Guide to Orpheus Island
Discover Orpheus Island, a secluded Great Barrier Reef Island that offers immaculate coastlines and a truly memorable tropical escape.
By Allie Metz
A sunny, secluded, and luxurious hideaway, Orpheus Island is everything an island escape should be. Located between Cairns and Townsville, the island is surrounded by 3212 acres (1300 hectares) of national park. It is fringed by coral reefs, making it a haven for snorkelling and diving. Nestled in a sheltered bay on the western-side of the island, Orpheus Island Lodge is the island’s only resort and lies without fanfare along a ribbon of serene beach and features laidback luxury accommodation.
- Dive or snorkel one of the reef's most diverse ecosystems
- Enjoy a romantic sunset dinner on the pier
- Day trip to Hinchinbrook Island
How to get there
Things to do and top attractions on Orpheus Island
Dive and snorkel amongst green turtles and reef sharks
Home to 1100 of the reef’s 1500 species of fish and 340 of the 359 varieties of hard corals, the fringing reef of Orpheus Island offers an incredible opportunity to see the best the Great Barrier Reef has to offer. Head to the outer reefs on a private charter (75 minutes from the lodge) to dive and snorkel amongst green turtles, bull rays and reef sharks. Depending on the season, you may also see manta rays, humpback whales or the annual coral spawning.
Day trip to Australia's largest island national park
Hinchinbrook Island makes the perfect day trip from Orpheus with its varied offering of scenic headlands, waterfalls, secluded beaches and lush rainforest. From Orpheus you can experience Hinchinbrook by either helicopter or boat (by boat you will tour the channel between Hinchinbrook Island and the picturesque Cardwell Coast). Highlights of this tour include guided walks along rainforest trails to the famous Zoe and Mulligan waterfalls and saltwater crocodile spotting in the island’s waterways. If you enjoy an active holiday, stay on to experience the four-day, 32-kilometre (20-mile) Thorsborne Trail. With only 40 people allowed to camp on the island at a time, it's a secluded adventure into a stunning paradise.
Enjoy a private dinner on the pier
Dining with the Tides is the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion or simply enjoy a romantic meal under the stars. Guests will help design the six-course menu, which will be paired with three wines. With a maximum of just four guests dining on the pier each night, this intimate and memorable experience is the ultimate way to watch the sun set and take in the beauty and intimacy of the beautiful Coral Sea surrounding Orpheus Island.
Cruise the surrounding area
Explore the fringing reef when you jump on board kayaks and paddleboards. Sail over the coral gardens and learn about the reef and the wonderful array of marine life. Alternatively, on a SeaLink cruise, explore Orpheus Island on a day trip. Between June and October, you may even see humpback whales along the way. For a self-guided route, cruise around the reef in a motorised dinghy. A must-see is the giant clam nursery located in Pioneer Bay. Planted in the 1980s, the nursery is now populated by 300 impressive molluscs, each weighing 150 – 200 kilograms (330 – 440 pounds), stretching 90 centimetres (3 feet) in width and donning ruffled chinchilla lips in a rainbow of colours.
Catch your meal
Whether you prefer to cast your line in the surrounding waters of the island or head out to deeper waters in search of a prize catch, there are countless opportunities to hook one of the reef’s most desirable species. Among the favourites, you’ll find coral trout, giant trevally, dog tooth tuna and Spanish mackerel. Book a full or half day fishing expedition and have your catch prepared by the resort’s head chef upon your return.