Ordering Food

Details about ordering food and having it delivered by barge.

How to get food to Lizard Island

Food is ordered in Cairns and delivered to Lizard Island by barge every two weeks. You can bring small quantities with you as baggage from Cairns but you must stay within the baggage limit of 32 kg per person, which includes cabin baggage.

The following instructions apply only to people who are staying at Lizard Island Research Station. Because the barge is chartered by the Lizard Island Resort, other island visitors need permission from the Resort to send anything on the barge. 

Barge freight

Ordering hints

Space for refrigerator and freezer storage is limited and your ordering should take this into account.

  • Order only enough food to last for the period from your arrival to the day the next barge arrives. You should aim to have an almost-empty fridge and freezer by the time barge day comes around.
  • Limit bulky items that need refrigeration.
  • Think about how much bread you really need - almost everyone orders too much.

Timing of orders

The barge schedule normally loads in Cairns every second Wednesday and arrives at Lizard Island two days later. The schedule is shown below. 

Send orders to the suppliers within the period listed in the schedule below. Note that the latest time for submitting orders is 10 pm on the Friday before the barge loads. You can change an accepted order up to 10 pm on the Saturday before the barge loads. Coles Online does not open for orders until two weeks before the delivery date. 

Some visitors will need to send orders for two barges before they arrive at the Research Station.

Barge schedule

Orders to Coles before 10 pm on  But not before Barge loads in Cairns Barge arrives at Lizard Island
Fri 13 February Wed 4 February Wed 18 February Fri 20 February
Fri 27 February Wed 18 February Wed 4 March Fri 6 March
Fri 13 March Wed 4 March Wed 18 March Fri 20 March
Fri 27 March* Wed 18 March* Wed 1 April* Fri 3 April*
ri 10 April Wed 1 April Wed 15 April Fri 17 April
Fri 24 April Wed 15 April Wed 29 April Fri 1 May
Fri 8 May Wed 29 April Wed 13 May Fri 15 May
Fri 22 May Wed 13 May Wed 27 May Fri 29 May
Fri 5 June Wed 27 May Wed 10 June Fri 12 June
Fri 19 June Wed 10 June Wed 24 June Fri 26 June
Fri 3 July Wed 24 June Wed 8 July Fri 10 July
Fri 17 July Wed 8 July Wed 22 July Fri 24 July
Fri 31 July Wed 22 July Wed 5 August Fri 7 August
Fri 14 August Wed 5 August Wed 19 August Fri 21 August
Fri 28 August Wed 19 August Wed 2 September Fri 4 September
Fri 11 September Wed 2 September Wed 16 September Fri 18 September
Fri 25 September Wed 16 September Wed 30 September Fri 2 October
Fri 9 October Wed 30 September Wed 14 October Fri 16 October
Fri 23 October Wed 14 October Wed 28 October Fri 30 October
Fri 6 November Wed 28 October Wed 11 November Fri 13 November
Fri 20 November Wed 11 November Wed 25 November Fri 27 November
Fri 4 December Wed 25 November Wed 9 December Fri 11 December


The Easter public holidays will likely affect this barge run by a day or two. The actual dates will not be known until very close to the time.

The final barge for 2015 is scheduled for 25 December but that will not happen as it is the Christmas public holiday. There will probably be a barge earlier in the Christmas week but the actual dates will not be known until very close to the time. 

Supplier options

  • Groceries, including fresh fruit and vegetables - order directly through Coles Online.
  • Alcoholic drinks – order online from Dan Murphy’s.
  • Any type of supplies - order directly through the specialist shopping service, Cairns Link.  
  • Details on how to order are provided below.

Coles Online

Food must be ordered through Coles Online. There is a $20 fee for the service irrespective of the order value. Alcoholic drinks cannot be ordered online in Queensland by law. Reference to such supply on the site applies only to other states.

There are two ways to use this site.

1) Create or use your own account with Coles Online

This is probably the best option for people who will be working at LIRS for many months or making numerous trips over a period of years. Your account will contain your own list of everything you've ever ordered which makes shopping much easier. You will have to pay online by credit card if you use your own account. 

To start a new account, go to the Coles Online home page and choose option 1 "Tell us your location and get started". Start typing "Lizard Island" and "Lizard Island, 4875" should autofill. Enter it, then hit the "Check" button. Follow steps (a) to (f) below.

To put the correct address into your existing Coles account, log in then hit go to the home page by hitting the Coles logo.Your current delivery address is shown near top left. Hit the nearby link to "Change address". On the window that pops up, choose "Change location". In the next pop-up, start typing "Lizard Island" and "Lizard Island, 4875" should autofill. Enter it, then hit the "Check" button. Follow steps (a) to (f) below.

a) You should see "Options for Lizard Island, 4875" and a list of buttons under "Remote delivery". Hit the button for "Deliver via Sea Swift" (not for Sea Swift Endeavour Bay or Kestrel Bay). 

b) Now do your shopping and go to checkout.

c) The Delivery Details page pops up and the correct address should already be entered, i.e. "Remote delivery via Sea Swift, *** Tingira Street Portsmith". In the box below, please enter "Lizard Island Research Station". This helps ensure that your food winds up at LIRS rather than at the resort or some other island.  

d) In the How Can We Contact You section, enter your name and email address. You can use the LIRS phone number if you wish (07 4060 3977) because they will not be able to contact you on your mobile at Lizard Island. 

e) Enter the correct delivery date as in the schedule above. Take the only available time option, 1 to 5 am.  

f) Keep note of your order number. You will be emailed a copy of your order by Coles as soon as you have checked out.

