Upolu Cay and Reef

  • Upolu Cay Location -Latitude 16.67209 Longitude 145.93348
  • Access: by boat and helicopter
  • Depth Range: 1-10 metres
  • Visibility: 8-20 metres
  • Size: 115.3 metres

Upolu Cay and Reef are located 30 kilometres northeast of Cairns.  This sand cay and Reef are within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

This site is considered an inner Reef location.

This site is famous for coral viewing.  This 1,200-ha middle-shelf Reef, about 30 km out of Cairns, offers a range of highlights on the western side’s sandy clay, but they improve toward the northeastern section, and overall there is moderate coral cover.

This site is genuinely picturesque for Boaties looking for a picnic location for a snorkel.  Families with young children love this playing on the beach and in the crystal clear waters surrounding this sand cay.

This area allows fishing and is popular on the weekends.

While in North Queensland, consider a helicopter flight with a  picnic lunch on a sand cay.

Marine life

Several small coral bommies are located in this sand cay’s shallow waters.    Visitors to Upolu Cay can see giant clams, clownfish, and even whitetip reef sharks along the coral reef.

There are no rubbish bins on this cay.  Please be sure to take all your rubbish with you when you leave.

Upolu Cay and Reef Map

FAQs about Upolu Cay

Q: What is Upolu Cay?

A. Upolu Cay is a small, sandy coral cay located in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, off the coast of Queensland, Australia. It is renowned for its stunning beauty, vibrant marine life, and its popularity among snorkelers and divers.

Q: What activities can I enjoy at Upolu Cay?

A. Upolu Cay offers fantastic opportunities for snorkelling, scuba diving, and swimming. The crystal-clear waters surrounding the cay are home to diverse marine species and colourful coral formations. It’s an ideal spot for observing marine life up close.

Q: Do I need to be an experienced swimmer to visit Upolu Cay?

A. While some water-related activities like snorkelling and swimming are popular at Upolu Cay, you don’t necessarily need to be an experienced swimmer. Life jackets and snorkeling equipment are often provided during guided tours, making it accessible for individuals with varying levels of swimming proficiency.

Q: Is Upolu Cay suitable for families with children?

A. Yes, Upolu Cay can be suitable for families with children. Many tour operators offer family-friendly options, and the shallow, clear waters around the cay provide a safe environment for kids to enjoy snorkelling and swimming under proper supervision.

Q: Are there facilities on Upolu Cay?

A. Upolu Cay itself is a small sand cay with no facilities. However, guided tours typically provide amenities such as snorkelling gear, refreshments, and guides who offer information about the marine ecosystem.

Q: Can I visit Upolu Cay independently, or do I need to join a tour?

A. Visiting Upolu Cay usually requires booking a guided tour. Due to its location within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, tour operators help manage visitor numbers and minimize the impact on the fragile ecosystem.

Q: Is there a limit to the number of visitors on Upolu Cay?

A. Yes, regulations are in place to manage the number of visitors to Upolu Cay at any time. These regulations help protect the delicate coral and marine life surrounding the cay.

Q: What is the best time to visit Upolu Cay?

A. The best time to visit is during the dry season in Australia, typically from April to November. During these months, you can expect calmer seas, better visibility for snorkelling and diving, and a generally more comfortable climate.

Q: Is Upolu Cay affected by coral bleaching?

A. Like many parts of the Great Barrier Reef, Upolu Cay can be affected by coral bleaching events, primarily caused by rising sea temperatures. It’s advisable to check with local authorities or tour operators for the most up-to-date information on the current state of the reef before planning a visit.

Nearby Reefs include