I float on my back gazing at a sunny, cloudless blue sky. A sea eagle flies overhead then, nearby, I hear the soft âpopâ of a green turtle sticking its head out of the balmy ocean around me.
It is a happiness. But I can’t get too lost in my daydreaming because there are some important decisions to be made: do I put on a snorkel to spy on sharks and stingrays from below, or enjoy the delights of the reef? up via a glass bottom kayak? Am I going for a cheekily blended cheeky inclusive afternoon cocktail or can I make a call to be taken to my own private white sand beach with an accompanying gourmet picnic? Damn, I decide, why not the four?
Sometimes the universe throws up some serious life changing stuff, Sliding doors stagger the deliberations your way, and other times you are forced to resort to options that have decidedly less impact. This was certainly the case with the latter during a recent vacancy at Lizard Island Resort. But it was a dilemma that I was more than happy to face.
The farthest seaside resort on the Great Barrier Reef, its enviable position on the northernmost tip of the Great Barrier Reef (240 kilometers from Cairns) means this slice of paradise couldn’t be further, yet it is part of his appeal. White sand and swaying palm trees meet blue sky and bluer sea; this remote vacation haven that fuses isolation with exclusivity.
Part of the Luxury Lodges of Australia collection, the lavish resort has something for everyone – from access to some of the world’s best dive sites and amazing cuisine, to extraordinary beaches and Breathtaking hiking trails through 1000 acres of national park. And – given our current border restrictions – this destination is as close as possible to the tropical islands of the Maldives or Thailand. Plus, with the rest of the country shivering in the winter cold, the warm climate of the Sunshine State provides the perfect respite for any traveler seeking sun and sand.
Exclusive, sumptuous and perfect as a postcard, read on to discover 10 reasons why Lizard Island might just be Australia’s best beach resort …
1. The flight alone is worth the trip
The largest coral reef system in the world, the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is one of the most amazing natural wonders in the world. While you can pay a lot of money for a scenic helicopter or plane ride, by booking a stay on Lizard Island, you can experience this breathtaking site while staying in your stay.
Any visitor will need to arrive by light plane from Cairns and this hour-long trip will take you over the reef. You will be glued to the window of the plane, which is a good thing as it is also possible to spot whales, dolphins and manta rays.
2. You can rub shoulders with list A
This place also has a celebrity pedigree in spades with its secluded position meaning it has become a favorite for the jet set, with an illustrious roster of former guests including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman. and Hollywood actress Kate Hudson (who called it “the most romantic place in the world”) during the recording.
3. This is a beach lover’s paradise
With 24 tranquil, powdery beaches begging to be explored, even the most discerning beach goer will be in awe of the island’s serene expanses of sand. And with just 40 suites and villas, it’s almost certain you’ll be able to find your own patch to turn your Robinson Crusoe fantasies into reality.
4. Food and drinks are all inclusive
You can enjoy a 5 star dinner and drink from dawn until dusk and most importantly, it’s all inclusive (except cocktails and specialty spirits) which means the awe of ‘a huge bill waiting for you at check out is deleted. The open-fronted Salt Water restaurant makes the most of the stunning beach and ocean views. Serve a daily changing menu of modern Australian dishes, on which seafood is largely featured, as you would expect. For something extra special, book a tasting dinner on the beach at one of two lantern-lit pavilions directly on the sand.
5. You can order your own boat
Speaking of lip-smacking meals, an absolute must is to create your own gourmet picnic basket and take it with you on a private offshore excursion in which you steer your own boat for a ride. beach day at some of the pearls mentioned above. stretches of white sand.
Free private motorized canoes are a signature on the island, and the friendly staff will whip up a delicious esky of treats to order (including your favorite drink) and get your boat ready. Bring your snorkel gear and get a quick tutorial and off you go. If that doesn’t appeal to you, there are also glass bottom kayaks and SUP boards on hand.
6. Diving and snorkeling is out of this world
Set in the middle of the world’s largest reef system with one of the richest varieties of marine life, the snorkeling and diving here is – as you might expect – quite epic. Certainly famous naturalist and entertainer David Attenborough seems to be thinking with the BBC’s mainstay hailing the island and its surrounding reefs “one of the most wonderful places in the world”.
Just 50 minutes from the island transit, you’ll reach the Cod Hole at the northern tip of Ribbon Reef. Considered one of the best dives on the planet, expect gray reef sharks and friendly potato cod. But you don’t have to go deep to be amazed. Simply don a snorkel and take a few steps from your beachfront accommodation will allow you to see a dizzying array of reef fish, huge clam gardens, colorful corals, stingrays and turtles.
7. You can preview reef research
Midshipman David Attenborough can do as the man himself and travel to the Lizard Island Research Station to meet the marine scientists working hard to save the reef and study the richness of the organisms that inhabit it.
Owned and operated by the Australian Museum, the station attracts top researchers from around the world and is internationally recognized as the premier research facility on the Great Barrier Reef. Resort guests can sign up for daily 90-minute tours to get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at this game-changing environmental hub.
8. There are fantastic hiking trails
More than half of Lizard Island is covered in meadows, forests, paper swamps and mangroves and amidst all this flora are some great hiking trails. The perfect morning activity – or as an afternoon exercise to make your delicious lunch – hiking here will also allow visitors to get a glimpse of the resident reptiles, after which the island was named by man. who discovered it, Captain James Cook.
Speaking of the pioneer sailor, scaling the more difficult trail will take you to the island’s highest point, Cook’s Look, where the man himself climbed in 1770 to try and navigate a safe route through the surrounding reef. .
9. You can indulge yourself at the day spa
For those looking for more relaxation, Lizard’s Essentia Day Spa is the place to go. A tonic for body and soul, its range of innovative wellness consultations includes iridology, instant blood group, herbal formulas and naturopathy. For stressed city dwellers, a recently unveiled collection of stress and burnout programs creates a personalized treatment plan to help restore balance; all of this alongside more traditional massages and facials, and yoga and meditation sessions.
10. Housing is worthy of a brilliant mag
The beach-inspired interiors of the newly renovated villas could easily feature in the pages of an upscale home magazine. Interiors are airy, relaxed, surrounded by tropical plants, and with a muted color palette. For A-listers – or those on an A-list budget – the secluded, luxurious Pavilion with stunning beach views, a wraparound deck and private plunge pool.
Rainforest to Reef: Getting to Cairns the Long Way
Flying may be faster, but in God’s Land it is certainly true that the journey can be as important as the destination. And if you’re heading to Cairns to catch the connecting flight to Lizard Island, why not take it easy and replace the plane with a road trip?
From the Reef to the Outback, to rainforest and grasslands, driving in North Queensland is an unforgettable travel experience with something for every type of traveler. Discover the ancient tropical forest classified as World Heritage, enjoy the beaches and meet the flora and fauna. Halfway, you can park on the charming Cassowary Coast, a quiet strip of shoreline that is the closest continental access point to the famous Great Barrier Reef. And at the heart of it, bordered by tropical rainforest, lies all of the towns that make up Mission Beach. A perfect pit stop before Cairns, here you can cycle through the forests, spot crocs and cassowaries, and hike to waterfalls and wilderness.
Airbnb offers a wide range of accommodation, from luxury to wallet, in the far north of Queensland, including the Cassowary Coast.
Hertz have rental cars available to allow travelers to fly and then drive to all of the above destinations. Hertz’s current ‘Open the Door to More’ campaign actively encourages Australians to get out there and explore what’s on their doorstep.
For a daily dose of 9Honey, sign up here to receive our best stories straight to your inbox
Island vacations for which you don’t need a passport