You begin to see the beauty of the region even before you even reach the 11km stretch of coastline. A 25-minute helicopter ride from Cairns or an hour-long boat ride from Townsville will take you past miniature versions of the reef’s islands as the sea and sky meet in endless blue. The Orpheus Island Resort shares the island with the Orpheus Island Research Station, owned by James Cook University, where you can take a guided tour and speak to marine scientists about their research.
Things to do
Orpheus Island’s shores contain 1,100 of the Great Barrier Reef’s 1,500 fish species, and 340 of its 359 hard coral types. Where better to take a dive or snorkel and swim with some turtles or manta rays? Hop into a private motor-powered dinghy and explore the island’s more private bays and reefs. Make sure you visit Pioneer Bay’s giant clam nursery, occupied by huge molluscs up to three feet wide. Take a glass-bottom boat tour if you want to see the reef without getting wet, and you can snack on canapés on an evening cruise. If fishing is your thing, the waters off Orpheus Island are teeming with delicious fish, including Coral Trout and Red Emporer.
As well as ocean adventure, Orpheus Island has locally produced food and fine Australian wine to suit hungry and thirsty holidaymakers. The island’s most famous food experience is ‘Dining with the Tides’, a dinner on the island pier with the sun setting over the ocean. If you want to spend some time simply relaxing, chill out in your comfy hotel room, take a dip in the resort’s beachside pool or drop into the day spa for some island pampering.
Hotels in Orpheus Island start at AU$105 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.