WELCOME TO NORMANBY ISLANDIn the Pristine Frankland Islands Group

The Great Barrier Reef’s Frankland Islands are an archipelago located 10km offshore, about 45km south-east of Cairns. The group’s five continental islands (Normanby, High, Russell, Round and Mabel) are part of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. All the islands are uninhabited and surrounded by healthy fringing reefs, full of hard and soft corals, giant clams, schools of fish, turtles, octopus and more. Dugongs, manta rays and whales have been sighted here.

Visit the Frankland Islands and discover sandy beaches lined with coastal grasses, pandanus and coconuts,  mangroves, rocky outcrops and dense rainforest. The islands are home to an abundance of birdlife, and are an important nesting site for the little tern (Sterna albifrons), the beach stone-curlew (Esacus neglectus), the pied imperial pigeon (Ducula bicolour) and the crested tern (Sterna bergii).

Frankland Islands Reef Cruises is the only company to hold a permit to visit Normanby Island, making ours an exclusive day tour option. Find out how we are helping protect this national park treasure.

PRISTINE ISLANDS & FRINGING REEFS

Full of marine life for you to explore…

MARINE LIFE OF THE FRANKLAND ISLANDSWhat will you see?

The fringing reefs around the Frankland Islands lie within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and are home to a diverse array of marine life. During your day tour you’ll have the chance to explore this  underwater world on our guided snorkel tours.

  • Hard and Soft Corals
  • Green Sea Turtles
  • Anemonefish
  • Nudibranchs
  • Giant Clams
  • Sea Stars
  • Stingrays
  • Feather Stars
  • Wrasse
  • Butterflyfish
  • Angelfish & Parrotfish
  • Damselfish
  • Sea Cucumbers
  • Manta Rays

YOUR DAY TRIP TO NORMANBY ISLANDA Cairns hidden gem

Normanby Island in the Frankland Islands Group provides some of the best snorkelling of all the islands near Cairns thanks to its unique geographical location. It rises from sea level, peaking at 20 metres high. It’s a continental island, which means it was once connected to the mainland but became separated hundreds of thousands of years ago with rising sea levels. As such, it is home to rainforest vegetation, as well as coastal species. Cool water channels surround the islands, keeping sea temperatures cooler during the hot summer months.

As the only operator with a permit to visit Normanby Island, we can choose any of our mooring locations on the day, based on the conditions. We also have the flexibility to take you to several of the offshore fringing reefs, for our adventure snorkel safari and scuba diving tours.

Our guided island walk is a must-do! Join our marine naturalists for an informative and fascinating exploration of the island’s rock pools, birdlife and lush tropical vegetation. And for the kids, a fun pirate treasure hunt will keep the little ones entertained.

CULTURE AND HISTORY

The Frankland Islands Group National Park is a part of the traditional sea country of the Mandingalby Yidinji and Gungandji peoples. Historically and to present times they use these waters to fish, hunt and gather food.

The islands were named by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770, in honour of two 18th century sailors, Lord of the Admiralty and his nephew, both named Sir Thomas Frankland.

A lighthouse was built on Russell Island in 1929. Today, bush camping is available on Russell Island and High Island, which must be booked in advance. We provide camping transfers to Russell Island.

Russell Island is a Commonwealth island. High, Normanby, Mabel and Round Islands were declared a National Park in 1936. The surrounding waters were included in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in 1983.

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© Frankland Islands Reef Cruises 2022

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