Reef and Island Destinations
Immerse yourself in nature
Sailaway is privileged to have access to some of the most beautiful reef sites on the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is carefully managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and access is limited to ensure these reef systems remain sustainable. Each reef destination requires a permit to allow an operator to take visitors to enjoy the activities of snorkelling and diving and appreciate this fragile environment.
Sailaway is recognised as a High Standard ECO Tourism operator and contributes to research as part of GBRMPA “Eye on the Reef” monitoring programme. Sailaway was first accredited “Climate Action Leader” by Eco Tourism Australia and Nationally Awarded for best practices and sustainability.
Sailaway operates daily to Low Isles, a Coral Cay Island and to the Outer Reefs at Mackay Coral Cay and Sunset Sailing within the marine park.
Share the passion
Sailaway has dedicated qualified Marine Biologists who share their passion and knowledge of the fragile and dynamic reef system. We offer expert guiding with snorkel tours, glass bottom boat tours and interesting Reef Interpretation Talks.
Our reef sites are perfectly suited to snorkellers. We focus on small groups with the freedom of snorkelling to allow exploration of the reef at your own pace. Our sites are shallow with easy access and un-restricted areas to explore.
LOW ISLES – an idyllic Coral Cay Island
Low Isles is an idyllic Coral Cay island. The reef around Low Isles comprises 150 species of hard corals and is dominated by 15 species of soft corals. Living amongst the corals in the blue lagoon are a large variety of reef fish including angel fish, damsel fish, anemones, giant trevally, sweetlip, fusiliers and many green turtles are sighted daily.
A number of bird species reside on the island. You may encounter pelicans, honey-eaters, white-breasted wood swallows, mangrove kingfishers, reef egrets and with eagles and ospreys wheeling overhead.
This beautiful island is steeped in history. The lighthouse was built in 1878 and was staffed by lighthouse keepers until it became automated in 1993. Weather data has been collected on the island since 1887 and scientific associations date back to 1928 when it was the base for a yearlong scientific survey which studied the structure and ecology of the surrounding reef. This was this first detailed study of a coral reef anywhere in the world and many current theories or coral reef are based on the findings of this expedition.
Guests of Sailaway have the opportunity to snorkel in the lagoon of the island with our marine biologist who guide them on an interesting and informative Guided snorkel tour.
Low Isles History
On Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef, the Low Isles (Islets) are 2 small coral cays located 13 kilometres from Port Douglas.
They are situated on the western edge of the main shipping channel. One is known as Low Isles and the other as Woody Island. Woody is a protected area.
Low Isles is steeped in History, here are some images of island life dating back to 1928 with the Research Expedition, the Light House Keepers families who lived on the island and other interesting characters that make up an interesting story on this idyllic tropical island.
Mackay Coral Cay
Immersed in the northern frontier of Great Barrier Reef, this is the perfect sailing and snorkelling adventure for a conservation minded visitor. Ideally suited to those who can swim and have a spirit of fun and adventure.
Situated approximately 28 miles north of Port Douglas, these two Outer Reef Locations are simply stunning. The Coral Cays are pure white sand surrounded by a large fringing reef system and crystal clear water. The vessel moors on the sheltered side of the reef for protection and easy snorkelling.
Sailaway is the only operator from Port Douglas who has access to visit Mackay Coral Cay. This exclusivity means we have the area to ourselves to explore without restrictions.
The reef is vast with unlimited options for exploring the shallow coral gardens. You will see an amazing display of Giant clams. These beautiful clams are scattered all over the reef top, some up to 1.5 meters in length being almost 80 years old. The colours are incredible.
The reef is alive with a large variety of reef fish such as parrot fish, angel fish, sharks, anthias, Maori Wrasse, butterfly fish, coral trout, and anemone fish hiding in their colourful anemones’.
Green Turtles are abundant and sighted daily. The turtles are beautiful gentle creatures and if you keep your distance, they will happily continue to feed and rest while you watch.
The coral gardens are alive with plate corals, staghorn corals, boulder corals, soft sponges and anemones.
Snorkelling is conducted off the back of the vessel and you find yourself right on top of the coral gardens.
To participate in snorkelling you must have sound swimming ability. The snorkelling area is shallow so you can see the corals and fish easily, but you are unable to stand so you must be able to swim.
Our experienced guides can teach you the correct use of equipment and snorkelling techniques.
Discover Sailaway's Reef Destinations
MACKAY CORAL CAY
The Coral Cays are pure white sand surrounded by a large fringing reef system and crystal clear water.
Sailaway is the only operator from Port Douglas who has access to visit Mackay Coral Cays. This exclusivity means we have the area to ourselves to explore without restrictions.
Low Isles is an idyllic Coral Cay island. The reef around Low Isles comprises 150 species of hard corals and is dominated by 15 species of soft corals.
Guests of Sailaway have the opportunity to snorkel in the lagoon of the island with our marine biologist, offering an interesting and informative tour.
Enjoy the thrill of pure sailing. A must do when visiting Port Douglas is to relax with an exhilarating cruise on board this first class sailing catamaran.
Soak up the peace and tranquillity of a tropical sunset over the Coral Sea as you sail along the coast off Far North Queensland.
Sailaway Loyalty Club
Receive 10% discount on your second Sailaway experience - simply contact our friendly reservations team to book. Conditions apply.