I TRAVEL FOREVER discovering the Lady Musgrave Island, the combined coral cay and lagoon on the outer Southern Great Barrier Reef.
The Lady Musgrave Island is one of the smallest coral cay’s, located in one of the seven natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef. The Lady Musgrave Island is just 700m long and is a birdwatcher’s paradise between October and April each year travel there to spot a high variety of bird species, even from Papua New Guinea. Lady Musgrave Island is in I TRAVEL FOREVER’s opinion still a very untouched piece of land because the mainstream backpacker crowd rather travel to Fraser Island and sail to the Whitsunday Islands instead.
To travel to an island with no tourists and more importantly no phone coverage – how cool is that, right? For me, the perfect place to relax – Paradise!
My travel continued after an amazing 3-day sailing trip around the Great Barrier Reef and the beautiful Whitsunday Islands. But my next travel destination was a secret insider tip and therefore not touristy at all – Lady Musgrave Island.
How to get to Lady Musgrave Island ?
HOW TO GET TO TOWN OF 1770
To travel from Aerlie Beach to Town of 1770 I caught one of the Greyhound buses, which took about 8 hours. Alternatively you can also hop on a Lady Musgrave cruise from Bundaberg.
FERRY TO THE ISLAND
There is no ferry that takes you directly to Lady Musgrave Island unfortunately. However, there are Lady Musgrave day trip cruises that offer snorkeling and discovery of the island in a package deal – can bring you to the island but this has to be arranged personally once you are on board to communicate that you are going to camp on the island, let them know for how long you are staying – so they don’t forget to pick you up. When we were getting closer to Lady Musgrave Island, I actually realised how small it was. As I was getting ready to be transferred on the inflatable speed boat I noticed that I was the only one camping overnight as most people that travel to the island only do the day trip. This includes just a short travel to the island itself to explore the birds, as the day trip mainly consists of snorkeling around the Great Barrier Reef.
TIME The travel trip from Town of 1770 takes about an hour. From Bundaberg about 2 hours 15 minutes.
FERRY You can book the ferry at LMCruises. They leave daily.
COSTS The (ferry) travel trip costs approximately AUD$250 per person.
CAMPING PERMIT To stay on Lady Musgrave Island, a camping permit is required for the Capricornia National Park. This is extremely important as the island is limited to 40 people per night and therefore it should also be booked way in advance at The Queensland Government – CAPRICORNIA CAY NATIONAL PARK CAMPING PERMIT.
COSTS The costs for the campground is approximately AUD$5 per person per night.
Things to bring to Lady Musgrave Island
I had all my luggage with me including a non-waterproof tent (AUD $15 from Coles), which is not ideal but luckily it didn’t rain. Apart from that I brought food and water in a cool box, which was so important as on Lady Musgrave Island nothing exists and therefore requires to bring the following:
- Food and beverages
- Snorkel equipment – I wasn’t actually traveling with snorkeling equipment but the staff from the cruise was kind enough to lend me some during my stay on the island free of charge.
- Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses
- Swimmers and towel
- Aqua shoes or comfortable shoes such as flip flops for walking on the island
- Toilet paper
Why Lady Musgrave Island was incredible ?
The untouched island for myself that was the feeling I had during my stay, just like castaway. However, when then cruise visitors arrived once a day to wander around Lady Musgrave Island for about an hour, that was the only people I saw.
During my stay on Lady Musgrave Island, after I had some breakfast I went snorkeling around the lagoon, which was amazing because I spotted so many different colored tropical fish and according to the introduction on the cruise over 1300 varieties of tropical fish and 350 species of colorful hard and soft coral. To enter the water its like everywhere else that you have to watch out for some sharp corals to make your way in. The highlight was definitely swimming with some turtles and finding nemo – awesome !
The next day I met a family on their 3-week holiday, which invited me for a barbecue later in the afternoon. They served some fish, which they caught during the day but I wouldn’t know what kind of fish that was – it was delicious tho. As I found out later the lagoon is actually a protected green zone and has never been fished – ahuh – perhaps they mean commercially fished, right ? The one guy of the family didn’t seem to like the company of me, which made me feel very uncomfortable.
There is a wide variety of birds to see; silver gulls, oystercatchers, egrets, a variety of terns, and tens of thousands of noddies and wedge-tailed shearwaters gather there to raise their chicks. These seabirds actually play a vital importance for the islands ecology because they bring nutrients from sea to land and transport seeds.
NESTING Watch out for the nesting areas, as there especially sensitive species.
Whilst snorkeling I spotted quite a few turtles and even some nemo fish. In general turtles can be seen all year around. e.g. green sea turtle, loggerhead turtle
NESTING Watch out for the nesting areas. about 450 green turtles nest annually. On their way to the waters edge, they face risks of being caught by the hawks, I thought about bringing them into the water but once you interfere turtles loose sense of their direction. Don’t touch them !
A nightmare on Lady Musgrave Island to remember
My fun story about the food I brought was that I stored it in the tent while I was wandering around during the day. In my first night after a couple of hours sleep I woke up because there may have been a few creepy crawlies around my body – at first I thought it was a dream. Of course it was dark, which means of course I couldn’t find the bloody torch. Finally, finding it I realised that I had some company with about a million ants having already accessed my food bag and so I had a little bit of a problem that didn’t end well for them. A million may have been a little exaggerated but the little buggers had eaten half of my food. Cheers !
I TRAVEL FOREVER’s VIEW & RECOMMENDATION
A few amazing days and nights on Lady Musgrave Island came to an end when the cruise came and picked me up on the return of their day trip. I had the best time chilling on the beach, beautiful mornings having breakfast there, enjoying the most incredible sunsets whilst having dinner, discovering the unique animal life on the island and whilst snorkeling. I basically lived the perfect good life without any worries completely isolated from the rest of the world.
At the end of the day I was lucky to have got the insider tip and knew that I was able to camp there with a camping permit; and the fact that mainstream backpackers just skip this incredible travel destination after a trip to/from Fraser Island or Whitsunday Island having already been/planned to visit the Great Barrier Reef is a real shame !
I feel so greatful to have travelled to this wonderful Lady Musgrave Island and totally recommend it to everyone. Go and get that camping permit in advance, book your ferry (day trip cruise), ask politely for the snorkeling equipment and tell them how long you are staying – so they don’t forget to pick you up haha. I repeat this because I almost missed my scheduled bus the next day. I think the whole trip cost me around AUD$400, but so worth it. Travel to Lady Musgrave Island !
MOST AMAZING TRAVEL TRIP TO AN UNTOUCHED PARADISE !
Loved it so much and hope to travel back one day !