Michaelmas Cay (Lattitude 16° 36′ 15.84” S, Longitude 145° 58′ 27.228” E), 43 km north-east of Cairns, is a small reef sand island that perches on the western tip of Michaelmas Reef. This 1.5 hectare island on a coral reef is covered in vegetation and rises 3.5 metres above sea level. In contrast to other reefs, Michaelmas Cay offers divers a wonderful safe haven where they can enjoy beautiful coral gardens and clear, calm water that is suitable for both snorkelling and diving. The sandy lagoon is wind protected in all weather conditions, and the coral gardens are easily accessible from the beach.
The island is surrounded by coral gardens and numerous coral heads, providing an array of diving and snorkelling opportunities in depths ranging from 6 meters to 20 meters. One of the most popular dive sites at Michaelmas Reef is Banana Bommie, known for its sightings of reef sharks, pelagic fish and even manta rays. But perhaps the best diving and snorkelling can be found right next to the coral cay, where divers will encounter stingrays, gropers, reef sharks and resting turtles while swimming between the coral heads.
As the fifth-largest seabird colony on the Great Barrier Reef, Michaelmas Cay is known for its protected seabird sanctuary, which is home to 27 000 migratory birds from 38 species, including 3 woodland and 35 seabird species. This is a haven for any nature lover and one of the most significant nesting locations in the Southern Hemisphere. The centre portion of the Cay is covered by vegetation.
- Sea turtles
- Giant clams
- Reef sharks