great barrier reef resorts

Jul 5th, 2005, 07:51 PM
  #1  
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great barrier reef resorts

I would appreciate any recommendations for a resort on one of the GBR islands. There will be 2 adults and two teenagers. We want excellent snorkeling and not tons of other people. Price is not the main requirement. Thankyou Jim
sabbin is offline  
Jul 6th, 2005, 05:02 AM
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sabbin...essentially you have three choices for resort islands right on the reef. In order of increasing price/luxury: Lady Elliot, Heron and Lizard. I leave Green Island off the list because it is overrun with day trippers and the snokeling is not so good, even though it is right on the reef.

Been to Heron Island several times and love it, though I hear the birds that nest there during Nov-Mar can be a nuisance for some.
RalphR is offline  
Jul 6th, 2005, 02:11 PM
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The resort and the Island of Hinchinbrook is probably the best that the GBR has on offer. Because it is NOT owned by a large combine like P&O it does not attract the advertising that the others do but it is a National Park and has a most diverse and beautiful geography together with trips to other areas. It has also won the award for the "best tourism place" or something or another these last 2 years.
They have family accommodation and I think the kids would like it the best as they can get away and do their own thing without the adults.
I will check on the web-site for you and post it for your information.
lizF is offline  
Jul 6th, 2005, 02:15 PM
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Here is the website for you
http://www.hinchinbrookresort.com.au/island.html
This is one of the good things about being a Queenslander and living here for 45 years - you get to know these areas and the absolute best places to go. This is one of them!
lizF is offline  
Jul 6th, 2005, 04:20 PM
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Excellent suggestion of Liz's, Hinchinbrook is our largest National Park island. Its not far off the coast at Cardwell, about half-way between Cairns and Townsville. Plenty of nature with sandy beaches and well forested volcanic peaks - you can often spot dugong in the channel. AS Liz says, it doesn't receive the "hype" of the three priciest island resorts which are Bedarra (south of Cairns, off Mission Beach), Lizard, some 270kms north east of Cairns and Hayman which is further south in the Whitsundays. Bedarra definitely does not take kids under 16yo, Lizard does and am not sure about Hayman.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jul 7th, 2005, 07:54 AM
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But if "excellent snorkeling" is the main driver, is Hinchinbrook island really the place to recommend, as nice as it is? It's a continental island close to shore, not associated with the reef proper.
RalphR is offline  
Jul 7th, 2005, 10:18 AM
  #7  
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Thankyou to everyone who responded. If it makes any difference we really want to be able to do somr great snorking/diving on the GBR. We also want to spend a few days in the rainforest so getting to these areas will play role in our decision. I appreciate all your time. Jim
sabbin is offline  
Jul 7th, 2005, 02:16 PM
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We stayed at Daydream Island resort in the Whitsundays this spring and found it wonderfully relaxing. We were there with younger children and it suited us well but there were people of all ages. It's about a 4 1/2 star or so.

There is good snorkelling right on the island at Lover's Cove as it's called and around there. Nice soft coral and lots of fish (especially when the glass bottom boat comes by to feed the fish!). I was surrounded by swarms of parrotfish in ankle deep water - very cool.

