3 things to do at Michaelmas Cay

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 02/05/2024

Reading time: 3 mins

Michaelmas Cay is a small sandy cay located northeast of Cairns.

One of the most unique places to explore the Great Barrier Reef is at Michaelmas Cay. It is a tiny sand cay in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by pristine ocean water and coral reefs. Michaelmas Cay is quite secluded, which means you can have lots of time to explore the reef without many other visitors around.

Though Michaelmas Cay is small, it is easy to spend a few hours or even an entire day here. What is there to do there? Here are three recommendations!

1. Go snorkelling or diving

Reef snorkelling

Michaelmas Cay is surrounded by coral reefs, making it a perfect spot for snorkelling or scuba diving. Snorkelling is a great way to skim the ocean surface and view the colourful marine life living amongst the reefs. If you want to get closer to the reefs and marine life, you can also scuba dive here. There is nothing like being surrounded by the magical underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef!

2. View the wildlife

birds in Michaelmas Cay

The cay has an area of under 2 hectares, but there is often plenty of wildlife on the island. There are over 20 species of sea birds that visit the cay. It is a convenient place for migratory birds to stop and relax or fish before continuing on their journey. There is a great chance you’ll see quite a few birds while visiting. Just be sure not to disturb the birds, especially those protecting their eggs or chicks.

There is also plenty of wildlife in the waters surrounding the cay. You will be able to spot a range of reef fish and invertebrates that live in the waters surrounding Michaelmas Cay.

3. Take a scenic boat ride

Boat in Michaelmas Cay

Even if you don’t want to get in the water, you can still visit Michaelmas Cay on a scenic boat ride. Take in the stunning ocean views all around you as you glide across the ocean waters. Once you have taken a scenic boat ride, you can relax on the sands of Michaelmas Cay, or take in your surroundings from the boat.

Because this is a protected area, there are some strict rules when boating. Vessels must not exceed a speed of 6 knots, motorised water sports are not allowed, and there is a restriction on vessel sizes that are allowed to anchor.

Get ready to explore the Great Barrier Reef from the sandy shore of Michaelmas Cay!

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.