A VIP visit to Low Isles

After a perfect night anchored at Vlassoff Cay it was time to get moving and head to our next spot for the trip – Low isles! We’d been right about the weather and the further north we sailed the bigger the winds got. They brought with them dark, angry looking clouds and we all crossed our fingers for it to stay dry overnight.


Low Isles are, unsurprisingly, a pair of very low lying islands just off the coast of port Douglas. One is covered in trees and named Woody island (natch) the other Low Island. You really feel like Captain Cook was running out ideas by this point, don’t you?

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Photo courtesy google earth

Visiting Low island (the smaller of the two) is a popular day trip to take, especially for those less confident in the water, but somewhere I’d never especially hankered to visit. I’m not a huge fan of small day trip islands. Fitzroy is fine because it’s pretty large and still not that popular place to visit but, like how Port Douglas is the upmarket version of Cairns, Low Isles is the rich man’s Green Island. And I don’t really like Green Island that much.

But we weren’t going on a day trip, we were going to have the whole island to ourselves!


There was another solitary boat moored as we arrived but they soon scarpered. Perhaps they thought were were dodgy looking folk? Or maybe they’d seen those storm clouds too!


Although we missed our cute friend batty there were new fish to meet. Quite a few large trevally were patrolling the waters tailed by lots of remoras and a couple of small batfish. Unfortunately the water up here was a bit murky and while Mum jumped in for a swim I chose wine (surprise!) and staying dry instead.


We had seen a little evidence of coral spawning the night before and as the sky grew darker the sea grew pinker as the reef started to burst in to it’s annual orgy of breeding! Cursing our alcohol consumption we decided not to jump in for a snorkel and instead simply shine a torch at the waters surface.

Yup, definitely like diving it.


^^^A very blurry picture but each of those pink dots/lines is a coral egg moving along the surface, my camera isn’t clever enough to take clear pictures of fast moving objects at night!

Over time we were visited by turtles, squid and lots of different fish all eager to join in with the fun. The reef goes a little crazy during spawning time wiith the eggs being a once a year culinary treat for many ocean residents, so while the coral is orgy-ing the fish are gorging.


Thankfully the storm clouds had stuck to the mountains and so we alternated between watching the water and watching the sky, with two huge thunderstorms on the horizon providing us with our very own light show. There’s something rather wonderful about watching a storm when you’re safe and dry!

We slept well and woke early, eager to beat the crowds to the island for our own private tour. Thankfully Doug is a TNQ expert having been head of Port Douglas tourism for many years and so was the perfect guide for us!


It was stiflingly hot over on the island with the previous nights rain creating a lovely humidity on the wind being blown from the north and the sand burnt the soles of our feet making us do hoppy little dances down the beach. But it was bliss being the only ones there and we enjoyed our Robinson Crusoe moment.



The islands are populated by sea birds and after following some very sweet chirping sounds we discovered that it was baby bird season and the rainforest floor was covered in nests. Mum almost got attacked by a very protective pair of parents and once again I longed for a better lens or camera to help sneak up on the little groups of families!




It was a treat to explore all the little nooks and cranny’s of the island and wave at the live on care taking staff going about their morning business! Obviously we obeyed the signs though, as much as I loved to nose around people’s houses…



An iconic sight on Low Island is it’s lighthouse. One has stood in it’s place since 1876 which in Australian time terms is like a Roman structure that still functions.



I imagine that an hour or so after we were here the area would have been flooded with other picture takers, but we blissfully, had it all to ourselves.


There’s also a very cute little museum (aka a room with old stuff in it) but we didn’t loiter long inside finding that what little breeze we’d had outside made a huge difference to the heat!


If only the humidity hadn’t been quite so choking, although I took enough pictures anyway. I probably didn’t need any more!


With bad weather predicted we couldn’t linger too long and hoping to outrun the storms set sail for home.



Not a bad weekend, eh? Thank you Doug for taking us on such an amazing adventure!



Photo courtesy Jill Beckett

Have you visited Low isles before? What did you think of it, and is it worth a day trip?

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