Stretches of pristine white sand, palm trees swaying in the breeze, swanky spas, luxurious accommodation and miles of crystal-clear seas – when it comes to tropical fly and flop holiday bucket lists, a vacay to the Maldives is pretty hard to beat.
But given that travel is restricted to our own borders for the foreseeable future, a long haul to the archipelago nation is off the cards.
However, what you might not realise is that Australia – specifically Queensland – has its very own network of paradise islands, complete with the hallmarks of any Maldivian luxury resort – just without the need for a passport.
And with the state reopening to most of the country from July 10, it’s time to start planning your ultimate island escape.
With the rest of the country shivering in the winter chill, the warm climate of the Sunshine State offers the perfect respite for any traveller looking for their sun and sand fix. Exclusive, plush and postcard-perfect beautiful – read on to discover four True Blue island resorts that offer travellers the “suite life”.
Secluded, serene, and catering to guests’ every whim and wish, Bedarra is a patch of paradise that rightfully deserves its place on the “Australia’s most luxurious resorts” roundups.
Positioned off the coast of Mission Beach in Tropical North Queensland, the property hosts a maximum of 18 guests at any one time across a handful of villas distributed throughout the island to ensure maximum privacy.
Unsurprisingly, this pimped out pad has hosted more than its fair share of paparazzi-shy celebrities in search of downtime.
Putting the swank into swanky, this hideaway is the epitome of barefoot luxury. Think long, unspoilt white sand beaches, candlelit dinners for two on the sand, private picnics on nearby deserted islands, indulgent spa treatments, plunge pools, and snorkelling on the Reef with schools of brightly coloured fish.
Reopening on July 1, the all-inclusive resort also has an “adults only” policy, which means that holiday-makers can enjoy some 5-star serenity without wailing and poolside dive bombing courtesy of unruly midgets.
An easy 30-minutes by the afore mentioned chopper, Orpheus is also reopening its doors at the beginning of July.
Stretching across 11-kilometres of turquoise coastline, this exclusive private island is smack bang in the middle of one of the world’s most spectacular natural phenomena: the Great Barrier Reef.
For wildlife lovers the critter contingent includes turtles, rays, reef sharks and fish – lots of fish. Guests can take in the aquatic display via one of the free-to-use kayaks, paddle boards, dinghies or by donning snorkelling gear.
For luxury-lovers there’s equal appeal with helicopter transfers to and from the island, a beautiful infinity pool, on site spa, and decadent all-inclusive cuisine crafted with fresh local produce and seafood – including nightly degustation dinners overlooking the ocean.
Sunsets in the area are legendary, and each evening guests can grab a glass of bubbly – or an expertly mixed cocktail – and stroll along the beach watching marine life bask in the shallows as the sun slowly sets on the horizon. Magical.
White sand, swaying palms, blue skies, and even bluer seas – Lizard Island is the embodiment of paradise.
The most far flung resort on the Great Barrier Reef, its secluded position means that it has become a firm favourite for the jet-set, with an illustrious roster of former guests, including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman and Hollywood actress Kate Hudson (who called it “the most romantic place on earth”) checking in.
Getting away from it all aside, the property has plenty in the way of wellness and pampering. Mediation, yoga and pilates classes are offered daily, alongside 24-hour gym access.
And for those looking to get back in touch with nature, the isle is peppered with breathtaking hiking trails and 24 ivory-white beaches, each guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning of beach bums. And then there’s some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling you’ll ever experience.
With white beaches, sun-dappled seas, world-class hotels, buzzing night-life and pristine bush land aplenty, there’s a few good reasons that Hamilton Island is the oldest – and most popular – resort in the Whitsundays. But for luxury-lovers, the main drawcard to the island is Qualia.
Positioned on the northernmost tip of Hamilton Island, this slice of paradise is the embodiment of the “location, location, location” adage.
Not only is it one of the most renowned resorts in Australia, it’s also consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. And it’s set to reopen on August 1.
The luxurious 60-pavilion resort is surrounded by Aussie bushland and is a Mecca for the world’s A-list, with a celebrity guest roster reading like a who’s who. From Australia’s elite, including Cate Blanchett, Toni Collette and Miranda Kerr, to visiting global heavyweights, such as talk show queen Oprah, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and British chef Gordon Ramsay.
Luxurious pavilion suites boast 360-degree views – alongside private sun decks or infinity plunge pools – and then there’s the public gorgeous infinity pools, both of which overlook the tranquil waters of the Whitsundays. For those with some cash to splash and an appetite for the finer things, this is the place.