Being divers, we wanted to explore the Great Barrier Reef. So on two of our trips to Australia, we stayed one time at Hayman Island Resort (in the south part of the reef) and Lizard Island Resort (north part of reef) the other. Both trips took place the first week in April. VERY DIFFERENT PLACES AND VERY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCES. HAYMAN ISLAND We flew into Hamilton Island and boarded the Hayman boat for the cruise through the Whitsunday chain of islands to Hayman Island Resort. Check in is accomplished on the boat while sipping champagne and taking in the views. Upon arrival, bags are handled by bellman and a shuttle drives you to your destination. We stayed in the more exclusive East View rooms which are more private than the West. They also have some villas, but I did not even see where those were located. Hayman, besides the views, is about luxury in a manmade atmosphere. Some travel rags have stated "It is Australia's most luxurious resort". There are temple doors, Persian carpets, statues all over. TVs in the room. It is also a large resort w/over 170 rooms and 45 suites. There are two fine dining restaurants, a french and Asian. They are open on alternating nights. Both were very, very good, preferred the Asian though. The dive boat is huge and well run. Upon completing the dive, you are offered fresh fruit, sandwiches, and drinks in a buffet style on the boat. You never touch your equipment, except when putting it on. There are two pools. One huge one that you see when you go to the website and a smaller one we preferred. I sometimes felt like there were many people at Hayman, but in no way was I stressed or overwhelmed by the number of people. The Hayman website is: www.hayman.com.au Taking the boat back to Hamilton Island was a sad, yet slow way to leave paradise. LIZARD ISLAND Lizard Island is a 1 1/3 hour flight north/northeast of Cairns. There is only one commercial flight (Quantas) in and out, so we chartered our own small plane to fly us in early on our arrival day and depart the island late on our departure day. Upon arrival on the airstrip, the hotel van picks you up. You check in at the central building which houses the bar and restaurant. Lizard Island lets the surrounding beauty take you in versus the Hayman luxurious style (not that we liked one over the other). The 40 rooms are separate from the above building and are a single floor design. Rooms are nothing special but are VERY comfortable. A sliding glass door leads to your own small patio and the ocean beyond. (40 yards) As the name of the island suggests, there are lizards on the island, some IMO, quite large (4' tip of tail to head) but they do not bother you. Although some did not move off the walkways until the very last moment before you stepped on them. All meals are served in the main building, which has a curved porch w/open air seating. Staff was attentive at all times. There is a "mountian" called Cook Mountain. It is 500' above the sea and quite a hike. The resort made sack lunches for us to take along. The views from the top are awesome. The resort has small outboard boats that you can take to go around the island to the various secluded beaches. Again, they will pack a lunch for you to do. They also offer small catamarans. I knew that others were staying at the resort due to the dinner area being full when we dined, but we never really saw other guests on the beaches or hikes. Only ran into them when diving or dining. The diving, IMO was far superior in the North Great Barrier Reef. Unspoiled coral everywhere, no white spots or blemishes. The dive site, Cod hole, had 300 lb Potato Cod. the bay near the resort had 600+ lb Queensland Groupers. The resort has a small pool, but there was never anyone there when we were there. Lizard Island's website: www.lizardisland.com.au - The above reviews were of trips we took a number of years ago, so things might have changed since we were last there. Seeing as we are thinking of once again visiting the Great Barrier Reef, I'm hoping someone can either add to or discuss other islands on the Great Barrier Reef.