Ordering Food & Barge Schedule

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

How is food sent on the barge?

The regular suppliers (Coles and Cairns Link) will pack your food into boxes labelled with your name and one of three storage categories: freezer, chiller, or ambient. Each box will be stored appropriately on the barge and when it arrives at LIRS. All bread, fresh milk, and meat will be sent frozen rather than chilled. Coles will only pack your food in this way if you have set up the delivery address correctly (see Coles Online section below).

All boxes are at ambient temperature during transit between the store and the barge yard in Cairns, and again when being transported across the island on arrival. But this is kept to a minimum and even ice cream usually arrives just fine.

Ordering hints

Most fruit and vegetables survive the journey well and many last for the full two weeks, including lettuce and tomatoes. However, we suggest that you don't order items with very short shelf life such as fresh berries and bagged salad leaves because they are often out of date by the time the barge arrives at the island. Bananas usually arrive a bit bruised and they are best eaten in the first week of the two-week barge cycle. 

While there is substantial refrigerator and freezer storage space at LIRS, it does have a limit and your ordering should take that 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. And think about how much bread you really need - almost everyone orders too much.

A long-standing tradition is for everyone at LIRS to have a beach barbecue every Saturday night. This is a bring-your-own-everything event. Please order some suitable food if you'll be at LIRS on a Saturday night.

Timing of orders

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

Send orders to the suppliers within the period listed in the schedule. 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 LIRS. An email reminder will be sent to the trip arranger, giving one week's notice to submit your order.

Barge schedule 2016

Orders to Coles before 10 pm on  But not before Barge loads in Cairns Barge arrives at Lizard Island
Fri 29 Jul Wed 20 Jul Wed 3 Aug

Fri 5 Aug

Fri 12 Aug Wed 3 Aug Wed 17 Aug Fri 19 Aug
Fri 26 Aug Wed 17 Aug Wed 31 Aug Fri 2 Sep
Fri 9 Sep Wed 31 Aug Wed 14 Sep Fri 16 Sep
Fri 23 Sep Wed 14 Sep Wed 28 Sep Fri 30 Sep
Fri 7 Oct Wed 28 Sep Wed 12 Oct Fri 14 Oct
Fri 21 Oct Wed 12 Oct Wed 26 Oct Fri 28 Oct
Fri 4 Nov Wed 26 Oct Wed 9 Nov Fri 11 Nov
Fri 18 Nov Wed 9 Nov Wed 23 Nov Fri 25 Nov
Fri 2 Dec Wed 23 Nov Wed 7 Dec Fri 9 Dec
Fri 16 Dec Wed 7 Dec Wed 21 Dec Fri 23 Dec


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. 

You will need to set up your own account and pay by credit card.

To start a new account, go to the Coles Online home page and hit the Register button at top right. In "Suburb and postcode", start typing "Lizard Island" and "Lizard Island, 4875" should autofill. Follow steps (a) to (f) below.

To put the correct address into your existing Coles account, log in then go to the home page by hitting the Coles logo. Your current delivery address is shown near top left. Use 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". Select "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 under that, please enter "<Your name>, 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. Use the LIRS phone number (07 4060 3977) because they may not be able to contact you on your mobile at Lizard Island.

e) Enter the correct delivery date as in the schedule above and select the only available time option, 1 to 5 am. If you don’t get the option of 1 to 5 am, the address is NOT set up correctly and your order will not be delivered correctly, or at all. Follow the instructions above again and if you still can’t get the correct time option, contact LIRS for assistance.

f) Pay by credit card.

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 must pay Cairns Link directly by credit card.

Cairns Link
PO Box 215H
Edge Hill, Qld. 4870
Phone: (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.


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