Frankland Islands had been on the list of must do Cairns experiences for a while. Therefore when a free weekend with beautiful weather came up in October, my friend, Rachael and I jumped at the opportunity to spend the day on the inhabited collection of islands.
Frankland Islands (also known as Frankland Group National Park) is located just south of Cairns, above Innisfail (Google Maps link here). As suggested this is actually a group of small islands coined ‘Frankland Islands.’ The specific island we visited was Normanby Island.
It is believed that these islands were separated from mainland Australia about 6,000 years ago due to rising sea levels. However, they don’t sit very far off shore, and in fact, the open water crossing between Australia and the islands is the shortest open water crossing out to the Great Barrier Reef in Cairns (which is a major win for those who get sea sick in open water). These islands became National Park protected over 80 years ago, and are absolutely stunning (so remember to leave everything as you found it!)
We went over to Frankland Islands with Frankland Islands Reef Cruises. This tour includes transfers there and back, 4 hours on Normanby Island, snorkel tour, island walk and catered lunch.
We self-drove to the boat departure point in Deeral.
How to get to Frankland Islands Meeting Point
Head south out of Cairns, passing The Pyramid in Gordonvale. Just after Fishery Falls, you’ll arrive in Deeral. Look out for Ross Road on the left. Turn down Ross Road and drive down until you see ‘Frankland Islands & Reef Cruise Jetty’ on the left hand side of the road. There is plenty of parking here.
You can also download the self-drive map here.
Frankland Islands River Cruise
As the departure point is relatively inland along the Mulgrave River. A river cruise out to the ocean is included in your travels. This is a nice way to see a little bit more of the South Cairns area and on the way back we even saw a crocodile.
When we pulled up on Normanby Island, we knew we had found a slice of paradise. We pulled up and hopped off eager to explore.
We were taken to a shaded area where we were given information about the island, an itinerary for the day if we wished to follow it and told what time lunch would be.
Rach and I immediately headed over to the ‘corner’ of the island to send my drone into the air and capture how beautiful Normanby Island looked with the waves lapping at the shore.
My drone actually seriously malfunctioned just after taking this picture of the island. Was very lucky to get it down safely.
The water was SUCH a good temperature when we went in October and therefore we spent the rest of the morning before lunch swimming and splashing around close to the shore.
We then were called over for lunch and like all good days out on the Reef, the food was delicious and there was a LOT of it. Once we had eaten to our hearts content, we were told the guided snorkel tour would be starting soon.
We topped up on sunscreen and headed back to the boat, which headed around to a different part of the islands and we jumped off into the water. Although my trusty GoPro doesn’t quite have the quality of an underwater camera we were excited to swim with a turtle and see a star fish or two along the way.
Before being picked up again by the boat and brought back to Normanby Island. Here we had the option of enjoying a guided tour of the island, but Rach and I couldn’t get enough of the water so just hung out in the shallows for the rest of the afternoon.
We had an epic day exploring this little hidden treasure, just south of Cairns and I highly recommend this island to anyone who wants to experience a piece of paradise.
You can book your tour online with the option to have the full day tour including lunch or just transfers to and from the island.
Have a fantastic time exploring!
If you are looking to visit Frankland Islands you may also want to read: 101 Things to Do in Cairns.