LIZARD ISLAND’S FIRST-CLASS MAKEOVER
For more than 20 years Lizard Island had the top end of the market to itself.
It was the benchmark against which all Australian resorts were judged. Well-heeled internationals insisted it be included on their itinerary, home-grown celebrities used it as a bolt hole and the rest of us aspired to join them.
But things change. It’s a bit more crowded at the top since Kangaroo Island’s Southern Ocean Lodge, Saffire on the Freycinet Peninsula and Wolgan Valley in the Blue Mountains opened their doors.
Lizard hasn’t been getting the mentions she used to. Well, that’s about to change because Lizard has. She’s had a serious spruce up.
Wisely, her newish owner, Delaware North, has not tried to reinvent the wheel. Despite the big reputation, Lizard is not at all intimidating or, heavens forbid, glitzy.
When you get down to tin tacks, Lizard’s trump card, besides being the northern-most island on the Great Barrier Reef, is that she is the quintessential Australian beach house, albeit one that can house 80 guests and comes with warm and welcoming staff who seem to know what you need before you articulate it.
And like any beach house anywhere in Australia, within minutes of arriving you feel like you belong… and that you might never want to leave.
The resort is not big, although the island is – 1013 hectares. The facilities, including spa, pool, gym, library and the 40 guest bungalows, are nestled in among the vegetation along Anchor Bay, one of the island’s 24 picture-perfect beaches.
The main pavilion, which is where you do your eating, drinking and socialising, has got the wow factor in spades. It’s one big open room and veranda. There’s lots of wood, comfortable sofas and banquettes (upholstered in crisp striped cottons courtesy of the recent refurbishment), a well-stocked bar and tables and wicker chairs define Ospreys Restaurant (above).
It’s gorgeous but the view is better. How could it not be?
Hopefully, you’ve seen the colour of the waters of the Great Barrier Reef for yourself, so you know it’s impossible to describe adequately. At Lizard add a white sand beach, glimpses of rocky islands and a small flotilla of super-smart yachts, marlin boats, dive boats and dinghys into the picture. Divine.
There’s no pressure do anything at Lizard and that, I reckon, is the secret of its enduring appeal. You can loll around all day staring at that view if that’s what you want.
The expansive day beds on the verandahs of the guest bungalows are perfect for just that, let me assure you. That said, most guests are on Lizard to see the reef.
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