Escape to luxe island hideaways, indulgent outback retreats or tranquil ancient rainforests. Kick off your shoes, take some much needed R&R and discover the unique landscape of Tropical North Queensland.
Bedarra Island Resort
It’s the Hollywood picture of a tropical island retreat; private free-standing villas set in lush green rainforest, each overlooking the pristine turquoise waters of the Coral Sea. This all-inclusive, adults-only resort has a maximum of 20 guests at any given time making Bedarra Island the pinnacle of seclusion and relaxation. And when they say all-inclusive, they really mean it. Fancy a romantic candlelit dinner on your own private beach? Done. What about a gourmet picnic on a nearby deserted island? They’ll take you there. From fishing gear and kayaks to cocktails and meals, the staff at Bedarra Island go above and beyond to ensure your luxury escape is unforgettable. A leisurely lunch awaits you as you arrive in style via helicopter from either Cairns or Mission Beach or by boat charter from South Mission Beach. Pop the champagne bottle and you are officially on island time.
Lizard Island Resort
From the moment you lay your eyes on Lizard Island after your flight over the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns, you know your time here is going to be special. The aquamarine reef sprawls below you hugging the group of islands contrasting with the deep blue ocean and white sand. As you prepare to land, see how many of the 24 private beaches you can spot – you can commandeer your own motorised dinghy to explore them at your own leisure later (deluxe picnic hamper in tow of course).
But first, it’s time to check in and check out this little heaven on earth. The resort offers a range of luxury rooms up to the epitome of elegance, The Villa; featuring panoramic ocean views complete with an 8m private plunge pool. If you ever feel like leaving your room, take advantage of the stand-up paddle boards and sea kayaks, head out to world-class reefs on a dive expedition, or up the relaxation mode at Essentia Day Spa. Wind down for sunset at Salt Water Restaurant with an exquisite ever-changing menu focussing on quality local produce. This is your one-way ticket to feeling like royalty.
Silky Oaks Lodge
The Daintree Rainforest, a prehistoric masterpiece where nature is king. Be greeted by a chorus of birdsong and the gentle sounds of the Mossman River at Silky Oaks Lodge, where even the name of this boutique retreat evokes a sense of calmness and tranquillity. Your treehouse or suite blends seamlessly with the surrounding rainforest featuring polished wood floors throughout. The eco lodge focuses on wellness so enjoy a morning yoga session during your stay and a relaxing pamper at Healing Waters Spa.
The Ultimate Silky Indulgence package will ensure you don’t have to think about anything for your five night stay with everything from a three course à la carte dinner each evening, a 2.5hr spa treatment per couple and rainforest helicopter tour all included. The only decision you will have to make is whether you’d rather relax on your own personal hammock or take a dip in the cool waters of the Mossman River.
Venture through World Heritage Rainforest, the Atherton Tablelands and into a 20,000-year-old landscape carved out by an ancient volcano. Your four-hour scenic 4WD journey concludes at MacEacherns Camp set on the 70,000 acre Kinrara Station. Here you are welcomed onto country by the local Gugu Badhun peoples before being introduced to the luxury camping facilities that will be your base for the next five days. The Gugu Badhun are the people of the ‘Valley of the Lagoons’ and your private camp oasis overlooks one of these breathtaking water sources overflowing with rich plant and animal species.
This fully hosted expedition takes you into a world unlike any other and is the perfect experience for nature lovers who still enjoy their creature comforts. Opt for a helicopter tour over the volcano crater, mountain biking through the bush, birdwatching, swimming and fishing, or simply choose to stretch out in a hammock with your favourite book. Your hosts will craft your days to your taste for an escape into real Australia that is both extraordinary and rejuvenating.
Kinrara Expeditions is operational between April to September to ensure your ultimate comfort with pleasant temperatures and minimal rain.
Thala Beach Nature Reserve
Stay on a private peninsula in a bungalow nestled amongst the trees at the deluxe eco-retreat located along the Great Barrier Reef Drive near Port Douglas. Upon arrival venture upstairs to Osprey’s Restaurant to see the expansive views over the Coral Sea unfold in front of your eyes before feasting on the menu focussing on local seasonal produce.
Awarded the highest Ecotourism accreditation for maximising informative and meaningful experiences, Thala Beach provides complimentary tours to guests. View the Milkyway and planets through the lens of a telescope stargazing with an experienced guide, learn the surprising properties of the coconut on Australia’s only coconut tour or join local Aboriginal elders as they share their stories passed through generations of Kuku Yalanji people.
Mount Mulligan Lodge
In the back-country 150kms north-west of Cairns, rugged outback meets luxury at all-inclusive Mount Mulligan Lodge. An 18km escarpment dominates the landscape with the lodge perfectly positioned to enjoy views over their weir towards the sandstone range. Set on a 28,000-hectare cattle station, the property is rich in history and features the remains of the Mount Mulligan township, coal mine and Tyrconnel gold mine which can be explored by foot or ATV.
Corrugated iron outdoor baths, spotted gum timber cladding, natural textures and earth-toned finishings pay homage to the surrounding landscape and pastoral heritage of the property. Each room is provided with a personal electric buggy for guests to zip between their room, Main Pavilion and Sunset Bar. The weir provides a spectacular vista towards the towering range of Mount Mulligan where guests can choose to paddleboard, kayak or fish for a prized barramundi.
One could call Crystalbrook masters in luxury. Indulge with a clean conscious at Cairns’ first five-star hotel in over 20 years at Riley, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort. From the paperless check-in, recycled wooden room key and absence of plastic drinking bottles and straws at the resort’s three on-site restaurants, the subtle touch points of sustainability woven through the property is refreshing.
Spend your days lounging in a cabana by the pool sipping on a signature cocktail and book in for some me-time at Eléme Day Spa where the therapists will personalise your experience to suit your desires. Wind down the day overlooking the ocean at Rocco, Cairns’ only rooftop bar.
The MV Bahama brings the Great Barrier Reef to you in the most stylish way possible, via a private 28m luxury motor yacht. Once aboard, the world is your oyster – the professional crew will cater to your every need from the adventurous to relaxed traveller. This super exclusive experience gives up to six people full use of the vessel with each trip tailored to your needs. Guests can choose to scuba dive, stand up paddle board, water ski and try their hand at catching dinner for the night aboard the 7.3m sports fishing vessel ‘Drum’. Where you want to go is entirely up to you. Parents can opt for a nanny service for complete R&R or for time to properly dive into your Great Barrier Reef adventure.
Gilberton Outback Retreat
Luxury and rustic come together to at the super exclusive Gilberton Outback Retreat. A maximum of two guests can enjoy the private cabin offering the quintessential Aussie outback experience with a modern twist on the iconic tin shed. Perched on a hill with uninterrupted views over the Gilbert River, use this digital detox as an escape from the outside world and immerse yourself in the rugged landscape and station life. Visit ancient Aboriginal art sites, test your luck at fossicking, take a 4WD tour or venture out for a bushwalk. Wash off the days’ dust in your bath as the sunsets with panoramic views over the arid bushland.