Lady Elliot Island is a coral cay that is located at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef. The island lies about 85km northeast of Bundaberg and is estimated to cover an area of about 110 acres (45 hectares). This Island is part of the Bunker and Capricorn groups of the Island that are owned by the Commonwealth of Australia. Lady Elliot Island is a home to a small resort and an airstrip that is serviced by daily flights from Hervey Bay, Bundaberg, Gold Coast, and Brisbane. The Island is particularly renowned for its Snorkeling and scuba diving, since it is located offshore at the southern part of the Great Barrier Reef, which has excellent water clarity.
Lady Elliot Island Fauna
The water surrounding Lady Elliot Island is rich in sealife due to total ban imposed on fishing or taking anything from the surrounding waters. These waters are natural habitats for Manta rays, which are attracted to the millions of planktons around the island. In addition, the speckled carpet shark is often observed in the surrounding waters.
Lady Elliot Island is a breeding ground of the Humpback whales. These whales are common in the waters surrounding the islands in the winter and early springs that starts from June to late October. Very many tour companies offer daily flights to the islands. The snorkeling and boats are also available from the Island beaches. During the early spring and winters whale songs can be heard under the water.
The Lady Elliot Island has a higher number of birds than any other islands within the Great Barrier Reef. This island is the home to Capricorn silvereye and buff-banded rail birds. The Lady Elliot Island is also an important seabird-nesting site that has over fifty species of wading and seabirds. Some of the common seabirds include Brown booby, Black noddy, Terns, Red-tailed tropicbird, Lesser frigatebird, Wedge-tailed shearwater, Silver gull and Eastern reef egret.
Lady Elliot Island is a key part of the sea turtle habitat in the Great Barrier Reef. Every year the green and loggerhead turtles are seen lumbering the islands. These turtles nests on this island up to nine times in one season whereby the female lays about 120 eggs per clutch that hatch in about eight to twelve weeks.
Dive Sites in Lady Elliot Island
The Blowhole is a popular destination site located on the eastern side of the island. This site can be accessed through two sites; one is at the top of the reef at about 14 to 16 meters, which is just a short distance from the mooring, second is the main entrance, which is 20 to 25 meters opening on the wall of the reef. The Blowhole is a home to Lion Fish, Wobbegongs, Manta Shrimp and the Gnome Fish.
The Three Pyramids are located a short cruise from the western part of the Island. As the name suggests this dive is named after a cluster of three large coral healds that are also known as Bommies. It is a home to the Cardinals, Anemone Fish, Eagle Raysm and Turtles.
Anchor Bommies and Maori Wrasse Bommie
The Anchor Bommies consist of two ancient Admiralty anchors that rest on the floor of the ocean. Soft and hard corals also cover this area. It is a home to Cleaner Shrimp, Scorpion Fish, Purple Leafy Manta Rays, and the large Shovelled Nosed ray. The Maori Wrasse Bommie is named after a family of wrasse that is also referred to parrot fish. This is a home to the colorful Clown Fish, shy Barramundi Cod and a different Anemone species.
A wide range of reelfish that includes Painted Flutemouth, Titan Trigger Fish, and Sweetlip populates the Hiro’s Cave. This cave is also a home to Gorgonia and Pelagics.
The Gropers grovel is a coral ledge and a bommie that is covered with soft and hard oral. This Grovel is approximately 25 meters deep and located at the northern end of Lady Elliot Island. Gropers grovel is a home to various kinds of marine animals that includes oceanic white tip sharks, as well as many varieties of fish and Anemones.
Weather and Water Temperature
Lady Elliot Island is located in the southern parts of the Great Barrier Reef that have sub tropical weather that comprises of milder summers with less humidity. The water temperatures are around 85 degrees F/ 30 degrees Celsius during the summer and 24 degrees C / 75 degrees F in the winters.