The Great Barrier Reef is surely one of the most stunning natural wonders in the world. An exquisite array of marine life in crystal clear waters, a little sanctuary at the edge of the vast Pacific Ocean. Whether you are looking for an unforgettable holiday or a luxury honeymoon, there can be few places in the world that can rival the Great Barrier Reef; but this beauty does not mean that you have to compromise on having luxury accommodation. There are a number of luxury resorts in the vicinity of the marine park, here are two of our favourites:
Imagine 24 powdery white beaches (undisturbed but for occasional footprints), 40 contemporary suites and villas, gourmet dining, indulgent indigenous spa treatments and the bluest of ocean views from almost every angle – this is all on offer in abundance on Australia’s northernmost island resort. Located right on the Great Barrier Reef, 17 miles off the coast of North Queensland and a scenic one-hour f light from Cairns, Lizard Island revels in its seclusion from the rest of the world. Forget your mobile phone – there’s no coverage here. Natural beauty abounds and from the moment you land on the airstrip, you’ll be captivated by the island’s irresistible charm and mystique. Captain Cook was not quite so enchanted as he trekked to the island’s highest point in August 1770 to chart a safe passage through the maze of reefs.
The strenuous early-morning climb to the now-named Cook’s Look is challenging but worth every effort for the rewarding views. A little less arduous, but still a must, is a motorised dinghy ride to a private beach for a romantic picnic. Divers will be seduced by the island’s multitude of colourful coral reefs (the famous Cod Hole dive site is easily accessible in the resort’s 51-foot cruiser) and you can also snorkel straight from the beach. September to December hails the renowned black marlin fishing season. Your island haven oozes chic Australian beachside living. The clean cool Anchor Bay Suites blend inside and out with their stylish open-plan design – you’ll undoubtedly drift off to the sounds of the ocean from the huge day bed. If it’s a view you’re after, you may prefer the elevated setting of the Sunset Point Villas, while the ultimate honeymoon suite, The Pavilion, boasts an expansive deck with a private plunge pool and 270-degree panorama.
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The cuisine is superb: gourmet meals, fine wines and champagne are all part of the experience. Make sure you
arrange a private dinner on the beach (the signature seven-course degustation menu with matching wine selection is
utterly decadent). The pampering Azure Spa completes this idyllic scene.
Relaxation and indulgence are top of the agenda at this exclusive Great Barrier Reef hideaway, which lies off the Queensland coast from Cairns. Fly to nearby Dunk Island and board a private launch to this island sanctuary, where honeymoon couples can retreat and unwind without missing out on the finer things in life. There’s an abundance of privacy and space. Bedarra has just 16 architecturally refined secluded villas, tucked away in the rainforest but close to the beach. The careful use of timber and glass throughout creates the perfect indoor-outdoor atmosphere. Each villa has a separate living area, a sumptuous bathroom and a king-size bed. The hammock on your verandah is the perfect chillout spot for soaking up the views.
Indulge in a massage or spa treatment or there’s plenty to do if you insist on being active. Slip away to a deserted cove with a motorised dinghy and gourmet hamper (don’t forget a fishing line to try your luck) or enjoy a half or full day’s sailing, fishing, snorkelling or diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Dunk Island has a variety of activities for Bedarra guests, including water skiing and a nine-hole golf course, should you feel the urge to escape your pristine island.
The cuisine is simply exquisite. The open terrace restaurant, which overlooks the pool, provides an intimate setting for savouring the mouth-wateringly fresh as-if-you-caught-it yourself seafood or, if you’d prefer something specific to order, just ask. Breakfast, lunch and dinner, all à la carte, are included, so throw away your wallet and treat your palate. An extensive range of superior wines is included too, along with local beers and spirits, so just sit back and enjoy.
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The hardest decision you’ll have to make is which villa to choose. Split-level or double-storey, hillside or beachfront – island life is tough. For an exceptional elevated beachside position with panoramic ocean views, choose a Point Villa, or, for the ultimate indulgence, Bedarra’s two uniquely designed Pavilions boast captivating views through f loor-to-ceiling glass from their private clifftop setting, not to mention the plunge pool on the outside deck – privacy and decadence blended to perfection.