2) Use one of the LIRS accounts with Coles Online

This is probably the best option for people who visit LIRS infrequently. It allows you to make your first order more quickly than if you set up your own account. Instead of sorting through many thousands of items, you can choose from a master list containing items that have been ordered by other LIRS visitors. With this option, you have the choice of paying with your credit card or charging to the LIRS account with Coles.

LIRS has three visitor accounts. If more than three groups want to use a LIRS account for any barge, the same account will be used by two or more groups. Only one person can shop at a time in each account and there can be problems with access close to the cut-off time. Also, drop-outs occur if someone is shopping and another person tries to log in.

a) Email LIRS about two weeks before the relevant barge loads in Cairns and request a user name and password for that period.

b) Go to the Coles Online home page and log in with the details provided by LIRS. This should take you to an empty trolley unless someone else is currently using the account or has left stuff in the trolley contrary to instructions.

c) If the trolley is empty, hit "Return to home" at top right. The home page should now show the correct delivery address at top left: "Deliver to: via Sea Swift *** Tingira Street Portsmith". The page has three columns from which you can start shopping. The left hand column contains the last three orders made through the account. It may include one or more that has already been done by someone else for the same barge as you - don't touch those! If you ordered through this account for the previous barge, you should be able to retrieve and edit that order. The middle column "My Usuals" contains everything bought by everyone who has used this account before. The right hand column "My Shopping List" works pretty well to find things. 

c) If the trolley is not empty, someone else is using the account. Log out then wait for an hour and try again. If it's still in use then, contact LIRS to find out who else is using it and when it will become available. The other person may lose their connection to the site but s/he should log in again, finish shopping and check out as soon as possible. 

d) When you have finished shopping, go to checkout. DO NOT just leave items in the trolley and log out. If you do, other LIRS visitors won't be able to do their shopping (unless they empty your trolley which would be very inconvenient for you). After checking out, you can change your order later if necessary up to the Saturday before delivery.

e) On the Delivery Details page, the correct address should already be entered (i.e. Remote delivery via Sea Swift *** Tingira Street Portsmith"). In the box below, please enter Lizard Island Research Station. This helps ensure that your food winds up at LIRS rather than at the resort or some other island. 

f) Select the relevant delivery date - check the schedule above - and take the only available time option, 1 to 5 am.

g) Then you can choose to pay by credit card or to charge your order to the LIRS customer account. If you select the LIRS account, you agree to the conditions outlined below.

h) Keep note of your order number. After checkout, Coles will email a copy of your order to LIRS and we will forward that email to you.

i) In these shared accounts, your orders will be accessible to other LIRS visitors and vice versa. The account details will also be visible to you and could be changed by you. Everyone's trust and good will is necessary to make the shared accounts work. By changing the password every two weeks and issuing it to individuals only on request, we know who is using which account each fortnight. Please do not open or change anyone else's orders and do not change the account details. If there are any problems with security of the accounts, they will be closed and everyone will have to set up their own. 

Coles Online helpline is available on 1800 455 400, 6 am to 10.30 pm Monday to Friday, 7 am to 6.30 pm Saturday and 10 am to 8 pm Sunday.

Cairns Link

Cairns Link is a small business that will do any shopping you require in Cairns. Cairns Link charges a service fee of $50 or 15% of the order value, whichever is greater. You can pay Cairns Link directly by credit card, or charge your order to the LIRS account and reimburse LIRS later. Please email LIRS in advance if you want to use the account.

Cairns Link
PO Box 215H
Edge Hill, Qld. 4870
Phone: (07) 4053-7792
Fax : (07) 4053-7792

Dan Murphy’s

You can order wine, beer and spirits online. It is really important to follow the instructions below to ensure that your order makes it onto the pallet that will be delivered to Sea Swift at the correct time for the barge. Deadline for Dan Murphy’s orders is 5 pm Monday in the week that the barge arrives but it’s a good idea to do it earlier, at the same time as the Coles order.

  1. Set up your own account on the Dan Murphy’s site.
  2. Go shopping; while shopping, set your store as Earlville, Qld (postcode 4870)
  3. Go to Checkout
  4. Choose “Click & Collect” (NOT “Delivery”)
  5. Under Collection details, select “Someone else is collecting this order” then enter
    - First Name Cairns Best Freight
    - Last Name for <Your own first and last names>
    - Mobile number 0417761159 (which is the number for the courier)
    and agree that the person collecting it is over 18.
  6. Under Collection store, Earlville should already be entered. Then “Pick a date” and set it as the delivery date to Sea Swift as in the table above. Do not request that items are chilled at pickup.
  7. Set your billing address as Lizard Island Research Station, PMB 37, Cairns, 4870 – this is important as it is the only way that they know to send it to Lizard Island.
  8. Make the required agreements and pay by card.


When you pay for your supplies by credit card directly to the supplier, you will be charged the amount shown on the final docket. This may not be exactly the same price as shown online when you checked out because actual prices for some things (such as food sold by weight) can only be determined after your order has been shopped.

If you charge your orders to the Station's accounts with Coles Online or with Cairns Link, payment must be made at the Station before you leave or at monthly intervals for long-term visitors. If you repay the Station for your food by cash, cheque or by EFT, the amount owing is exactly as charged by Coles and Cairns Link. However, if you pay the Station by credit card, you will be charged a fee to cover credit card merchant fees. Using the LIRS accounts carries an obligation to pay the Station promptly for expenses incurred on your behalf, regardless of any disputes you may have with the suppliers.

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