what to expect, and how to secure a great deal on this little island getaway. I’ve also included a bunch of my photos from the resort and from highlights around the island.
- About Fitzroy Island & The Resort
- Booking A Stay at Fitzroy Island Resort
- Getting to Fitzroy Island (Ferry)
- What to Expect at Fitzroy Island Resort
- Things to do on Fitzroy Island When Staying Overnight
- Review: Should You Stay on Fitzroy Island?
I'm Olly, a full-time traveler for the past 5 years. I visit every destination I write about & handpick all recommendations.
About Fitzroy Island & The Resort
Fitzroy Island is one of the closest Great Barrier Reef islands near Cairns, requiring just a quick 45-minute ferry to reach from the Cairns Reef Fleet Terminal.
The island towers 269 metres above sea level and is actually the tallest of the many popular islands in the region. As a result, the island is great for hiking and the fringing reef and crystal-clear water make it an ideal location for snorkelling and scuba diving as well.
The Fitzroy Island Resort is the only resort or accommodation option on the island as the rest is divided into National Park and Cairns Regional Council designations. However, there are also camping facilities.
Update: In this updated review, I've also included the most recent customer reviews from other travellers staying here as of 2024 to keep you updated and informed on whether this is the best place to stay in Cairns for you.
Booking A Stay at Fitzroy Island Resort
The resort on Fitzroy is one of the most popular places to stay in Far North Queensland. Consequently, you'd expect rooms to fill up fairly quickly. For that reason, I'd highly recommend booking a room in advance online to secure a spot on your dates.
There are several rooms and accommodation options to choose from at the Fitzroy Island Resort. Below I've listed the options in order of most expensive to cheapest. You can click the booking link to find photos and up-to-date pricing for each room.
- Welcome Bay Apartment
- Beach Cabin
- Island Suite
- 2-Bedroom Suite
- Butterfly Bungalows
- Resort Studio (Double or Queen)
I stayed in the Island Suite which included a full kitchen, living area, bathroom, separate bedroom with ocean views and a beach-facing balcony.
If you're planning a trip to Fitzroy Island, then staying at the Fitzroy Island Resort makes sense as there's just so much to do here that's hard to cover in just a short day trip. Luckily, Fitzroy Island Resort is one of the cheapest hotels near Cairns as far as resorts go!
Many people visiting Cairns decide to spend at least one night on the island as it makes for a great addition to your Cairns itinerary, breaking up your trip for a stay on this tropical island.
Getting to Fitzroy Island (Ferry)
Of course, if you're looking to stay at Fitzroy Island Resort, you'll also need to plan how to get here.
If you book a room, you'll get an email explaining the ferry process and this is not included in the price of the stay.
There are three different ferry companies running trips to Fitzroy. Currently, the best price you will find online is by booking the Fitzroy Island Adventures ferry on GetYourGuide for $89 (return).
This saves you $6 per person compared to booking directly.
The timings for the ferries depend on which company you book with. Most ferries offer several daily ferry times. The ferry runs from the Cairns Reef Terminal and it's advised to get there roughly 20-30 minutes before departure.
Tip: Book a Half-Day Trip
Only got time to visit the island for a few hours?
Currently, there's a great deal you can snag with BackpackerDeals, offering cheaper half-day return ferry tickets. Using code OLLY5 makes this the cheapest way to get to Fitzroy at the moment.
My favourite Cairns island: Frankland Islands
What to Expect at Fitzroy Island Resort
After a quick 45-minute cruise from Cairns harbour, you'll be on the white-sand, reef-lined shores of Fitzroy Island. If you're staying at Fitzroy Island Resort, make your way down to the pier and walk up the steps to the resort entrance. Here, the staff will greet you and check you into your rooms.
If you're heading to the island early, then you can use the luggage rooms near the pool to store your bags before check-in.
Our Room at Fitzroy Resort (The Island Suite)
While you can get a quick run-down of the inclusions in each room in the Booking link above, I thought I'd share some photos of our room to so you know what to expect.
As I mentioned, we stayed in the Island Suite, which was right on the doorstep of Welcome Bay. We were really surprised that the suite had a full kitchen and a separate living area. The highlight was definitely the beach-facing balcony, which overlooks the tropical gardens and white, coral shores of Welcome Bay.
Fitzroy Island Resort Facilities
Below I'll give you a rundown of the resort facilities on offer with my photos to help you make an informed decision on whether or not you'd like to stay here.
1. Beachside Pool with Swim-up Bar
Easily one of the best highlights of Fitzroy Island Resort is the huge, beachside pool. You'll find it right next to the reception, complete with an island, and a swim-up bar!
It's especially spectacular at night on a warm evening in the tropics.
Fitzroy Island Resort has its own restaurant named Zephyr's. You'll find this adjacent to the reception area and it's open for breakfast and dinner. Also, visitors will find another restaurant/bar just a little further up the beach. This one is called Foxy's and offers slightly cheaper, "bar-food" style meals. Foxy's is open for lunch and dinner and also serves cocktails and drinks.
Note: you'll need to book a table if you plan to dine at Zephyr's for breakfast or dinner at least a few hours before as it's very popular with guests.
3. FISH: Dive Centre
Fitzroy Island Resort has its very own, newly revamped scuba diving centre named FISH, found next to the pool entrance. I was given the privilege of photographing their new tours and dive courses during my visit. This allowed me to get a deep dive on everything they had to offer and even get to go diving in their brand-new scuba gear.
Since Fitzroy Island is located right on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, it's a great place to go scuba diving or snorkelling. You'll find healthy corals and abundant sea life here. But, the best sites like Shark Fin Rock are more easily accessed via boat.
