Ordering Food & Barge Schedule

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 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you don't order items with very short shelf life such as fresh berries and bagged salad leaves because they are often out of date by the time the barge arrives at the island.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 Tuesday and arrives at Lizard Island two days later. The schedule changed in August 2017. The new 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 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 2017

Orders to Coles before 10 pm on  But not before Barge loads in Cairns Barge arrives at Lizard Island
Thu 10 Aug Tue 1 Aug Tue 15 Aug Thu 17 Aug
Thu 24 Aug Tue 15 Aug Tue 29 Aug Thu 31 Aug
Thu 7 Sep Tue 29 Aug Tue 12 Sep Thu 14 Sep
Thu 21 Sep Tue 12 Sep Tue 26 Sep Thu 28 Sep
Thu 5 Oct Tue 26 Sep Tue 10 Oct Thu 12 Oct
Thu 19 Oct Tue 10 Oct Tue 24 Oct Thu 26 Oct
Thu 2 Nov Tue 24 Oct Tue 7 Nov Thu 9 Nov
Thu 16 Nov Tue 7 Nov Tue 21 Nov Thu 23 Nov
Thu 30 Nov Tue 21 Nov Tue 5 Dec Thu 7 Dec
Thu 14 Dec Tue 5 Dec Tue 19 Dec Thu 21 Dec


The timing of the first barge of 2018 may differ from the schedule above due to the public holiday on 1 Jan. Arrangements for that barge will not be known until Dec 2017. Barges after the first in 2018 are likely to revert to the schedule but this has not been confirmed.  

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 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 4781. However, such an address can no longer be entered into new or existing accounts. To change the address in an existing account, send an email to Coles as outlined for new accounts 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. 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 but use 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 will take 2 to 5 days for Coles Customer Care to process your request. 

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 your Coles nickname.
  • From the large number of delivery provider options, choose Seaswift (41-45 Tingira Street Portsmith, not Mason's Wharf).
  • Select the correct delivery date (i.e. the date the barge loads in Cairns in the table above).
  • To the right of the list of dates, there are two options that often confuse people. The first is for Delivery, which is not available for Lizard Island. The second is Remote Delivery, which should show 41-45 Tingira Street Sea Swift, 1 am to 5 am, $20. That's the button to hit. 
  • 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.  

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 “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.
  • 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. DO NOT contact the courier under any circumstances.  


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