Lizard Island

Sample Itinerary—Great Barrier Reef Connection

Curated exclusively for National Geographic

Get unparalleled access to one of the planet’s most important natural treasures. Encounter the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef by snorkel or scuba; enjoy secluded beaches and sweeping views; and discover the gentle turquoise waters by motorized dinghy, glass-bottomed kayak or paddle board, or on a sunset cruise.

Your experience at the lodge will be tailored to your interests. The sample itinerary below was designed for National Geographic travelers and can be customized as you wish. Some experiences featured in this itinerary incur an additional cost.


  • Cast off from Lizard Island on a sunset cruise, enjoying refreshments and a seafood platter and watching for marine life in the twilight-illuminated waters of the Great Barrier Reef (National Geographic Exclusive).
  • Discover some of the Great Barrier Reef’s most alluring spots, snorkeling amid gardens of giant clams and dazzling ribbon reefs or diving the famous Cod Hole.
  • Take a motorized dinghy to a secluded beach for a prepared picnic lunch and afternoon of private swimming and snorkeling.
  • Go behind the scenes of the Lizard Island Research Station, and learn about the island’s flora and fauna on a naturalist-led hike to a sweeping overlook.

Day 1—Arrive Lizard Island, Australia

Land at Cairns International Airport and take a scenic one-hour flight over the Great Barrier Reef to Lizard Island. Gaze out over the Coral Sea as you eat lunch, and then spend the afternoon getting settled at the resort and relaxing on the beach. Later this afternoon, stroll up to Chinaman’s ridge to enjoy a bottle of bubbly and sunset views over Anchor and Watson’s bay.

Day 2—Private Islet for a Day

After breakfast, set off for a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lizard Island Research Station, a coral reef research facility fun by the Australian Museum. Then cast away on a motorized dinghy to a secluded beach on a private islet, and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch followed by a leisurely afternoon spent swimming and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef.

Day 3—Escape to the Outer Reef

Come face to face with the diverse marine life of the Great Barrier Reef on a day-long diving or snorkeling trip* to the outer reef. Explore the dazzling ribbon reefs that surround Lizard Island, teeming with swirling schools of tropical fish; and plunge into the renowned Cod Hole to get up close to massive potato cod. Enjoy freshly caught seafood for lunch.

Day 4—Beach and Spa Day

This morning, rise early for a yoga and meditation class on the beach, then walk to scenic Watson’s bay. Snorkel from the beach and encounter stunning clam gardens and an array of tropical fish. After lunch, unwind with a signature spa treatment* inspired by nature and influenced by ancient Aboriginal medicine.

Day 5—Swimming the Turtle Highway

Join the lodge’s naturalist on an early trek to Cooks Look. Your reward: sweeping views over the surrounding islands and reef. Return to the lodge for breakfast, then ride a boat to nearby Casuarina Beach, also known as “Turtle Highway.” Snorkel from the beach and, if you’re lucky, swim with sea turtles. This afternoon, explore the bay on a catamaran, glass-bottom kayak, or paddle board. Then cast off from Lizard Island on a sunset cruise, enjoying refreshments and watching for marine life in the twilight-illuminated waters.

Day 6—Depart

Enjoy your final morning at your own pace. Relax by the pool or on the beach, or go snorkeling one last time and bid farewell to the fluorescent fish and majestic coral of the Great Barrier Reef. Depart for the airport mid-day.