Showing some of the scars that come with fame and popularity, this pretty coral cay (45 minutes from Cairns) nevertheless retains much of its beauty. The island has a rainforest interior with interpretive walks, a fringe of white-sand beach, and superb snorkelling just offshore; it's great for kids. You can walk around the island (which, along with its surrounding waters, is protected by national- and marine-park status) in about 30 minutes.
Before the island was named after Captain Cook's astronomer, the Gunggandji people used it as a retreat to perform initiation ceremonies for the young men of their group. In the mid-1850s, the waters around Green Island were heavily fished for bêche-de-mer (aka sea cucumbers); the animals were cured here for export and many of the island's trees were logged in the process. Today, Green is studded with coconut palms, planted in 1889 to provide nourishment and shelter for shipwreck survivors.