Wilson Island, Australia
Pristine, remote and tiny, this idyllic coral cay on the Great Barrier Reef has captured the imagination of many a modern-day Robinson Crusoe. Although it’s just 45 miles from Australia’s Queensland coast, it feels a million miles from civilisation. Peace, quiet and solitude reign supreme: this is the Great Barrier Reef as nature intended it to be, with only turtles and rare birds as your cohabitants. Wilson fulfils your castaway island dreams – a place where only six couples can escape and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. With no TVs or phones to disturb the serenity, days are spent beachcombing, dozing in a hammock, snorkelling and listening to the sound of the surf breaking on the reef (some of the best snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef is right off the beach). The caster sugar-white beach is divine and the protected waters around the island play host to an unimaginable variety of marine life. From November to March, you can while away happy afternoons watching newly hatched turtles emerging from their nests to scurry down the beach into the ocean. Exotic bird-spotting is another pastime, but bear in mind that the island is closed each February for the nesting season.
Your castaway refuge is one of six designer-inspired permanent tents, just steps from the water’s edge. Each boasts a raised timber floor, king-size bed and a double hammock on the deck with reef and ocean views. They’re well screened, positioned far apart and each has its own designated private shower and dressing area, just a stroll away. The basins and flushing loos (shared by all guests) are surprisingly luxurious given the eco-friendly nature of the island. The central social hub is the Longhouse – an open-sided structure that houses an informal bar and casual dining area (the dress code doesn’t extend far beyond shorts, T-shirts and f lip-f lops). The ambience is very much dinner-party-style around the large banquet table. Evenings begin with drinks and canapés on the beach at sunset and as you retire to the candlelit Longhouse, champagne in hand, you know you’ve been shipwrecked in style.