How To Visit The Low Isles From Port Douglas

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If you walk the Flagstaff Hill walking trail and look out to sea, you will see low-lying islands to the northeast of Port Douglas. These are the Low Isles and they are a popular half or full-day trip from our town. In this post, we cover your options for visiting The Low Isles to help you choose the right tour for you.

On the island, there is a lighthouse, a few buildings, vegetation and wildlife. A caretaker is normally stationed on the larger island. There is an unspoiled sandy beach and you may be able to see tiny baby sharks in the shallows. The fringing reefs around Low Isles are a great place to spot sea turtles, soft corals and giant clams. The boat journey from Port Douglas to Low Isles is only about 40 minutes, depending on which boat you take.

Glass Bottom Boat approaching Low Isles
A Glass bottomed boat approaching Low Isles carrying passengers from a larger half-day tour boat (Calypso, details below.)

Some tours allow you to set foot on the island, explore and use the beach. Others take you to snorkelling spots just off the Low Isles and do not allow island access. Glass bottom boats and guided snorkel tours are also available. All of these tours depart Port Douglas Marina.

Choose which part of this page you need from the list below.

  1. Full Day Trips
  2. Half Day Trips
  3. Low Isles vs Outer Reef
  4. Low Isles With Kids
Low Isles Lighthouse on the island
The Low Isles Lighthouse.

Day Trips To the Low Isles from Port Douglas

If you don’t want to head to the outer reef the Low Isles are a shorter trip.

You can enjoy the beach at Low Isles as well as snorkelling by taking a trip out with Calypso, or Wavedancer. Wavedancer being a beautiful twin-hull sailboat. The Reef Sprinter speed boats allow you to snorkel off Low Isles, but you don’t get access to the islands.

Wavedancer Port Douglas
A beautiful boat, book Wavedancer for an unforgetable day-trip to Low Isles.

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Wavedancer is a gorgeous sailing catamaran that will take you to Low Isles for a full-day trip. Book a day trip on Wavedancer here. Wavedancer allows island access and glass-bottom boat tours.

Shaolin Port Douglas
For a totally different type of cruise take the Shaolin Chinese junk to Low Isles.

Port Douglas also has its own Chinese junk. The Shaolin can take you for a full-day trip to Low Isles as well as lunchtime and sunset sails. Book a day at Low Isles with Shaolin here.

Tour operators vary, check who’s running day trips to Low Isles currently and check prices and available facilities.

Half-day trips to Low Isles from Port Douglas

Calypso’s small boat offers glass-bottom boat tours and a half-day option,

Book a 4-hour (half day, morning or afternoon) Low Isles trip with beach access and a glass bottom boat option here.

This half-day trip allows access to the island itself, where you can take a stroll and see the Low Isles lighthouse, or just relax on the sand. Even small children can play in the shallows here.

If you visit the island you can snorkel from the beach. Snorkelling off Four Mile Beach, you’ll mostly just see sand, though there can be crabs and fish around the stinger net, visit Low Isles instead.

Low Isles or The Outer Reef?

Snorkelling at Low Isles on the fringing reef is a very different experience to snorkelling on the outer reef. It’s good to do both tours and compare what you see. It takes time and money and there’s no such thing as a cheap tour in Port Douglas, but if you can, take both tours.

Because you can visit Low Isles for a half day, it does make this trip slightly more affordable. It’s also better for anyone who may get seasick, or for families with younger kids. Little ones can play on the beach or in the shallows rather than having to jump off a boat into deep water. This is what snorkellers have to do on the outer reef.

People come to Far North Queensland to see The Great Barrier Reef, it’s a wonder of the natural world and we here in Port Douglas are incredibly privileged to have it on our doorstep. If you can go to the Outer Reef, go, it’s an experience of a lifetime. (This is the boat we recommend for a day of snorkelling out there), but Low Isles is also worth seeing if you have time in your itinerary.

Best Low Isles Trip With Small Children

snorkelling little kids
My son was 3 years old when he first started snorkelling on the reef and at Low Isles.

If you’re visiting Port Douglas with small children, a full day on the reef may be a bit much. Not every boat will allow babies, little kids, and toddlers and you really don’t want sea-sick children. It’s best to try a half-day Low Isles tour, that includes a glass-bottom boat ride to the islands for your little one to enjoy the beach. These half-day tours are also cheaper than the full-day Outer Reef cruises. Once you know if your child has good sea legs, and they’re confident and comfortable in deep water you can try the full-day Great Barrier Reef Tours. That’s my advice as a mum who’s taken her kids to the reef hundreds of times. Any questions, use the comments, I’m here to help.

About the author
Alyson Long

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