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 25 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you don't order items with very short shelf life such as fresh berries and bagged salad leaves because they are often out of date by the time the barge arrives at the island.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.  

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 2 Dec Wed 23 Nov Wed 7 Dec Fri 9 Dec
Fri 16 Dec Wed 7 Dec Wed 21 Dec Fri 23 Dec


The schedule for 2017 has not yet been confirmed but it is likely that it will continue as above without interruption. 

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 Coles Online and select Log in/ Sign up on the right hand side. At the bottom, select 'sign up'.
  • Enter your details then continue. If you do not have a phone number that will work in Australia, use the LIRS number, 07 40603977.
  • This bit is very important. A street address is required to proceed but Lizard Island does not have any street addresses and the Coles site will not accept an invented address. An actual remote address is needed to trigger the option for remote delivery, so as a short-term workaround, you need to enter 6 Airport Road, Horn Island, 4875, QLD. Trust me. In 'Give this address a name' enter 'Lizard Island Research Station'. This is really for your info only, it is not seen by the people packing your order in Cairns. 
  • On the next page, verify the Horn Island address that you just entered.
  • A pop-up window will say that your account has been created and that both remote delivery and click & collect are available. 
  • Do your shopping, then select 'Choose a delivery time' from the panel on the right. 
  • Select the remote delivery option for Lizard Island Research Station at Horn Island. If you don't get that option, you haven't set up the address properly so you need to go back and fix it. 
  • Choose Seaswift as the delivery provider (not followed by Endeavour Bay or Kestrel Bay).
  • Select the correct delivery date (i.e. the date the barge loads in Cairns in the table above) in the left column and remote delivery in the right column (i.e. $20, Seaswift).
  • Select 'Trolley and checkout' on the right, review your order then proceed to checkout.
  • In 'Delivery instructions', it is extremely important to enter Lizard Island Research Station. This is the only way they know to send it to Lizard Island instead of Horn Island, and so it doesn't get mixed up with the Resort's things when it gets to the right island. In this box, you can also add: "If my credit card fails to authorise, please contact Anne Hoggett at LIRS on 07 4060 3977".
  • Pay by credit card. 
  • Until we get the address details sorted out properly, Coles has asked that all accounts for LIRS delivery include the secondary email address colesonlineprioritysupport@coles.com.au. That can't be done through the Coles web site so you need to call Customer Support on 1800 455 400 and ask them to do it for you. The 1800 number only works within Australia. If you are overseas, send your Coles account details to LIRS and we will call them for you.

To put the correct address into an existing Coles account

  • Go to Coles Online and log in.
  • On the right hand side, select your name then go to your saved addresses and select Add a new address.
  • Follow the instructions for new accounts above to enter the Horn Island address.
  • When that is done, delete any old address for LIRS or Seaswift. 
  • When checking out, follow the procedure above for new accounts - be sure to enter Lizard Island Research Station into the delivery instructions box so that your food does not go to Horn Island or to the Lizard Island Resort. 

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.

  • Set up your own account on the Dan Murphy’s site.
  • Go shopping; while shopping, set your store as Earlville, Qld (postcode 4870).
  • Go to Checkout.
  • Choose “Click & Collect” (NOT “Delivery”).
  • Under Collection details, select “Someone else is collecting this order” then enter
    - First Name - Cairns Best Freight
    - Last Name - Your own first and last names
    - Phone - give your own number so they can contact you if necessary, or give the LIRS number 07 40603977 if you will not be contactable
    - and agree that the person collecting it is over 18.
  • Under Collection store, Earlville should already be entered. Then “Pick a date” and set it as the date the barge loads in Cairns as in the table above. Do not request that items are chilled at pickup.
  • 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.
  • Make the required agreements and pay by card.


Last Updated: