Lizard Is­land

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Escape -

Some might say if you’ve seen one trop­i­cal is­land par­adise you’ve seen them all, but Lizard Is­land in far, far north Queens­land de­fies com­par­i­son. The re­sort may have taken its time to re­open af­ter an ex­ten­sive re­fur­bish­ment post-cy­clone Ita in 2014, but af­ter call­ing this place home for just three nights, I think it’s safe to say it was worth the wait. Com­pris­ing 10 square kilo­me­tres on the north­ern end of the Great Bar­rier Reef, Lizard Is­land is closer to Port Moresby than it is to Bris­bane. Such is the re­mote­ness of this five-star re­sort that staff reg­u­larly ig­nore the weather fore­casts for (rel­a­tively) nearby Cook­town, hap­pily (or is that smugly?) not­ing that re­gard­less of what the weath­er­man says, it’s usu­ally noth­ing but blue skies and sunshine.

An all-in­clu­sive ac­com­mo­da­tion pack­age can of­ten equate to sub-par food and drink, but ev­ery meal at Salt Wa­ter restau­rant was fresh, per­fectly pre­pared and de­li­cious — with­out fall­ing into clichéd ho­tel com­fort-food ter­ri­tory. Wine snobs needn’t worry, ei­ther: the ex­ten­sive in­ter­na­tional list, by som­me­lier and wine critic Jeremy Oliver, makes for ex­cit­ing read­ing and drink­ing.

If you want to walk off all the glut­tony, I rec­om­mend get­ting up early (read: be­fore 6am) to tackle the two-kilo­me­tre walk/hike across Lizard Is­land’s grass­lands and man­groves to Cook’s Look. It’s a thigh-pump­ing 359-me­tre as­cent up of­ten sheer pink-gran­ite rock faces to the top, the very spot to which Cap­tain Cook climbed in 1770 to nav­i­gate safe pas­sage through the treach­er­ous reef. A hit of his­tory and se­ri­ous car­dio burn, all be­fore breakfast.

To kick-start your week­end of re­lax­ation, I strongly sug­gest mak­ing an early visit to the Essen­tia Day Spa, which ex­clu­sively uses Parisian La Bios­the­tique prod­ucts.there are myr­iad treat­ments to choose from, but I can vouch for the Is­land Essence — a head-to-toe treat­ment that starts with a mois­tur­is­ing foot mask, con­tin­ues to a deep-tis­sue back mas­sage and fin­ishes with a hair treat­ment/scalp mas­sage combo that al­most sent me to sleep (in a good way).

Each of the 40 rooms on Lizard Is­land has been dec­o­rated in the same cor­ti­sol-bust­ing blend of Scandi-meets-beach-chic style, but The Pav­il­ion suite is the one you want to book. Sit­ting atop a cliff over­look­ing the re­sort, the one-bed­room loft-style apart­ment of­fers 270-de­gree views that will im­press even the most sea­soned is­land-hop­per. Look west to Sun­set Beach for the per­fect sun­set-over-wa­ter vista, straight ahead to nearby Osprey Is­land, or spin east to take in the boatspot­ted turquoise ex­panse of An­chor Bay. Which­ever way you look at it, it’s all good. – Ali­son Izzo

The Pav­il­ion, Lizard Is­land. One of sev­eral pris­tine beaches on the is­land.

Din­ing with a view.

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