Hotel Highlights

  • 24 private, powder-white beaches, and shimmering azure waters
  • Beautiful, isolated island environment
  • Perfect for divers and anglers – the famous Cod Hole is a short boat ride away

Overview

17 miles off the Queensland coast, at the northernmost tip of the Great Barrier reef, Lizard Island couldn’t be more remote. With 24 ivory-white beaches to bask on, you’re guaranteed privacy, and, with, some of the most spectacular diving, fishing and snorkelling on the doorstep, the hotel’s as much a magnet for adventurous ocean goers as it is for romance-struck couples in search of real desert-island relaxation.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Lizard Island with us:

A bottle of French champagne

Special offers

Exclusive rates, packages and special offers at Lizard Island

Stay three or four nights and get AU$300 resort credit Stay five or more nights and get AU$600 resort credit

Facilities

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Need To Know

Rooms

40, including 18 suites and 15 villas.

Check–out

11am, but flexible subject to availability. Check-in, 2pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $1088.77 (AU$1,167), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates include three meals a day, alcoholic and soft drinks, picnic hampers and use of the motorised dinghies. Additional charges apply for Cellar Master list, degustation menus and room service.

Also

For a full-on pamper, Lizard Island’s Li’Tya-stocked Azure Spa specialises in body polishes, couple’s treatments and invigorating massages.

Please note

Lizard Island is closed until 30 June 2014, following damage to the property from Cyclone Ita.

 

At the hotel

Spa, gym, tennis court, library with books and games, TV lounge with free internet. In rooms: Bose sound system with CD player and iPod dock, free minibar.

Our favourite rooms

For privacy, book into one of the Anchor Bay Suites at the far end of the bay (numbers 23 to 26). These have expansive balconies offering glimpses through the trees to the tranquil turquoise waters of Anchor Bay and Sunset Beach, and a path straight from balcony to beach. Suites 17 and 18 have the best views and are suitable for families. In summer, stay in one of the Sunset Point Villas – numbers 5 to 8 look out onto Sunset Beach, where the sun sinks spectacularly below the horizon in the summer months. Honeymooners and celebrities usually opt for the Pavilion – secluded, luxurious and boasting sweeping beach views, a wraparound sun-deck and a private plunge pool.

Poolside

Surrounded by palms and with the sea as a backdrop, the hotel’s freshwater pool is lined with wooden decking and cosy cushioned loungers.

Packing tips

The hotel provides almost everything you’re likely to need, including snorkelling gear, wetsuits, beach towels and insect repellent. Do bring an underwater camera, however, to make the most of the unforgettable undersea panorama.

Also

There's no mobile phone coverage or reliable internet on the island so switch off and chill out (and leave your iPad at home). Two-night minimum stay.

Children

Lizard Island is very much a couple’s retreat, but kids over 12 are welcome.

Food & Drink

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Hotel Restaurant

Osprey’s – named in honour of the birds nesting on the tiny island that are visible from the restaurant – serves Modern Australian dishes with a seafood bias and a barbecue every Friday. It’s set in an open semi-circular building, with lacquered hardwood flooring, comfy wicker chairs, chunky granite tables and gasp-inducing views.

Hotel Bar

Guests sip champagne and swap stories at the restaurant's L-shaped marble bar. Cocktail nights are held every Thursday in the gazebo.

Last orders

Osprey’s cooks its last dishes at around 9.30pm, and the bar closes at midnight.

Room service

Not available as the resort is so spread out, but request a free picnic hamper if you fancy a beach outing.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Gucci sandals (the boardwalks eat heels), flowy sarongs, big sunglasses and even bigger hats.

Top table

Tables 9 and 10 are the top spots for admiring the view by day, but once the sun goes down there’s no view to speak, so any table will do. Although the resort doesn’t do reservations, staff may make an exception if you've a proposal in mind.

Local Guide

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Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Osprey's is the only dining option on the island – there's nothing by way of civilisation except the resort and the research station. Not that that's a bad thing, given that all meals are included and the five-course tasting menu will fulfil all fine-dining requirements.

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Rugged island Eden

Lizard Island

The Great Barrier Reef, The Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, Australia

Lizard Island is Australia's northernmost island resort. 240km north of Cairns and 27km off the coast of Queensland, the resort is set amidst 1,000 hectares of land and marine National Park, covering 24 sugar-white sandy beaches and one topaz hued lagoon.

Planes

Cairns Airport (www.cairnsairport.com) services international and domestic carriers, with regular flights from major Australian cities, as well as direct flights from Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Auckland. Check out Qantas (www.qantas.com.au; 13 13 13), Jetstar (www.jetstar.com; 131 538), Virgin Australia (www.virginaustralia.com; 13 67 89), Air New Zealand (www.airnewzealand.com.au; 13 24 76), and Cathay Pacific (www.cathaypacific.com/au) for flights to Cairns. From Cairns you will have to take a transfer with Hinterland Aviation (www.hinterlandaviation.com.au; 07 4035 9323) to Lizard Island.

Trains

Queensland Rail (www.qr.com.au; 13 16 17) offers two Tilt trains and three Sunlander departures from Brisbane to Cairns weekly. You will then need to fly from Cairns to Lizard Island.

Automobiles

This unspoilt tropical island paradise is thankfully a non-auto atoll.

