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Information 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 address correctly for "remote delivery" (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you don't order items with very short shelf life such as fresh berries and bagged salad leaves because they are often out of date by the time the barge arrives at the island.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 Tuesday and arrives at Lizard Island two days later. 

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 Thursday 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 2019

Orders to Coles before 10 pm on  But not before Barge loads in Cairns Barge arrives at Lizard Island
Thu 10 Jan Tue 1 Jan Tue 15 Jan Thu 17 Jan
No barge end Jan No barge end Jan No barge end Jan No barge end Jan
Thu 7 Feb Tue 29 Jan Tue 12 Feb Thu 14 Feb
Thu 21 Feb Tue 12 Feb Tue 26 Feb Thu 28 Feb
Thu 7 Mar Tue 26 Feb Tue 12 Mar Thu 14 Mar
Thu 21 Mar Tue 12 Mar Tue 26 Mar Thu 28 Mar
Thu 4 Apr Tue 26 Mar Tue 9 Apr Thu 11 Apr
Thu 18 Apr* Tue 9 Apr* Tue 23 Apr* Thu 25 Apr*
Thu 2 May** Thu 25 Apr** Tue 7 May** Thu 9 May*
Thu 16 May Tue 7 May Tue 21 May Thu 23 May
Thu 30 May Tue 21 May Tue 4 Jun Thu 6 Jun
Thu 13 Jun Tue 4 Jun Tue 18 Jun Thu 20 Jun
Thu 27 Jun Tue 18 Jun Tue 2 Jul Thu 4 Jul

* The barge in late April is likely to deviate from the dates shown here due to public holidays fro Easter and Anzac Day (25 April)

** The ordering date and delivery date for early May may need to be a bit earlier due to a public holiday i Mon 6 May. It should not affect the barge arrival date at Lizard Island.

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 $30 fee for the service irrespective of the order value. 

You will need to set up your own account with Coles and pay by credit card. It is critical to set up the delivery address correctly. Because LIRS does not have a standard street address, setting up its address for the Coles account can't be done in the normal way. You will need to contact Coles Customer Care to have them put in the geocode for LIRS as explained below. 

Up to August 2017, we could use a bodgy address such as 1 Research Street, Lizard Island, Qld, 4871. An address similar to that will still work as long as it includes Lizard Island and 4871. However, such an address can no longer be entered by users - Coles has to do it for you - see below.

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. 
  • For the address, enter any real address in Australia. For example, you could use 115 Abbott Street, Cairns, QLD, 4870 which is Cairns Post Office. This is just to enable the system to create an account - the address will be changed later. In the field "Give this address a name", enter something like "Bodgy address for Lizard Island" - this is known as the nickname by Coles. In "Who can we contact?", enter your own details. You can enter the LIRS phone number 0740603977 if you don't have an Australian phone number. 
  • Verify that the address you entered is correct and continue. You should get a screen that confirms your account has been set up.
  • Now send an email to Online.CustomerCare@coles.com.au to have the address changed. So that they can find the correct account, provide them with your name, the email address and the phone number that you used to set up the account. Explain that the real delivery address is remote and cannot be entered by you. Ask them to enter the address Lizard Island Research Station, Lizard Island, Qld, 4871 along with its coordinates which they can look up. Also ask for the nickname to be changed to LIRS <your name>. The nickname is important because it's printed on the box labels and this helps with sorting the boxes at LIRS.
  • Just so you know, the postcode 4871 is not the correct postcode for Lizard Island. It is one assigned by Coles to indicate remote delivery. It is essential that the postcode for the delivery address is 4871. 
  • It will take 2 to 5 days for Coles Customer Care to process your request. 
  • If you already have an account but don't have an address entered with postcode 4871, contact Customer Care as above to enter the new address. 

Checking out and selecting the correct delivery option:

  • Do your shopping, then select 'Choose a delivery time' from the panel on the right. 
  • Select 'View remote delivery options' for the address with postcode 4871.
  • From the large number of delivery provider options, scroll down and choose "Seaswift Lizard Island".
  • Select the correct delivery date (i.e. the date the barge loads in Cairns in the table above, must be the correct Tuesday and the only time option available should be 1 to 5 am).
  • To the right of the list of dates, there are two delivery options that often confuse people. Select "Remote delivery via Sea Swift, Portsmith, QLD, 4870, 1 to 5 am, $30". The other option, Delivery, should appear as " not available for Lizard Island".  
  • 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 LIRS and not the Resort. You can also add here "If my credit card fails to authorise, please contact Anne Hoggett at LIRS on 07 4060 3977". 
  • Pay by credit card. 
  • Coles will send confirmation of your order by email.
  • If you have difficulty settting up your account or checking out, call  Coles Customer Care on 1800 455 400 from within Australia. Contact Anne at LIRS if you are outside of Australia.

In summary, there are two addresses involved in making an order. You set up only one of them in your account: that is the ultimate delivery address which is Lizard Island with the all-important postcode of 4871. When you check out, you need to select that ultimate delivery address and then select the correct pre-set delivery provider, which is Seaswift Lizard Island at Tingira Street, Portsmith with postcode 4870.

Your order confirmation on the Coles site should look like this:



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 10 pm Sunday 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 “Pick up” (NOT “Delivery”).
  • Under "2. When will you pick up your order", select the third option "Pick a date" and select the appropriate Tuesday.
  • Still in that section, scroll down to "Who will be collecting" and enter First name: "Lizard Island Research Station" and Last name: your own first and last names. < This step is critical to ensure that your order gets to Lizard Island. Enter your own phone number so they can contact you if necessary, or give the LIRS number 07 40603977 if you will not be contactable.
  • Under "3. Enter your billing details", enter an address just to complete the form. It can be your own (Australian) address or that of LIRS (PMB 37 Cairns Qld 4870). The important part for delivery is in the previous section. Don't tick the box for business customer. 
  • Under "4. Payment", make the required agreement and pay by card or Paypal.
  • You will get confirmation and a tax invoice straight away by email. 
  • Some time later, you will get an email or text message advising that your order is ready to be picked up. You can ignore it. Your order will be delivered to Sea Swift without any further action by you. 
  • If you need to change your order or have any queries, call the 1300 customer service number on the Dan Murphy's web site. They can make changes over the phone if the timing allows and they can put you through to the Earlville store if necessary.