Lady Elliot Island Experience

Recently we went on a holiday to Lady Elliot Island.
Simply amazing!

This is the view from our 12 seater plane 
as we circled Lady Elliot Island before landing.
It was a glorious sight 
and was a perfect beginning to our 6 day Island Eco Experience.

This was such a difficult blog post to write!
How to pick the best photos from hundreds 
that  best sum up this magical and unique holiday is tricky (in a good way)  
It has definitely been a pleasure compiling these photos
however there is so much I couldn't include!
Here goes...

Lady Elliot Island is located on the Southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, 
forty minutes flight from Hervey Bay, QLD.
This coral cay is Eco certified and has only one resort on it, best described as
cabin/campground type accommodation with bar and Restaurant.
The views from the Island are of reef and sea and nothing else except
 the occasional electrical storm in the distance.
The colours and scenery are picture postcard.

The main reason for going to Lady Elliot was snorkelling, bird watching,
relaxing, and education, we didn't expect information and sensory overload !!!
(from nature not electronics as there is no TV, phone or internet)

Swimming in clear blue waters (20 plus metres vis) of a marine National park and reef,
home of the manta ray, turtles, and numerous thousands of marine life.
I cannot forget to mention the 95 plus bird species, but more on those later!

The water was warm enough for swimming.

It all started with a three hour drive then a forty minute
Flight from Hervey Bay to Bundaberg to LEI.

Dad was co pilot and whale spotter.

What an amazing coastline we have at our doorstep.

When we arrived at LEI we were given an overview and a welcome drink before
finding our cabin only metres from the beach lagoon.
(the cabins are basic but clean and comfortable)
The Island has a desalination plant and solar power and eco credentials.

The Island is not large and you can easily walk around it in an hour.
There is quite a lot of history that comes with the Island, and it is 
interesting to learn about the coral cay formation, the mining, and the lighthouse keepers...

There is always something to see in the ocean and on land.
But we are so glad glad we got ourselves a waterproof camera to capture the
wonders below...

Swimming with the green turtles was the highlight.
Every time we entered the water we had an encounter 
with these beautiful gentle and accommodating creatures.

Another amazing creature we had the pleasure of meeting
was this giant of the reef, the manta ray.
We saw a few feeding on the surface and they were as wide as the boat.
Dad got to swim with them!

The boys loved swimming with the turtles, especially the endangered Hawksbill.

We learned so much about turtles from the resident experts,
the information and lectures were invaluable. 

We were even so lucky to see the first turtle for the season
to come up onto the beach to lay eggs.
Funny story - it turned out to be a very confused male!
(something the Marine Biologists had never seen before)

So many creatures, here are just a few...

Reef sharks...

Sea hares...

Birds, birds and more birds!
It was nesting seasons and LEI was bulging with them.
The Noddy...

Building nests everywhere, they were so funny.

Shorebirds such as the Egret

and Sooty Oyster catcher

Mum and baby Red tailed tropic birds

 and Older brother tropic bird

The buffet bandit or Buff Bandit rail.

The Capricorn Silvereye...

And the Bridled Tern with egg...

The birds did not sleep, there was constant bird chatter 
and at night the Wedge tailed Shearwater
would come ashore to howl like a ghost.
Luckily we are sound sleepers and enjoyed spending time with the bird life.

 Now to the fish.
They are beautiful shapes and colours and sizes and 
way too hard to get photos of.

There was just too much to look at underwater, it all happens so fast.
Big eye Trevally, eels of all descriptions, parrot fish, picasso fish etc etc.
Another world exists underneath the calm blue exterior...

When we weren't snorkelling we could go on guided reef walks
 in designated areas to discover the reef at low tide.


A snake eel...


numerous species of sea cucumbers

and the odd turtle caught in the shallows.

Afternoons were glorious, the weather was warm and we walked along the beach
after spending the day on the go to have a pre dinner drink.

The view from the restaurant was special.

It was J's birthday whilst we were away...

The big 12!

At other times we collected coral and shells.

Made drawings.

Relaxed and watched birds make nests.

Made coral towers.

Stared into the vast ocean.

 Wrote in our books.

Watched planes land on the runway and scatter birds.

Had plenty of drinks.

Fish feeding with the marine biologist...

There was a games room, information and lecture sessions, walks, 
talks and activities galore...

Glass bottom boat and snorkel tour to the Manta ray feeding grounds.

 Mollusc pirate sailings on pumice ships...

More combing of the coral laden beach.

Plus so much more, but alas it is time to go.
Hop back into the plane sadly and say goodbye 
to this lovely paradise called
Lady Elliot Island.

Definitely worth the visit 
and we are very thankful we had such an
amazing opportunity.


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