Otherworldly Orpheus

Otherworldly Orpheus

The Great Barrier Reef is already blessed with more than its fair share of dreamy island hideaways. Bedarra, Qualia, Hayman, among others – these exclusive hot-and-gold-listed resorts, each set on their own island, are more honeymoon idyll than Treasure Island, with smart modern penthouses, private pools, and direct access to some of the most beautiful beachfronts in the world.

One of the region’s top private-island resorts, Orpheus Island – a National Park – was almost destroyed by a cyclone in 2011. Since then it has undergone extensive renovation, which has taken more than a year, and it recently reopened as a more sustainable, family-friendly destination.

To the accommodation, set in palm trees at the back of the beach in Hazard Bay, large two-bedroom beach villas have been added, decorated in light and airy shades of white and stone. The most striking addition is the big infinity pool overlooking the Coral Sea.

The rarely-used tennis courts have been converted into vegetable patches so that the hotel’s chefs can grow their own ingredients, reducing the carbon footprint in the restaurant, which serves – all local, seasonal, sustainable fare – and has already garnered praise for its wine list. Guests can dine inside, outside, or by candlelight at the end of the jetty.

Australians are not the type to sit beside a pool all day. This may be an island holiday, but Orpheus has a rich, varied landscape, its forested hills shelving down to immaculate beaches and rocky coves, the clear, blue waters surrounding it designated a World Heritage National Park. There are more experiences on offer within its 11km of coastline than one could comfortably do in a week, more of them off-shore than on: fishing trips, dinghies to take out, marine laboratories, a glass-bottomed boat so galeophobes can watch reef sharks in comfort. And, for those made of sterner stuff, snorkelling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef, among turtles and manta rays and, from August until November, migrating humpback whales.

Orpheus Island, near Townsville, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia (00 61 7 4777 7377; www.orpheus.com.au)

Related stories:
Island hotels on the Great Barrier Reef >>
Best hotels in the world >>
Travel guide to Australia >>

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply