A series of small coral cays, the Low Isles lie just off the coast of Port Douglas on the edge of the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef. The hard and soft corals in the waters are a habitat for tropical fish, reef sharks, and sea turtles, creating excellent conditions for snorkeling and diving.
Visitors to the Low Isles—composed of Low Island and the mangrove-covered Woody Island—go to snorkel, sail, or scuba dive (or some combination of the three). Lasting anywhere from a few hours to a full day, guided excursions typically include lunch, equipment, time to relax on the pristine beaches, and round-trip transportation from hotels in Port Douglas, Cairns, and the Northern Beaches. Some tours even have a marine biologist onboard to provide commentary.
Prefer to stay dry? Opt instead for a glass-bottom boat trip.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Low Isles are the closest part of the Great Barrier Reef to Port Douglas.
There are no facilities on the islands, so be sure to take everything you’ll need for the day.
How to Get There
The Low Isles are 9.5 miles (15 kilometers) northeast of Port Douglas, and the journey takes around 90 minutes by boat one way. The most convenient way to visit is on a guided sailing, snorkeling, or diving tour.
When to Get There
The best time to explore the Low Isles is between June and October, when rainfall is scarce and the waters are clear. Box jellyfish can be a problem between November and May.
Wildlife in the Low Isles
Much of the fauna in the Low Isles lives in the water, where snorkelers and divers can spot green sea turtles, manatees, and a wide variety of tropical fish. On Woody Island, look for white herons and other migrating seabirds.