Great Barrier Reef Resorts Australia

Discussion in 'Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific' started by Sweet Willie, Nov 2, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

    Likes Received:
    Status Points:
    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.



    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:

    Taking the boat back to Hamilton Island was a sad, yet slow way to leave paradise.


    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:
    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.
    merice107 and Toula like this.
  2. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Likes Received:
    Status Points:
    I enjoyed Green Island. It's small, perhaps about three miles long so that it's walkable, and IIRC the hotel has about forty rooms. It's easily accessible from Cairns via an hour long hydrofoil ride. Being a hotel guest gets you a special waiting room that resembles a very basic airport lounge, but not reserved seating on the boat, which will be crowded with daytrippers and folks going beyond to dive.

    The island itself is coral. There are glass bottom boat trips, free for hotel guests, an underrwater viewing thing, a small zoo with crocs of all ages where you can hold a young one, and a tropical forest walk with signs identifying stuff, partly on a boardwalk. The island has a large heated pool and a smaller unheated one exclusively for hotel guests. There is a collection of souvenir shops. The restaurant has good food, especially the fresh fish special creations that you can ask the cook to acquire on his morning trip to the mainland fish market.

    This property seems cheaper than Hayman and certainly Bedara, but more expensive and luxurious than most of the Great Barrier Reef choices. Rooms are basically junior suites with sunken living rooms and patios, very nice bathrooms, bathrobes, slippers, and nice toiletries.

    I liked it very much.
    merice107 and Sweet Willie like this.
  3. merice107

    merice107 Silver Member

    Likes Received:
    Status Points:
    I figured I would bump this thread to see if anyone has any experience booking any GBR hotels with points. Seems like not many options...
  4. SYD

    SYD Silver Member

    Likes Received:
    Status Points:
    Hilton has two properties in Cairns (Hilton and DT). Looks like the DT (formerly HI) has reasonably cheap Points+Pay options. Obviously neither are out on the reef/Islands, but there are day trips or overnight tours out to the reef from Cairns and Port Douglas.

    A recent review/article of the DT at the link below:

    Accor have several properties in Cairns and Palm Cove.

    Anyone flying a long way into/out of CNS could use HH or AClub as a stopover point or longer stays.
    Zomby Woof likes this.

Share This Page