One downside is that there isn't really a sandy beach on the island. It's a long way to rainforest I would guess but the trek across the island is nice and there are lots of day trips (didn't do any since we'd been travelling already for 3 months and just wanted to chill). It's not of course in the same league as Heron, Lizard or Hayman but we've travelled alot and this was a very nice resort. We found the Whitsundays to be as beautiful as all the helpful people on this board say - a piece of heaven.
Conny is offline  
Jul 7th, 2005, 02:19 PM
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Sorry but I also meant to add that Daydream isn't on the outer GBR but is in the GBR marine reserve and is considered part of the reef so to speak (for those of you who want to clarify my murky explanation - feel free).
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Jul 7th, 2005, 02:58 PM
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Ralph, as you live in the US and do not have a vast knowledge of the area like we locals I guess you would not know that one of the best dive and snorkling trips can be obtained from Hinchinbrook Island which is closer to the more secluded dive areas than most of the other islands .
Sabbin: here is another site http://www.hinchinbrookresort.com.au/comet.html
where you will see one of the better dive operators and you also get to dive on a shipwreck if you want.
Just because Hinchinbrook is close to the mainland does not mean that it does not have the facilities or the access to some of the really great spots on the GBR. In fact because it is as big as it is it has its own rainforest adventure areas to boot. At least it takes more then 15 minutes to walk around as does Heron and it is easier to get to and from because its near a main airport and not a provincial one like Heron. The cost of getting to Heron although it is closer to Sydney is far greater than getting to Hinchinbrook because there are always specials to Cairns etc. Furthermore everything else is so close around there compared to Heron where you would have to get back to the mainland, get another provincial flight to a rainforest area etc at quite a considerable cost and time factor.
Myself and others who have lived in Queensland for most of our lives can vouch for the facilities and the uniqueness of Hinchinbrook and for what its worth that is the place that we, as locals, would go if we were going to any island in the tropical north whether it be for snorkling, diving, relaxing and for family fun.
Hinchinbrook is also close to some of the best hinterland of the tropical north i.e. white water rafting, rainforest, waterfalls, Mission Beach, Atherton Tableland etc etc.
lizF is offline  
Jul 8th, 2005, 11:12 AM
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Liz, After going to Hinchinbrook if we wanted to stay in Port Douglas where would you recommnd? We would prefer a beachside resort with some activities but not massive. Thanks Jim
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Jul 8th, 2005, 02:43 PM
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Hi sabbin: Going back to your original question where you say you don't want tons of other people, firstly then what time of year are you going? When I was in Port Douglas last week it was teaming with people - they were everywhere and it was hard to get a park! There is only the one beach per se in Port and it depends what time of year you are there as to the amount of people on it. However if you are coming between say October - May then you would not want to be swimming at the beach because of the box jelly fish and other nasties. There are hundreds of excellent accommodation places in Port - I would probably stick to the Sheraton Mirage is you want to get to the beach, have a nice resort and have golf etc but it is a little way out of the township although there is a shuttle bus to take you into town (???) I am actually very happy with PD as I went and had chips and gravy $5 for lunch at the pub and won $140 at the same time!!
I think I would be more inclined to stay at Palm Cove ( very nice but again lots of people) or one of the less frequently beach resorts like Thala Lodge comes to mind and its just south of PD with fantastic views and only the resort people there - not lots of other tourists.
To give you any more information we need more info from you i.e. time of year, whether you want people or not as perhaps one of the beautiful eco lodges in the Daintree/ Cape Tribulation area may be the go.
lizF is offline  
Jul 8th, 2005, 03:03 PM
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But Liz, what exactly is the snorkeling like right off the beach on Hinchinbrook? Sabbin's original question to me sounded like he/she was looking for an island with direct access to the GBR, not having to take a lengthy boat ride out there just as you would from the mainland. Based on my visits to other continental islands (Dunk and Brampton), I suspect that the answer is "not great", though not being a self-proclaimed local expert, I could be wrong.
RalphR is offline  
Jul 8th, 2005, 06:01 PM
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Hinchinbrook Resort does small snorkelling excursions to the nearby and quite isolated Brook Islands with good coral and marine life, a lovely introduction to GBR. They do not run the trip if wind is over 15knots, which I think is very civilised of them. The resort is closed in wet season from January to March and main clientele is Australian. Hinchinbrook Resort took out 2004 winner for North Queensland Eco-tourism, its very much nature-based and you won't find tons of other people.

If you want to be bang smack on the reef, go for Lizard, its on the doorstep. Lizard is not a heavily rainforested island like Bedarra, Dunk, or Hinchinbrook, in fact its rather arid and brown, a bit similar to most of the Greek Islands.

Agree with Liz re Thala resort, its gorgeous with wonderful Coral Sea views. Its at Oak Beach, 10-15 mins drive south of PD, very quiet and scenic area.
pat_woolford is offline  
Jul 9th, 2005, 08:35 AM
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This is becoming the hot posting for Australia and I appreciate all the input. We are planning to go in June 2006. In summary it seems that staying on Hinchinbrook Island or Lizard Island for the reef experience would be one option. The other would be to stay in Palm Cove ar at the Thala Resort and do day trips out to the reef and to the rainforest. Some people have posted snorkling trips with Wavelength to the reef or Daintree air to Lizard Island for the day. Could be a tough decision. Thanks Jim
sabbin is offline  
Jul 9th, 2005, 01:22 PM
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Sabbin: You probably have this but if not here is the web site for Thala
http://www.thalabeach.com.au/ and here is a site which lists accommodation etc in Palm Cove with links to other places. http://www.tropicalnorthqueensland.c...on.asp?ref=100
The time of year you are going is just on peak season for the Tropics with overseas tourists and Australians getting away from the cold of the south.
Swimming at beaches will be fine but during this time there is often a wind which is annoying if you want to go out on the reef anywhere.
Hope you enjoy the journey through the information - Liz

lizF is offline  
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