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ExpertTripPlanner Jan 3rd, 2007 08:09 PM

Is Lizard Island Really worth it?
I'm in the final planning stages for a two-week trip to Australia in early September. First-time visit. Flying Quantas from New York via Los Angeles and Sydney to Cairns (yes, a very long day!).

I start out at Thala Beach Resort, Port Douglas (3 nights),
then to Lizard Island (5 nights),
finishing in Sydney (4 nights) .

Great Barrier Reef has been lifelong travel dream, and FOCAL POINT for the trip. I figure I must also see Daintree area; eager to visit old friend relocated to Sydney.

The big question- is Lizard Island really worth it? There is so much hype around this property, and I am so clueless halfway around the world, I am concerned that I will not get a good (snorkeling) reef experience without it. I also want to keep as sane an itinerary as possible; I had to acknowledge that I just cannot do everything in two weeks.

Also, what are your thoughts about my distribution of time in each place? Cost is not a significant concern - - - I just want to limit aggravation and time spent "in transit." Thanks!

Tassietwister Jan 4th, 2007 03:00 AM

My dream for the Barrier Reef is to have my own boat and go to Lizard and wherever else. It is out of my budget but I can't think of a better way to see the reef and many many islands and cays. It costs a lot, maybe $2,000 a day with some crew to charter a boat but you will see whatever you want and have some shore stops also if you wish.

Otherwise everyone who has been to Lizard raves about it but thought I would throw in my dream trip :) if money was no barrier.

Louise Jan 4th, 2007 08:39 AM

I love to snorkel and have been to quite a few islands on the Great Barrier Reef. The one I would for sure return to is Lizard Island. Both times they were only day visits and spending more time there would be ideal.

SnRSeattle Jan 4th, 2007 09:30 AM

ETP, have you done a search on this forum using the windows above? There are lots of raves (and a couple rants) about Lizard. Like Louise, we have only been there on a day trip, but the snorkeling was fantastic. Giant clams and other great sealife right in front of our noses. The resort is way too expensive for us, but sounds wonderful. I think the resort has reef trips from there (for more $) that can give you more GBR experiences. If you are more into the snorkeling/diving than the resort experience, have you considered a liveaboard? There have been several postings here about the Spirit of Freedom out of Cairns (and we are booked on her, woohoo!) There are several trips that would give you a first hand experience with the reef, especially if you are a diver. We are on the 3 day Cod Hole trip because we are snorkelers. It ends up at Lizard for a flight back to Cairns, but you could just stay at the resort for the remaining 2 days if you wanted (and then pay for a flight back to Cairns.) Just an idea if you wanted more time in the water instead of at the resort.

Sally in Seattle, help, we're drowning in all this rain! Wish we could send it to Australia!

Louise Jan 4th, 2007 10:25 AM

Sally - I think that is a great idea. I was tempted to say that 5 nights might be too much and thought maybe they might just want to "veg" out. Splitting with a liveaboard sounds good to me. By the way, still working on that air back from Australia November 16th.

NancyNC Feb 16th, 2007 12:50 PM

We stayed 5 nights at Lizard in Nov 2003. It was worth every penny! Yes, it's pricey, but I really felt it was the type of place where you could say "Jump" and they would reply "How high". From the accomodations to the meals to the luxury of taking a skiff to your own private beach - it was truly paradise for us. It was SO relaxing, SO perfect in every way that I can't wait until the day that we go back.

QualMod Feb 20th, 2007 09:08 PM

I am also considering Lizard Island for next Dec07/Jan08. I have a couple of questions for those of you have been there: (1) What do you consider the best accomodation on Lizard Island (or the price. I am considering the Sunset Point Villas, but read on tripadvisor that the Anchor Bay Suites are nice too. View and privacy are important to me and I am willing to pay a bit extra for this (but I can't afford The Pavillion rooms :) and, (2) How far in advance should I book Lizard Island for 2 people over New Years eve? Thanks in advance!

cje Jan 10th, 2011 12:55 PM

any updates on this question? we are trying to decide between thala and lizard island the first w eek of april. thanks!

kiwi_rob Jan 10th, 2011 03:36 PM

I haven't been to Thala, so can't make a comparison with Lizard. I have been to Lizard twice, though. Like NancyNC, I thoroughly enjoyed it, for all of the reasons that she has stated. We were there for four nights each time and this gave us time to do plenty of snorkeling, climb Cook's Look, take a dinghy out for a picnic on a beach on the other side of the island, and just relax.

