Looking for some bucket list Australia inspiration? Before the world went into chaos, we were incredibly lucky to go on a Southern Great Barrier Reef day trip to Lady Musgrave Island with 1770 Reef to snorkel with turtles!
If you’re wondering whether you should visit Lady Musgrave Island, or if you’ve never heard of this hidden island in Australia before, we’re here to tell you all about it.
Where is Lady Musgrave Island?
Lady Musgrave Island is just north of Lady Elliot Island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Whilst most people tend to visit the Great Barrier Reef from Airlie Beach or Cairns, the Southern end is a proper gem.
There’s two ways you can get to Lady Musgrave Island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef. We went with 1770 Reef which is a two hour boat ride from the Town of 1770 located in Agnes Waters. You can also go from Bundaberg with a different tour company which takes equally the same time. Because we’re currently staying in Agnes Water, we wanted to go with 1770 Reef.
What’s So Special About Lady Musgrave Island?
Lady Musgrave Island is one of the only islands in the entire Great Barrier Reef where you can either go on a day trip or camp over night, dive, swim and snorkel all in one place.
Set in a protected lagoon on a coral cay island, this is one of the most beautiful and authentic deserted islands in the Great Barrier Reef, complete with resident turtles you can snorkel with!
Another great fact about Lady Musgrave Island we learnt from the awesome team at 1770 Reef is that it’s further away from the mainland than most of the other islands in the Great Barrier Reef. This means that all of the rivers and run off from the farms don’t actually run into the lagoon at Lady Musgrave, giving the island one of the best visibilities to see the coral reef and fish & turtles living in the Great Barrier Reef.
What’s The Day Trip To Lady Musgrave Island With 1770 Reef Like?
When we arrived at 1770 Marina at 8am, there was around 40 other tourists who were all excited to go on this trip, ranging from families, to backpackers and oldies.
In the briefing email we were advised to bring sea sickness tablets with us. The last time I took sea sickness pills was on the boat to see the blue whales in Sri Lanka and I specifically remember everyone passing out during the trip, including myself.
Although I was reluctant to buy any this time round because I usually say; “I never get sick on the boat”, I was glad I brought some with me. A local told me the day before to definitely take some and they were right.
Although a few people were sea sick on the boat, the best thing to do is to take some Travel Calm which you can buy at the pharmacy in Agnes Water. I was indeed fine because I was prepared so just warning you too.
Fear not, the boat ride back is totally calm and as the crew told us, no one ever gets sick on the way back. In fact, most people have a snooze because it’s that calm.
Whilst we spent two hours on the bumpy boat, no one could prepare us for the sight we were faced with when we arrived at the Lady Musgrave Island protected lagoon.
Welcome To Paradise In Australia
When we arrived, we started to see some islands and it instantly reminded us of going to the Maldives. The sand looked white on the tiny islands and the water became a bright crystal clear turquoise colour.
As the amazing crew split us into two groups, our group headed onto the glass bottom boat tour over to the island whilst the other group went snorkelling around the lagoon.
WANT TO TAKE YOUR DRONE WITH YOU?
Make sure you request drone access from 1770 Reef before you go. You can only fly it off the boat but not onto the island.
The Lady Musgrave Island Walk
The glass bottom boat tour over to Lady Musgrave Island was actually really exciting. Because the water was so clear, we found loads of turtles and reef sharks hanging around the area. It was clear on the guide’s face how much she loved her job by her excitement when we saw them.
When we arrived onto the island, it was quite amazing to see the sand is made up of coral so wear flip flops when you come over.
When we walked around, we were almost faced with a dense jungle like scene with thousands of birds living on the island. It was pretty spectacular.
Find Out What It’s Like to Pet Sit In Agnes Water
You Can Camp On Lady Musgrave Island
We also found the camp site on Lady Musgrave Island too which holds a maximum of 40 people at any one time. For just $8.50 you can camp in an authentic and castaway island which would be an amazing experience and a total bucket list idea.
It’s incredibly basic though with just a drop toilet in site and no water or electricity. You’ll need to bring everything with you if you wanted to go which you can organise through 1770 Reef.
READ: Discover Agnes Water’s Best Coastal Hike >
Snorkelling Off Lady Musgrave Island
When we returned to the boat, we were given a chicken or veggie wrap for lunch before we got ready to go snorkelling. I’m not the best swimmer in the world so there are floatie noodles in place to use which were fantastic. We floated along in the crystal clear water spotting fish everywhere! Unfortunately we didn’t get the chance to spot those turtles to swim with, but a lot of tours do get to experience this once in a lifetime activity.
After a good hour or two of floating around, we then boarded back onto the boat for a smooth ride back to 1770, just in time for sunset.
I have to say, going to Lady Musgrave Island with 1770 Reef is one of the best things we’ve done in ages. The staff were so friendly, helpful and incredibly knowledgeable and we had a brilliant time.
If you’re thinking of going to Lady Musgrave Island in the Southern Great Barrier Reef, go! We love visiting hidden gems in Australia and this is absolutely one of them. Imagine walking around a deserted island in the Great Barrier Reef with just small group and this is what it’s like. Now imagine camping there? We’ll be back for sure!
Don’t forget to watch our video!
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Lady Musgrave Island Review
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