So, if you're planning to visit the island on a day trip or stay the night at Fitzroy Island Resort, go see the friendly staff at the dive centre to learn about their guided snorkel and dive tours and their PADI-licensed scuba courses.
4. Kids Play Area
For busy parents looking to unwind for a few hours, the Fitzroy Island resort offers kid's activities and minding. You'll find the play centres right next to FISH.
5. Fitzroy Island General Store
The only shop/kiosk on the island is found beside Foxy's bar. This little shop is run by the resort and sells small snacks and a few souvenirs. I found the prices to be a little steep and the selection a little narrow, but I'm certainly not expecting much more from a small island. You can consider this more of a quick stop-in for light snacks.
If you're planning to stay at Fitzroy Island Resort and you booked a suite or apartment with a kitchen, then I'd recommend bringing some food with you from the mainland rather than relying on the general store. Otherwise, the two restaurants will easily have you covered for meals.
6. Gear Hire
Fitzroy Island is one of my favourite Great Barrier Reef Islands for adventure and activities. Make sure to head down to FISH for cheap gear rental including the hire of:
- Snorkels, fins and masks
- Stand-up paddle-boards
- Dome-bottom boards
Recent Customer Reviews
I've been traveling full-time since 2018 as a professional travel photographer and adventure blogger. I've stayed in hundreds of hotels across the world– in fact, I live in hotels and hostels 365 days a year!
This review of Fitzroy Island Resort was based on my personal experience in 2021 and as you can see, I had a great experience. However, to keep you updated on what to expect, I decided to update this guide to include recent reviews.
Unfortunately, it seems that recently, prices have gone up significantly for a night's stay at the Fitzroy Island Resort. When I stayed here, the cost of an Island Suite was only $150 during peak season. Now, you'll be looking at paying upwards of $250, depending on the time of year.
Additionally, while I loved the facilities on offer, it seems that the "facilities" and "comfort" scores provided by hotel reviews recently indicate that these elements have been neglected. For example, Timothy, an Australian traveller who stayed here in October 2023 mentioned that:
"...There are a variety of maintenance issues as well and it is rather tired."
Furthermore, the tiredness aspect is reiterated by Michael, another Aussie who stayed in the Studio Apartment for 6 days this year.
Unfortunately, it seems that the resort reviews are dropping quickly, which to me indicates that although I had a great experience, recent guests seem to be underwhelmed by the facilities on offer.
That said, there are plenty of 10/10 reviews as well. I've noticed that these are primarily from travellers staying in the Island Suite as I did. Therefore, this may be an indication that the older rooms are the cause of the issues in reviews.
Comparison: Fitzroy Island vs Green Island
Things to do on Fitzroy Island When Staying Overnight
By now, I bet you're pretty pumped to visit Fitzroy Island and perhaps even stay at Fitzroy Island Resort, one of the top island hotels in Australia! If you're planning a trip, make sure to check out my full travel guide to Fitzroy Island which covers all of the best things to do and a bunch more photos to get you inspired for your trip.
However, if you're in a hurry and only have a few hours to spend, some activities that you don't want to miss include:
- The Fitzroy Island summit hike
- Glass-bottom boat tour (with FISH)
- Snorkelling/scuba diving at Shark Fin Rock or White Rock
- Visit Nudey Beach
Review: Should You Stay on Fitzroy Island?
I think it's fairly clear now that I'm a big fan of the Fitzroy Island Resort.
For travellers like myself who are used to guest houses and cheap hostels, I find it refreshing to be able to experience a few nights of first-class Aussie luxury hospitality without it costing as much as a 3-month backpacking trip in South East Asia!
I'm super impressed with the resort and can honestly find little to fault. In fact, I'd say that anyone coming to visit Cairns should consider spending at least a night here, especially if you're looking to head out to one of the Great Barrier Reef islands as part of your trip to Cairns.
While I have been keeping an eye on updates lately, I've noticed that the review score for this resort is dropping quickly. While I had an excellent experience, I recommend reading recent traveller's reviews on popular booking sites to stay up to date with the property.
So, with that concludes this quick but useful accommodation guide to Fitzroy Island Resort near Cairns. While you're here, make sure to check out some of my other travel and adventure articles from Far North Queensland below.
- 60+ Things to do in Cairns - my ultimate Cairns and FNQ travel resource covering the best activities, hidden gems, and unmissable experiences.
- Cairns Tours - my roundup of the best tours you can book in Cairns and FNQ, from the Great Barrier Reef to the Daintree Rainforest.
- Cairns Packing List - tips on what to pack for a trip to Far North Queensland.
- Top Things to Do in Port Douglas - a comprehensive guide to the sleepy Far North Queensland town of Port Douglas.
- Epic 5-Day Cairns Itinerary - my suggested adventure itinerary if you only have 5 days to spend in Cairns.
- Cape Tribulation Travel Guide - discover where the rainforest meets the reef at one of my favourite places in Australia.
- Cairns Hiking Guide - a huge list of epic rainforest, waterfall, and lookout hikes in Cairns.
- Cairns Waterfalls - a huge list of epic waterfalls that I've visited in Cairns and the surrounding tropics.
- Cairns Islands - discover my favorite Great Barrier Reef islands near Cairns and Port Douglas.
- Magnetic Island Travel Guide - your ultimate resource for visiting "Maggie" near Townsville.
- Best Things to do in the Atherton Tablelands - my guide to one of Far North Queensland's most underrated adventure destinations.
- Accommodation Resources: Discover where to stay in Cairns, the best hotels in Port Douglas and my Cape Tribulation accommodation guide.