Australia has 8,222 islands within its territory so there’s a lot to choose from but among these islands lie some exquisite pearls. Islands that not only have incredible natural wonders but also boutique accommodation that has many celebrities swanning through their doors. So, what makes these Australian islands with resorts so special? Apart from the eye watering accommodation prices, that is. It is these Australian islands’ unique locations combined with exquisite accommodation that offers a sanctuary in remote yet beautiful surrounds. Each of the following Australian Island resorts have many highlights plus some things it pays to be aware of. From tropical North Queensland to the mighty Southern Ocean, these are some of Australia’s most exclusive islands.
1. Lizard Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef
One distinguishing feature of Australian islands is the lack of palm trees or terrain that one would normally associated with a ‘tropical island paradise’. With Lizard Island, rocky outcrops, rough terrain and wild bush give this island the appeal of a handsome yet rugged Hollywood action hero. Lizard Island is located right on the Great Barrier Reef and is home to the exclusive Lizard Island Resort. Consisting of only 40 villas and suites, the property is located on the western tip of the island and has views of the bays and reefs that make up the Lizard Island group. With 24 beaches on the island to choose from there’s always a romantic spot to picnic or just swim and chill. This resort is laidback yet chic with all-inclusive gourmet food and wine. Apart from the resort’s remoteness, the Great Barrier Reef is the real draw card to Lizard island.
Pro: Luxury combined with remoteness and the Great Barrier Reef.
Con: The price of the air transfer from Cairns adds to an already expensive stay.
2. qualia, Hamilton Island
Located on Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday group of islands in Queensland, qualia is a sanctuary for the well-travelled and well-heeled. There are 60 pavilions to choose from, with views to the islands and waters of the Whitsundays, surrounded by the Australian bush. This property has many a guest reaching for their camera to take the obligatory postcard photo on arrival. One of qualia’s signature attractions, apart from those spectacular views, is its gourmet food and wine selection. The original owner, the late Bob Oatley, a renowned winemaker and yachtsman, was passionate about offering guests a unique luxury experience in a truly Australian setting.
Pro: Easily accessible and priced per couple, not per person.
Con: Watch out for the cheeky native cockatoos. They like treats and leave deposits on your glamorous balcony.
3. Capella Lodge, Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island has been World Heritage Listed to protect its natural beauty and unique flora and fauna. Comprising secluded beaches, lush rainforest and the southernmost reef in the world, this island paradise is a jewel of the Pacific. Adding to its natural beauty is Capella Lodge which is located under Mt Gower and Mt Lidgbird with stunning views of the mountains, reef and ocean. Lord Howe Island is not only for relaxation but also exploration, with the island’s unique plants, wildlife and scenery beckoning nature lovers. There are plenty of great things to do on Lord Howe Island. Lord Howe is often described as a typical Australian country town located in paradise. Capella Lodge offers guests the winning combination of a luxury retreat with world class dining and a petite spa, combined with the serenity and beauty of one of Australia’s true natural wonders.
Pro: Laid back luxury in an idyllic island paradise.
Con: Only a few rooms at Capella have the views you see on the website.
4. Southern Ocean Lodge, Kangaroo Island
Note: Southern Ocean Lodge was damaged during Australia’s bushfires in January 2020 and is currently being rebuilt. Please see the lodge website for updates.
South Australia’s Kangaroo Island is a haven for iconic Australian wildlife with a thriving population of koalas, kangaroos and echidnas plus numerous seals that sunbake on the pristine beaches surrounding the island. South Ocean Lodge has a prime position on the clifftops of Kangaroo Island to offer guests a full 180-degree view of the Southern Ocean and neighbouring bushland. Accommodation is in modern, architecturally designed villas that make the most of the impressive views. With much of the food and wine sourced from nearby South Australian provedores, the dining at this lodge is impressive. Guests can relax and take in their surrounds or venture out and get up close and personal with the native wildlife.
Pro: Stunning views, open bar and wildlife encounters.
Con: Having to pay in full two months in advance.
5. Saffire Freycinet, Tasmania
Tasmania is Australia’s largest island and a stunning example of wild alpine scenery mixed with Australia’s early European settlement history. One of the most iconic spots in Tasmania is Wineglass Bay on Tasmania’s east coast. Not far from this beautiful bay you will find Saffire Freycinet, an architectural masterpiece blended into the natural Tasmanian landscape. It has been constructed from native timbers with panoramic windows to give visitors the ‘wow’ factor.
With only 20 suites, this is the ultimate boutique lodge with stunning views to the Hazard Mountains and Great Oyster Bay and surrounded with lush Australian bushland. Dining sources the freshest local ingredients from providores and vineyards just over the hill. Saffire Freycinet is an epicurean’s delight. There is also a complimentary activities program that lets guests visit local vineyards and eat oysters while they are submerged in the bay (thankfully with no danger of getting wet).
Pro: Stunning views and local Tasmanian experiences.
Con: The eye-watering price (but you do get what you pay for).
Disclosure: If you win lotto, decide to visit one (or all) of these resorts and would like someone to carry your bags, the writer would be happy to help.
If you don’t have your heart set on an island, check out these 5 Stylish Australian Getaways and these beautiful Australian resorts which are adults only.