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Lizard Island Luxurious reef retreat

By Sheriden Rhodes

It doesn’t get much better than the far flung Lizard Island, where the spectacular Great Barrier Reef collides with barefoot luxury at the island's eponymously-named five-star retreat, Lizard Island Resort. Actress Kate Hudson famously referred to Lizard Island as “the most romantic place on earth”.

Map of Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland

Start your day with a pre-breakfast swim

Lizard’s astonishing natural beauty – enveloped by fringing reefs and a turquoise lagoon – is matched by the resort's 40 luxury villas located mere steps from the beach. One of the best ways to start your day at Lizard Island Resort is by slipping out of bed and into the water for a glorious pre-breakfast swim. Follow the refreshing dip with indulgent à la carte meals and sunset drinks at the Driftwood Bar, where guests gather to share the day’s adventures before dinner. In between, spend your time exploring Lizard’s languid waters; this is the only island resort where guests can simply wade into the water and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef

Enjoy the best of modern Australian cuisine

Executive chef Mark Jensen delivers an impressive menu of modern Australian cuisine with a distinct South East Asian twist at the resort's Salt Water Restaurant. The menu revolves around simple dishes sourced as locally as possible, with a focus on fresh seafood. Most produce comes from Far North Queensland. Standout dishes include the coral trout fish cakes, melt in the mouth Asian beef cheek, or the stunningly simple seared black kingfish. Dishes are paired with wines hand selected for the resort by Australian sommelier and wine critic Jeremy Oliver. 

Have a picnic on a private beach

The island offers 24 white sand beaches, meaning you can easily find yourself “marooned” on your own private patch of paradise. Staff will even pack you a picnic hamper and offer a motorised dinghy, so you can set off on your own private exploration above and below the Coral Sea. Alternatively, they will take you to whichever beach you would prefer and return to pick you up when it suits you.

Dive or snorkel at one of the world's best dive sites

Go for a dive at the Cod Hole, a reef-encircled sand patch renowned for its huge, but friendly, potato cod. It’s considered one of the world’s top 10 dive sites, not only for the friendly fish, some of which are up to 60 years old, but for the particularly spectacular array of soft and hard corals in bright technicolour. Cod Hole is located roughly an hour's boat ride from Lizard Island, and its remoteness contributes to its beauty.

Climb to the top of the island

Take a self-guided hike to Cook’s Look, which British explorer Captain James Cook climbed in 1770 in search of safe passage. On the climb to the 360-metre (1181-feet) pinnacle, take in impressive views of Watsons Bay, the outer reef and across the entire island. At the top, don't forget to sign your name in the log book.

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