May 30, 2016
by MORAG KOBEZ, Writer
Nothing says romance like a tropical island paradise, right? Whether you’re into lazing in the sunshine or exploring coral reefs, there’s a Great Barrier Reef island for you.
Find blissful seclusion on Lizard IslandThe northernmost island on the reef, Lizard Island is blissfully remote and accessible only by charter flight from Cairns. Luxurious, secluded accommodation within the wilderness of a national park offers the ultimate in romantic experiences. By day, meander around the reef in your own little motorised boat; by night, indulge in a customised seven-course dégustation under the stars on your choice of private beach. Book now
Watch humpbacks from Heron IslandTwo hours by boat from Gladstone, Heron Island boasts dreamy sunrises and sunsets. Wander down to the jetty and spend a couple of lazy hours spotting humpback whales as they begin their northern migration in June. These majestic creatures, up to 16 metres long, can often be spotted passing through the waters around the island. Book now
Switch off on Long IslandA mere 20-minute boat ride from Shute Harbour, this national park isle has about 13 kilometres of graded walks, dramatic headlands and a plethora of birds, goannas and wallabies to spot. Hide away from it all at Paradise Bay Island Resort in the south of Long Island, where there are no TVs, phones, internet or children – and never more than 18 guests at a time.
SEE ALSO: Explore the Great Barrier Reef on the 10 Best Daytrips
Get stranded on Pumpkin IslandThis tiny, virtually unheard-of island is 14 kilometres off the coast from Yeppoon. If being a castaway on a deserted tropical island with your sweetheart is your dream, Pumpkin Island is about as close as it gets – without a shipwreck. There are no restaurants or shops and just a handful of humble wind- and solar-powered cottages amid pristine natural surroundings. You’re likely to spot more dolphins and turtles than you are other visitors.
Enjoy ultimate privacy on Bedarra Island
Accessible from Mission Beach, midway between Townsville and Cairns, this island paradise is sure to woo even the most fickle. With Bedarra Island’s eight very private villas hidden among lush rainforest – some boasting private plunge pools with spectacular views – why would you even need to venture out? Except perhaps for that intimate, once-in-a-lifetime picnic lunch for two on one of the nearby deserted isles.
Beach yourself on Whitsunday IslandThis is the largest of The Whitsunday Islands, accessible from the mainland ports of Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour. Sure, beautiful beaches are a dime a dozen in these parts, but Whitehaven Beach takes the cake. As the name suggests, it’s the longest, whitest, prettiest beach in the Whitsundays and, arguably, the entire South Pacific region.
Be pampered on Orpheus IslandA 30-minute helicopter ride from Townsville sets the scene for a spectacular laid-back luxe experience for a maximum of 28 guests. Orpheus Island is renowned for its rich marine life but the exceptional food and the day spa make it a favourite of discerning couples. Think beach massages for two in the shade of palm trees with gentle waves lapping at the shore. Book now
Experience island life on HaggerstoneHaggerstone Island is a bespoke, family-run, Robinson Crusoe-style retreat located 600 kilometres north of Cairns, alongside Cape York Peninsula. For those who prefer their luxury barefoot, their hospitality personalised, their oysters harvested from nearby rocks and their tropical fruit picked fresh from an organic orchard, Haggerstone is a natural choice.
Love the natural beauty of Lady Elliot IslandAt the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, this coral cay is accessible from Hervey Bay or Bundaberg. Lady Elliot Island is a must for nature lovers. While humpback whales and manta rays swim in the surrounding waters, the island is home to a world-famous turtle rookery and nesting seabirds. Diving and snorkelling in the unspoilt coral reef here is the stuff that memories are made of.
Make it official on Hayman IslandHayman Island, the northernmost isle of the Whitsundays, is about 30 kilometres from Shute Harbour. Whether it’s time to take your relationship to the next level with a luxurious elopement or to reaffirm your vows in front of your loved ones, Hayman Island can make it happen in style. There’s a chapel high above the sea – or why not declare your love, barefoot, on the beach?