On our first visit, we stayed in an Anchor Bay Room and on our return we stayed in an Anchor Bay Suite. The suite was at the far end of the beach (towards Watson's Bay) and was spacious and very private.

I thoroughly recommend Lizard as a relaxing (if a bit extravagant) place to visit.


cje Jan 26th, 2011 06:54 AM

thank you! i notice you also went to bederra - did you like that better? still trying to decide between lizard island and port douglas for first week of april. there have been some less than stellar reviews of lizard recently that i am not sure what to make of - we don't want to spend all that money and be disappointed! snorkeling on the GBR has been on our wish list forever but i'm worried about getting seasick on the day trips from port douglas - that is one reason lizard island is so appealing - most people do say the snorkeling off the beach there is great. but for $2,000/night great service and lovely accomodations better be part of the experience! : )

kiwi_rob Jan 26th, 2011 03:55 PM

I would describe Bedarra as better than Lizard out of the water but Lizard as better than Bedarra in the water.

I didn't encounter any coral or other significant snorkelling sites at Bedarra, whereas the snorkelling opportunites at Lizard are great, particularly around the Clam Garden, which, although situated off Watson's Beach (the beach beside the beach on which the resort is located), can be reached as a short swim from the resort beach or by a short walk over a rocky outcrop separating the two beaches.

We found the food and accommodation at Lizard to be first-rate, but the quality may have fallen off since we were there, if some of the recent reports are correct.

The main walk at Lizard is up Cook's Look, but the vegetaion on the island is sparce.

Bedarra has similar quality accommodation and the island is covered in lush rainforest, making the bush walks more interesting. The dining at Bedarra was up a notch or two on Lizard. When we were there, there were only 4 or 5 other couples at the resort (or that we saw, anyway), and we virtually had our own private chef. The menu for each meal was excellent, but we were able to request pretty much anything we wanted and, if the ingredients were available, the chef obliged. If the ingredients weren't available, they were obtained for the next day, provided they could be sourced from the mainland. And then there is the open bar ... an interesting concept.


pat_woolford Jan 27th, 2011 03:37 AM

Seconding Kiwi Rob, Bedarra is too close to mainland to have much in the way of coral reefs. But it has a much more tropical feel than Lizard Island, being rainforested.

cje, as you are so interested in the reef and snorkelling opportunities, have you considered a liveaboard? As far as I know there are none out of Port Douglas these days but a couple of good ones out of Cairns are Spirit of Freedom or Mike Ball. These will give you optimum chances of seeing the very best of the Great Barrier Reef and are not limited to divers , snorkellers are welcome.

cje Feb 5th, 2011 01:45 PM

hi - thanks! i'm worried about getting sea sick so unfortunately i don't think i could handle this : ) - that's why we are thinking about spending a crazy amount of money to go to lizard island instead of staying in port douglas and taking the 2 hour boat ride out to the reef. it's such a hard decision!

cje May 26th, 2011 12:20 PM

is it worth it? - a resounding yes! we loved it! highlight of our trip to australia! and the snorkelling from the island was incredible - we were taken to a private beach every day and dropped off with an amazing picnic complete with cloth table cloth, glass champagne flutes, good french champagne, fabulous food including prawns as big as my hand! i will never forget our trip here.

kiwi_rob May 26th, 2011 07:41 PM

Great to hear that you enjoyed it, cje. It is not a place that is easy to forget.

StanKase May 29th, 2011 09:27 AM

The answer is Lizard Island is not worth $1400/day in the villa we were in but if your passion is snorkeling as ours is and you enjoy fine dining then you "grin and bear it" when paying the tab. I do think based flight arrival times you could go for 4 nights and have 3 full days but you might want to sign-up for snorkel trips prior to arrival.
I hear Hayman Island also has high quality snorkeling but I have not been there but the nightly rate is less and a friend enjoyed the food.

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