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What It’s Like Staying at Fitzroy Island Resort Near Cairns

What It’s Like Staying at Fitzroy Island Resort Near Cairns

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.

Olly gaspar

By Olly Gaspar, full-time traveler & adventure photographer for 6 years with 700+ published travel guides. I visit every place I write about & share real tips from what I learn.

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.

Where to stay in cairns, things to do fitzroy island, islands off cairns, drone

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.

  • Penthouse
  • Welcome Bay Apartment
  • Beach Cabin
  • Island Suite
  • 2-Bedroom Suite
  • Butterfly Bungalows
  • Resort Studio (Double or Queen)
  • Campsite

I stayed in the Island Suite which included a full kitchen, living area, bathroom, separate bedroom with ocean views and a beach-facing balcony.

Fitzroy island resort view

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.

Fitzroy island resort reception
Fitzroy island cairns 3

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.

Fitzroy island ferry
Fitzroy island ferry
Fitzroy island ferry queensland

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 1
View at fitzroy island resort

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.

Sunset pool view at fitzroy island resort
Resort swimming pool, queensland australia
Cocktail by the pool

2. Restaurants

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.

Zephyr restaurant, fitzroy island near cairns
Restaurant at fitzroy island resort

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.

Scuba diving at fitzroy island
Scuba diving courses at fitzroy island resort
Scuba diving boat entry

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.

Kids play area at fitzroy island resort

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.

Bar at fitzroy island beach

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
  • Kayaks
  • Dome-bottom boards
Kayaking on the great barrier reef
Gear hire at fitzroy island resort

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."

Screenshot of a review of fitzroy island resort

Furthermore, the tiredness aspect is reiterated by Michael, another Aussie who stayed in the Studio Apartment for 6 days this year.

Image 1

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
Fitzroy island summit hike
Gear hire at fitzroy island resort
Fitzroy island cairns
Fitzroy island turtle cairns
Glass bottom boat tour

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.

Staying at fitzroy island resort
Thanks for Reading

I'm Olly Gaspar, adventure travel journalist & photographer. Traveling non-stop since 2018, I've published over 700 travel guides on We Seek Travel. These draw on my personal experience to share unique itineraries, accommodation tips, & fun adventure guides covering hikes, viewpoints, beaches, waterfalls, & tours. Read my Publishing Ethics Statement.

Your feedback & updates are crucial to keep my guides factual & current. Got new info or updates? Drop a comment below or contact me directly.

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I only make genuine, worthwhile recommendations based on my experience, expertise, & research. If you buy through my links, I may get a commission, supporting this website at no extra cost to you.

Grant

Saturday 4th of November 2023

I read your review of the Fitzroy Island Resort. Your very positive review clashes with the reviews given by guests staying there, who rate it at 7.2 on Booking.com site & if you look at recent reviews guests are scathing about the condition of the resort. Also you state in your review that rooms are from $150/night, which I can't imagine was your room as it was a middle level room. The cheapest I could see in June 2024 was over $250/night. How do you relate this assessment with your own, or are you just out of date?

Olly Gaspar

Saturday 4th of November 2023

Hi Grant,

Thanks for your comment and feedback. I've recently updated this review to include customer reviews and to reflect up to date pricing so that it offers a more up-to-date review of this resort.

I've also been back to Fitzroy Island several times since writing this review back in 2021. On my recent visit, I did notice that there was a lot of old building material laying around and that the roof did look dated. This reflects what other travellers are talking about in their reviews. I've included a section in this post now with recent reviews to provide a more comprehensive understanding of what to expect when staying at the Fitzroy Island Resort.

Cheers,

Olly

Pete and Al

Tuesday 7th of December 2021

That was funny seeing your room view. I’m guessing that was from 114, same room we ended up in late October. We originally booked a studio and I reckon your review might not have been quite so glowing if you found yourselves in a room with a view of a fire hose, fire extinguisher and stairwell. It was awful. We called it the cave. We worked out there anything up to 15 studio rooms with exactly the same non-view. We upgraded to the island suite. We loved Fitzroy and will go back but only to stay in an ocean facing room. Other things people have to be aware of - alcohol is silly expensive considering how close the resort is to Cairns and you cannot byo. Food choices are limited but are good quality. Finally, everything closes so bloody early!!