Word is out – Lizard Island is fully refurbished and open for business again after being pounded into the sand by cyclones Ita and Nathan.
The full opening, heralded on Tuesday evening with a function at the Australian Museum, marks the end of a 16-month renovation process to repair damage caused by the two cyclones and refurbish the resort.
Lizard Island offers 24 powdery-white beaches and 40 luxurious suites. It’s the most northern resort in tropical Queensland and is located directly on the Great Barrier Reef. The island also hosts an important coral reef research station.
The resort is operated by Australian Parks and Resorts at Delaware North Companies, whose executive director, Greg Magi, apologised to the travel industry last night.
“Apologies to those who tried to book and re-book, and whose clients tried to book and re-book,” he said.
“To call people and say that their holidays have been cancelled – not once, but two, three or more times – they start to get a bit short with you,” he admitted.
Magi said 600,000 man-hours had gone into the re-build. Being “off the planet” for 18 months had not been easy.
“People say its just 40 rooms – but it’s 40 rooms to fill.”
Magi said the opening of the Marlin Bar marked the completion of the resort’s AUD 45 million refurbishment.
“The tireless efforts of our staff and partners over the past 16 months sees us in a really solid and exciting position to re-establish Lizard Island as a world leader in luxurious resort accommodation.”
Lizard Island has another role.
“It’s the best coral reef research station in the world,” Dr Rebecca Johnson, director of the Australian Museum Research Institute, Science and Learning, told industry guests.
Dr Johnson said oceans were growing warmer and CO2 levels were rising. Lizard Island was the perfect place to study such trends and their effect on coral. Researchers and student groups from any country are welcome to use its facilities to learn more about coral reefs. Fees are charged to cover operating costs. From research conducted at Lizard Island, about 100 scientific publications are produced each year. The information is used by reef managers to conserve coral reefs, which are proving to be an increasingly vulnerable resource.
On the tourist accommodation front, Magi said the completed Marlin Bar was perfectly timed, “with the waters surrounding the island due to welcome marlin from all over the pacific throughout the next two weeks”.
The Villa, representing the ultimate in aspirational luxury, features two bedrooms, both with en-suites, the master with a luxury bath, a spacious lounge with butler’s kitchen and an expansive outdoor area.
In Sydney on Tuesday evening, representing the tourism side and the scientific side of Lizard Island, respectively: Greg Magi, executive director of Delaware North Companies Australia Parks and Resorts; and Dr Rebecca Johnson, director of Australian Museum Research Institute, Science and Learning.
Both The Villa and the stunning Sunset Point Plunge Pool Villas boast a private plunge pool for guests. All room types host interiors by Melbourne-based designer Hecker Guthrie, “achieving the perfect balance of subtle sophistication and understated elegance”.
World-class culinary offerings emphasise fresh local produce to create a daily changing menu of modern Australian, Mediterranean and Asian flavours from executive chef Mark Jensen. The menu is partnered with a wine list curated by leading Australian wine critic, Jeremy Oliver.
The announced partnership between the resort’s Essentia Day Spa and luxurious Parisian skincare range, La Biosthetique, is another highlight of the resort’s revamp. Innovations include flat-screen TVs in rooms, hidden when not in use.
The resort is one of the Luxury Lodges of Australia collection. It occupies a small, exclusive-use section of Lizard Island, which is one of a group of six islands surrounded by coral reefs with an outer, ribbon reef.
A National Park covering 1013 hectares with 24 sandy beaches and a lagoon, Lizard Island is accessible only by private charter from Cairns Airport.
Written by Peter Needham