BNE Magazine_ISSUE#2_COVER_LR - page 25

BNE SUMMER 2013
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Bedarra Island
, less than 10km offshore from
Mission Beach (midway between Townsville
and Cairns), is part of the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park and one of the Family Group of
islands. Fittingly, Bedarra Island Resort was
bought two years ago by the family-owned,
Queensland-based Charlton Hotel Group
and has been completely refurbished since
the cyclone devastation of 2011. The resort
reopened in July this year with just seven villas
available to accommodate 14 guests and each is
a statement in secluded tropical style, all with
spectacular water views. Four of the villas have
their own plunge pools, living and sleeping
quarters are separated and, secluded as it is,
LEDTV, WiFi and a tablet are supplied.
While it’s hard to tear yourself away from
the deck and the mesmerising view, there are
kayaks, dinghies, paddle boards and fishing
and snorkelling gear as well as a tennis court
for the use of guests. This is couples paradise
– the beds and baths are big – children under
16 are not permitted. The resort is open from
April to early January to avoid monsoon season
(December to March).
Keswick Island
is at the southern tip of the
Whitsundays, 32km north east of Mackay, also
within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Keswick Guest House is the place to stay on
the island and is in high demand with just four
rooms (king-size beds and bathrooms are also
a feature at this intimate home-away-from-
home). Guests are well looked after by Brian
and Lyn Kinderman – which includes Lyn’s
home-cooking.
Five beaches are accessible on foot or a short
boat ride away and the fringing reef is perfect
for snorkelling. Shipwrecks offshore are popular
dive sites. It’s a leisurely walk on the bush track
to the beach at Connie Bay and the beehives
along the way are the source of Keswick’s own
honey (available at the island store and in
Mackay). Basil Bay and Arthur Bay are also easy
walking distance.
Keswick Island is just 12 minutes flying
time from Mackay with Island Air or you can
get there by boat with Megaforce Charters.
Day trippers also can access Keswick Island
from Mackay.
We go island hopping in the Whitsundays and find resorts that offer ways to
enjoy the Great Barrier Reef in style or seclusion and, most often, both…
Hamilton Island
is as cosmopolitan as it gets in
the Whitsundays. Here, accommodation ranges
from laid-back garden bungalows to family
apartments and the six-star qualia where black-
tie events are booked out months in advance.
The Yacht Club Villas, with landscaping by
celebrity garden guru Jamie Durie, are as good
as it gets in family-friendly accommodation,
each with four bedrooms and four bathrooms
over three or four levels. Far from being an
adults-only enclave this slice of paradise offers a
stay and eat free deal for children under 12.
Hamilton Island is a sports mecca for sailing,
golf (there’s an 18-hole championship course),
triathlon, mini-marathons, ocean swims and
fun runs against a backdrop of stunning scenery
that competes for attention.
Kids can have their Finding Nemo moment
at Cartseye Beach, Bear Grylls-types can take a
fishing safari with Renegade Charters, while the
full service day spa is ready to soothe even the
most stressed-out city souls. There are activities
for every speed, from yoga on the beach to a
vigorous hike up Passage Peak; breakfast with
the koalas, shop at the marina village, take an
art class or learn to sail.
Long Island
and the waterfront bungalows of
Paradise Bay Island Resort are just 10 minutes
by helicopter from Hamilton Island Airport.
Long Island is 9km long and only 400m at its
widest point, giving the island its name, and it’s
a wildlife haven on the fringe of the Conway
National Park. Bungalows accommodate up
to 18 guests (no children) and the only other
“visitors” you’re likely to see will be the pet
wallabies that roam the resort.
Dinner is served under the stars, weather
permitting, and the menu choices change daily
– evening entertainment is no more boisterous
than a game of Pictionary with fellow guests or
a bonfire to toast marshmallows (if you care to
join in). Snorkelling, swimming and paddling
(kayak or stand-up board) are the activities of
choice and the day spa awaits for soothing treats
like a marine body wrap.
Lizard Island
is Australia’s northern-most island
beach resort and, viewed from the air, first
impressions are breathtaking so it’s no surprise
that readers of online
Travel+Leisure
magazine
have rated the resort one of the world’s best
beach hotels (it ranked #3) – and that’s just one
of its many awards.
The natural beauty of the island, with 24
picture postcard white sandy beaches, has
changed little since Captain Cook arrived
and named the island which is now protected
National Park. If serious fishing is on your
bucket list, this is the place – barracuda, marlin,
dolphin fish and Red Emperor are lurking
offshore. And if staff recommend stargazing on
this island it doesn’t mean that Brangelina has
just landed, but it does mean that the “Teapot”,
Orion or Centaurus are likely to be clearly in
sight, shining above in the night sky.
If you’re not hooked by now you should be.
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