- Have you ever thought about living on an island? Swimming with Nemo, or maybe with some giant friendly turtles and giving them a pad on the back? And no, we won't count Hawaii, as probably everyone has thought about living in there at some point of their lives. This is about an small island in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, half an hour flight from Hervey Bay and 1,5hrs from Gold Coast or Brisbane. Lady Elliot Island is a heaven to visit… Island, which has everything from turtles and exceptional marine life to a lighthouse and a beautiful coral cay beach. On a 45 minute night walk around the island you might get scared due to the birds that sounds like dozen crying babies deep in the forest or maybe someone pinches your toe, thanks to a strawberry crab which you get to see on the beach as well… So take your shoes with ya. This is an experience of a lifetime!
Working on Lady Elliot Island…
For me it was a dream come true on the New Years Day 2015, 1st of January, when I got a call from Lady Elliot Island. They wanted me to join their housekeeping team, hard work in the best possible work environment ever. As backpacker, I had no clue where this place was or that it would even real. Driving with a buggy all day long, cleaning suites, reef units, garden units and some eco cabins, this was a rewarding and educating experince. In a 40 degree heat we slayed rooms as best as we could, the team spirit was on top as we always got help if it seemed like it was something what we needed.
As one of the best places I have ever got a chance to visit and work, it was not all just work. We had plenty of free time to do what ever we wanted. Running, snorkeling, free diving, diving, having few sunset drinks and parties in our boatshed (that we eventually turned into a disco with lights and hmm, with hilarious dance shows which some people got excited to perform). LEI had also the amazing priviledge for the best chefs in the whole Australia and they managed to bring such a tasty meals for both guests and staff… every morning, every night.
Everyone is equal!
This is a watersport destination, where everyone gets a change to enjoy the rich marine life that Lady Elliot has offer, thank you for the location on one of the only Green zones in Australia. No matter what age, nationality or swimming skills, you are guaranteed to see a turtle at least once while being there. It doesn't matter if you are there for a day trip or a week, it will be the most magical experience of your life. As coming from Finland, I didn't have much experience from snorkeling, but since living on an island I fell in love with free diving and filling my days with diving through the tens of coral tunnels with fish around me was not just an unique experience but it brought me so much joy which I still have in my heart when I think about my life in two years back.
What is a Green Zone?
As a Green zone Lady Elliot is working completely with sustainable energy, recycling all the waste and getting the energy mainly from solar power. It is also forbidden to fish near the island or not closer than 17km from it. This is why it's possible to have such a rich marine life as the fish don't have anything to be affraid of and they will get a chance to a peacefull life without the need to avoid fishing nets.
Is this only a summer destination?
The peak season runs from December 'till February, when the water is nice and warm but as the winter comes you will get to see whales, dolphins and manta rays and this is also why a lot of people will time their visit for the whale season. If you're not diver and wanting to visit during the summer season, don't worry as you will still land on the turtle season where you will be able to release turtle hatclings with the professional and qualified activities staff. As I arrived on Lady Elliot for the turtle season, I was able to touch, able to release and able to learn so much about turtles and their life circle as well as the unfortunate facts. I saw turtles everyday and as a symbol of luck, I now have them as my favourite animal and one tattooed, which reminds me of this amazing experience.
What you will get from Lady Elliot will change your life…
Friendly staff who loves their home, education about marine life and it's habitants, unforgettable adventures under the surface, beautiful and spectacular sunsets that vary every night and the amazing night sky that you wont see in anywhere else. This is the perfect off from the beaten ''east coast'' track experience, which you will ever get a chance to do and you will leave with memories and experiences richer than the most wealthy person in the world. Not to forget, you wont be scared of sharks anymore, promise!
How do I get there?
You are able to book a trip from everywhere, online or any hostel/ hotel. Your journey to the island will come to an reality when you step on a small plane with approximately 10 to 14 other people. You will take off, and when you are about to land the pilot will take the plane for a little spin on top of the island, to give the guests the opportunity for photos and sightseeing. Maybe you will even see manta rays or whales from up above? The most exciting flight will have it's ending when you land on a 650m airstrip that goes from the other end of the island to the other, situated straigt in the middle and covered with grass. Price for one day trip would be around 650$ and the cheapest accommodation would start from 250$/ a night. Are you ready for it?
More information you can find from Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort website!