Australia’s borders are open: Travellers entering Australia no longer need to provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination status or take a pre-departure test.
Get up close to the Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage–listed rainforests on this three-day program of Port Douglas and Lizard Island that includes guided walks, alfresco dining, swimming and diving.
From your hotel in Port Douglas, transfer 20 minutes by road to the Mossman Gorge Centre in the Daintree National Park. Join the Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk for a 90-minute journey through this lush landscape. A local Indigenous guide will welcome you with a traditional smoking ceremony, before sharing their stories and traditions. Discover native bush foods, visit sacred sites and learn how to make ochre paint, then share a morning tea of damper and bush tea.
Return to Port Douglas for lunch at Hemingway’s Brewery. Overlooking The Reef Marina, this contemporary microbrewery can host up to 350 people for a seated lunch in the brewery, or 100 in the private function space, Upstairs@Hemingway’s. Once you’ve enjoyed a lunch of steak, pizza or seafood, sample Hemingway’s craft beers during a private tasting at the bar.
Tonight’s dinner is at the atmospheric Flames of the Forest, located just a 10 minutes’ drive south of Port Douglas. Once you arrive at this rainforest destination, you and your guests will be greeted by a fire dancers and the sight of hundreds of lights hanging from the trees. This unique venue features a permanent marquee, and can cater sit-down dinners for groups of 10 to 850 people.
Transfer an hour by road to the East Air terminal at Cairns Airport for your flight to Lizard Island. After a scenic one-hour flight over rainforest and coral cays, you’ll touch down on the northern-most resort in the Great Barrier Reef. Set on 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of National Park, this private island resort is home to 40 suites and villas, and is surrounded by 24 secluded beaches.
Begin your stay on Lizard Island with a welcome picnic on the beach. Then spend the rest of afternoon exploring the sea surrounding the island on a stand-up paddleboard or glass-bottomed sea kayak. Paddle across Anchor Bay for up-close encounters with the many corals, colourful fish and giant clams that call these warm waters home.
As night falls, make your way to The Pavilion. This exclusive retreat has been built on a ridge to take in panoramic views of the ocean. Enjoy cocktails and canapés on the deck as the sun sets, then head to Salt Water Restaurant, where you can opt for a seafood banquet on the open-air verandah or a more casual meal in the relaxed couch area.
After breakfast at Salt Water Restaurant, arrange a half-day Outer Reef Trip for snorkelling and diving. Beginners can start with a snorkelling lesson and a guided snorkelling tour just off the beach. Experienced scuba divers can visit one of the best known dive sites in the world, Cod Hole – a 45-minute boat ride from Lizard Island – where they can meet potato cod, reef sharks and tropical fish. For smaller groups of up to 10 people, charter the 15-metre (49 foot) luxury cruiser Fascination III. Return to Lizard Island for a picnic lunch on a private beach.
Once you’ve finished lunch, it’s time for an afternoon of pampering. Visit Lizard Island’s Essentia Day Spa for a luxurious massage, facial or water therapy treatment. Then relax by the pool or take part in a private yoga and meditation session.
Enjoy sparkling wine and canapés on a one-hour sunset cruise, suitable for groups of up to 28 people. Your dinner for this evening takes place on Anchor Bay Beach. Kick off your shoes for a barefoot meal on the sand, served under a blanket of stars.