The setting is the Great Barrier Reef, the largest structure on earth built by living organisms and home to a diversity of species – almost as many as the coastal rainforests that the reef protects. A World Heritage-listed sanctuary, this is the world’s most extensive stretch of coral reef.
The Great Barrier Reef is also historically and culturally significant to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that occupied many of the islands either permanently or seasonally for thousands of years.
Hinchinbrook Island is one of Australia’s most extraordinary natural attractions and the world’s second largest island national park. Located off the coast near Cardwell (between Townsville and Cairns), Hinchinbrook is probably better known overseas, with nature enthusiasts coming from around the world to walk the 32-kilometre Thorsborne Track.
The Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge is the only accommodation on the island and offers a very special experience to a small number of guests at a time. The waters around Hinchinbrook are home to Dugongs who feed on the underwater seagrass beds. This is an environment teeming with wildlife, a treasure trove of natural beauty and serenity that must be experienced to be believed.
You won’t see Marble Island in a travel brochure. The pleasures here are experiencing the natural environment, about discovering nature’s answer to the theme park. The attractions are shucking oysters off the rocks, admiring sea turtles, swimming deserted beaches, bird spotting and watching the sun set over an endless horizon on a secluded island you have all to yourself.
The Whitsundays have long been recognized as one of Australia’s most beautiful island regions. 74 islands make up the Whitsundays, with some very well known resorts dotted throughout. Many of the islands are deserted but one caught our eye for its beauty and the fact that it hosts two very special – yet very different – experiences.
Peppers Palm Bay is a luxury resort that prides itself on peace, seclusion and fine food. If you’d like to disappear for a few days or a week and truly indulge in a special place without pretence, Pepper is a great choice. At the very northern tip of Long Island, and accessible only by helicopter, is South Long Island, which combines beautiful accommodation with an organized nature experience aiming to engage guests in a holiday that is both relaxing and stimulating at the same time.
If you’d like to enjoy an exclusive beach house experience on an island, Bedarra Island Villa is a great choice. This is definitely somewhere you go to get away from it all. With its strong artistic pedigree, the villa has a definite creative vibe.
Whether you choose tropical waters off Port Douglas or the Whitsundays, there’s nothing like boating to bring you close to the magic of the Great Barrier Reef.