Other

Private transfer charter flights to Lizard Island are available upon request. Talk to the staff at Lizard Island if your entertaining this option.

Reviews

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Anonymous review

by Angus Fontaine , Hotel-loving hack

This review of Lizard Island in Great Barrier Reef is taken from our guidebook Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection Australia/New Zealand.

Pigs can fly. And when they jet to Lizard Island they can swim, snorkel, sail and scuba dive, too. They can even charter private dinghies to secluded beaches and frolic ...

Read more

Lizard Island

Anonymous review by Angus Fontaine, Hotel-loving hack

This review of Lizard Island in Great Barrier Reef is taken from our guidebook Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Collection Australia/New Zealand.

Pigs can fly. And when they jet to Lizard Island they can swim, snorkel, sail and scuba dive, too. They can even charter private dinghies to secluded beaches and frolic on the sand. For this little piggy, Lizard Island promised one long trough (for two) – a rare opportunity to swine and dine and snuffle out truffles in paradise. ‘Take my trotter,’ I told my love. ‘We’ll live high on the hog 24/7 until they drag us squealing wee-wee-wee all the way home.’

Mrs Smith and I fly to Lizard Island from Cairns at the northern tip of Queensland. It’s a 240-kilometre, hour-long flight and our four-seat plane is soon dwarfed by the duelling big blues of ocean and sky. Below is the only patch of the planet where two World Heritage-listed locations – the Great Barrier Reef and ancient Daintree Rainforest – kiss. It’s here Lizard Island looms into view. From a distance, its thousand-hectare sprawl is as Captain Cook discovered it in 1770, but closer inspection reveals the jewels that make it so exotic and exclusive a getaway.

Lizard Island resort sounds like a love shack built by God and Godzilla, yet a short bus trip from the airstrip reminds us of its Marine National Park status. There are no manicured gardens or sprinkler-strewn golf courses here. Instead wild scrub and rocky mountain ranges dominate an interior hemmed from a turquoise sea by powdery white sand and a nexus of 40 private villas, rooms and suites overlooking Sunset Beach and Anchor Bay. Our TV-free timber Anchor Bay Room is nestled amid a forest of trees with a day-bed and balcony bang on Watsons Beach. One quirk: it’s a share suite. Tiny cute geckos dot the walls and, in the days to come, we strike a deal: they keep the insects down; we let them share our digs and drink our wine.

The resort’s nucleus is the Lodge, home to a grand bar and restaurant whose decadent contents are totally free for the duration of our stay. And what marvellous liberties it affords us. Crude reminders of the real world – wallets, cash, credit cards, watches and mobiles – are stowed. Hell, there aren’t even keys to the suites or price lists for the minibar. On Lizard, you come, go and do exactly as you please. And what pleases us immediately after arrival is toasting our new home from the Osprey’s Restaurant by swilling several mojitos, pigging out on cuttlefish salad and rabbit ragu, and soaking up a panoramic view of the wide blue yonder that, like the food and booze, is absolutely priceless.

Alas, while gluttony is encouraged on Lizard, our plans to render inactivity an art form are diverted by the Beach Club. Here we’re kitted out with snorkelling gear and given our own motorised dinghy and a picnic basket laden with delicious treasures of the sea and soil. Soon we’re puttering across the Blue Lagoon to deserted Mermaid Beach. Donning masks and flippers, we gorge on the glories of the Great Barrier Reef: swarms of neon-bright fish grazing hectares of spectacular coral gardens and underwater canyons filled to the gills with enchantments like starfish, stingrays, squid, sea cucumbers and giant clams older than us and lit from within by flickers of electricity and mystery. It ignites our own passions and we clamber back to land and roll blissfully in the sand. Afterglow accompaniment? Fat prawns, fresh fruit and chilled champagne. Happy daze.

In the days that follow we’re tempted to explore Lizard Island’s other delights – the various walks, dives, fishing trips and yachting available to guests, the tour of the research station on the island’s south side and the ruins of a stone cottage of an ill-fated early settler – but the truth is we simply can’t be bothered, and here that’s respected. Instead, we while away mornings in a haze of lobster omelettes, breakfast beers and reef snorkelling. Afternoons are spent beachside with books, cocktails and covert dips between rocks and hard places. When tropical night falls, we wander to Osprey’s and mercilessly assail the bar while running riot through chef Mark Jensen’s ever-changing menu of gastronomic triumphs. Finally, with cheese platter and posh bottle of plonk in tow, we weave back to base and wink out on the day-bed, our soundtrack the trill of the birds and bugs in the trees and the lapping ocean beyond, and our cinema the reef of stars above.

Our final morn dawns with my finding a gecko in a glass of grenache. He’s dyed pink and pissed as, er, a newt. It’s a sign: the party is over. As he staggers into the bush, front desk rings to grant our request for a late check-out. (‘How late?’ they ask. ‘Christmas?’ Mrs Smith replies.) We can’t complain. Aside from an elbow-heavy masseuse and a siesta chainsawed by a ride-on mower, they’ve met our every whim and wish. Now, sipping one last cocktail, we try to tattoo on our mind’s eye the magic of a sacred place the Dingaal Aborigines know as Jiigurru. To them, this land mass is a stingray with Lizard Island as the body and adjoining rocky outcrops as the tail. Here, at the bar, it’s easy to believe it. To them and to us, Lizard Island will always be Dreamtime.

The Guestbook

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