Just a short 25-minute flight from Bundaberg Airport, Lady Elliot Island is a haven of biodiversity both above and below the water. As the Great Barrier Reef’s southernmost island and a protected Green Zone, last year it became the first island to be named a “climate change ark” by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. Expected to be one of the last parts of the Reef affected by climate change, researchers hope it will become a refuge for marine animals and birdlife that are forced south to escape the heat. 

Lady Elliot Island’s plankton-rich waters make it a beacon for large marine life, like manta rays and migrating humpback whales. Master Reef Guides educate visitors on the underwater playground that’s home to more than 1200 species of marine life. 

On dry land, the Island’s guardians and caretakers have spent the past 50 years restoring the Island back to its natural state, after guano (bird excrement) mining in the 1800s degraded the landscape. Resident and migratory birdlife has returned and today the Island is a significant breeding ground.  

Since 2005, under the custodianship of Peter Gash, the Island’s award-winning Eco Resort has been dedicated entirely to research, protection and rejuvenation of the fragile ecosystem. Internationally-renowned, the resort has been designed to minimise guests’ impacts on the environment. With its eco-friendly structural design, the resort’s island footprint is only 25 per cent and all rooms are energy efficient, water saving and powered by a hybrid solar power station. They’re committed to recycling and composting. The mainland products they use are sourced locally and they employ eco-conscious housekeeping initiatives.  

How can you contribute?

Download the Eye on Reef app to share photos of what you’ve seen while snorkeling or diving the reef during your stay and help contribute to the Island’s reef monitoring.

Take the time to learn about the Island by visiting the Native Plant Nursery or participate in a Marine Debris Clean Up. 

Buy or bring a reusable water bottle to fill up with the Island’s pure, additive free desalinated seawater. In 2012, Lady Elliot Island was the first island on the Great Barrier Reef to eliminate selling single-use plastic water bottles in the resort.