Do you know what’s awesome about honeymooning at Orpheus Island Lodge? Everything. I know it’s a big call, but I’ve put it out there and I’m not pulling it back. Tucked into a quiet corner of the Great Barrier Reef, this is the kind of paradise that’s just perfect for the post-wedding wind-down.
Here are 10 reasons this private island lodge ranks as one of my top Australian honeymoon destinations.
1. Rockstar Arrivals
Islands emerge from the mist of an afternoon rain shower when we’re twenty minutes into our helicopter flight from Townsville. By the time we reach Orpheus Island, it’s like we’ve come out the other side into paradise. Sunshine shimmers over an infinity pool, fringed by palm trees and half a dozen villas. We swing around an azure bay to touch down on a helipad right on the island edge. Less than one minute later, we’re standing with sparkling wine in hand. Now that’s the way to start a honeymoon.
2. First Name Basis
One tropical island, 28 guests, 14 suites and villas. They’re the kind of numbers holiday dreams are made of. The team know your name, your favourite drink, even your favourite water sport. Whether it’s the chef whipping up a cheese plate when we’re feeling peckish before dinner, or the marine team packing our gear into a dinghy so we can head out for a snorkel by ourselves, they’re never far away with what we need.
3. Relax Mode – Activated!
With so few guests to share the island with, there’s no shortage of spots to settle in and enjoy the view. We spend a morning reading on a day bed, hop into a kayak to work up an appetite before lunch, meander over to a hammock for an afternoon nap and test out the sunbeds to watch the sunset.
4. Slow It Down
Island life is simple. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and one daily activity are the only official agenda items. It might be a morning snorkel tour or an afternoon nature walk, but you could skip it and take out a dingy instead, packing a champagne picnic and mooring up at a private cove for the afternoon.
5. Wine and Dine
Whether it’s a bottle of red in your room or a beer by the pool, the lodge has a range of Australian wine, beer and spirits at the ready. Bartenders can whip you up a cocktail for an extra fee, but we’re content to serve ourselves from the bar fridges stocked with a crisp South Australian sparkling rose throughout the day. Evenings, we work our way through the red wines with a three-course dinner. On a honeymoon, especially on remote islands, the last thing you want is to worry about the cost of your food and drinks. At Orpheus Island, you’ll start the day with coffee and the likes of poached eggs and smashed avocado. Lunch is tapas-style dishes, always with dessert, and maybe a glass of wine, because why not, and dinner is an elegant showcase of local seafood and modern Australian fare.
6. Bliss Out
Ready to take the pampering up a notch? Gwandalan Day Spa hides away in the tropical gardens on the edge of the resort, where I’d happily spend the rest of my days. The spa treatments are all about relaxation – Deep Ocean Renewal facials take care of your face but also include scalp, shoulder and even a hand or foot massage, the Sapphire Sea Wrap is a decadent two-hour treat for your entire body with a native quandong mask and riverbed mineral salts. I emerge from my relaxation massage to see the sun sinking into the ocean. Still in my robe, I find a sun lounger on the beach to watch the last rays of the day.
7. Dive into the Great Barrier Reef
Orpheus Island National Park is your playground and the fringing reefs around it too. We head out on a snorkel excursion to sheltered bays and aren’t disappointed. Like the rest of the island, the fish seem laid-back and happy, undisturbed as we duck down for a closer look. Divers can head out on the dive boat with the crew, and there are also fishing charters for those who want to catch their dinner. The chef is always happy to serve up the day’s catch.
8. Soak Up The Big, Beautiful Bath
Yes, the bath deserves its own special call-out. Our South Suite has a private outdoor courtyard where we could read a book in the morning sun, but I only have eyes for the second courtyard behind our suite. The outdoor bathtub is wide and shallow, perfect for two people who are happy to perch their books (and wines) on the bath caddy, light some candles, and never leave.
9. The view. Enough said.
No matter where you are – walking to breakfast, lazing by the pool – you don’t need to go looking for the view. It will take your breath away. The Coral Sea stretches out before us, with islands in the distance, and it’s postcard-perfect. My favourite view is from the pool, where the infinity edge blends into the sea to form an endless ocean.
10. The little things make life easy…
Forgot your sunscreen? No problem. You’ll find bottles dotted around the common areas. Need a beach bag? Sorted. Every room has one. How about a yoga mat for a few early morning sun salutations? Yes, there are two in every wardrobe. Dirty clothes? Laundry is free of charge and done daily. Each guest gets their own water bottle to fill up, there are stubby holders to keep drinks cool, cold towels when it gets steamy. After dinner, herbal teas and hot chocolate sachets have been laid out ready for bedtime. You’ll want for nothing, just watch out, returning to the real world is a comedown!
Orpheus Island has the location, the luxury and a laid-back approach that raises the bar on Australian honeymoons.
Lisa was the guest of Northern Escape Collection.
About Lisa Perkovic: Lisa has spent the past decade travelling the world writing for Australia’s leading newspapers, magazines, and blogs about all things travel. Her own honeymoon was her pièce de résistance – an epic journey to the Maldives and South Africa. Now she loves nothing more than sharing destinations and tips to help other newlyweds work out how to have the honeymoon of their dreams.