A Journey to Lizard Island Resort on the Great Barrier Reef

Lizard Island Resort, Australia’s northernmost beach resort, is truly secluded from the rest of the world. The property is literally on the reef; no long boat rides are needed to enjoy one of the greatest natural wonders of the world.

For my family, Lizard Island Resort was the highlight of our entire amazing Australia tripThe island is breathtaking and, in the words of one of the many wonderful staff members, “a place that touches your soul.”

There is no mobile phone reception, and WIFI is offered only in the lobby and restaurant areas, which is nice because people actually talk to each other. It also forces you to really relax and reconnect with your familyisn’t that what we all need? 

Lizard Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
What a panorama from our Garden View Villa!


Barefoot luxury best describes the resort. The rooms are lovely and light-filled with simple, mostly white decor that makes the colors of the ocean pop the moment you walk into the room. Beds are incredibly comfy and the minibar is well stocked. The balconies are spacious with a lovely daybed to relax on — you will never tire of the view!

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We were in a garden view suite perfect for a family of four, with a private bedroom and a pullout sofa in the living area. There was space enough for a rollaway so that our kids did not have to share the sofa bed. Although our room was in the Garden View category, we still had a fabulous vista of the sea.

Lizard Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
View from the beachside restaurant


All meals, house drinks and wine are included in the rate. The food was consistently excellent at every meal with a good selection and a different menu each night. There is no kids’ menu per se, as the resort is for ages 10 and up, but they do offer a “simple menu” upon request, with options that appealed to my 12yearold finicky eater. 

Lizard Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
We loved that each of the private beaches was a unique experience


Almost all activities and equipment are included, except fishing trips and trips to the Outer Reef. Guests can take a complimentary dinghy to explore the island — a must-do! I highly recommend ordering a picnic lunch the night before and spending the whole day on the water exploring one or more of the 24 private beaches.

The guides at the beach hut are very helpful, giving instructions on how to operate the boat and advising on which beaches are best to visit. Your ideal beach will be based on the day’s weather conditions and type of experience you are looking to have, as each one is unique.

Lizard Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
Snorkeling in the clam gardens on the reef right from the beach

The giant clam gardens are particularly amazing. We have snorkeled in the Caribbean and Mexico, but we have never seen this many fish before. The colors were incredible! We were lucky enough to see a small (and harmless) reef shark, and we also swam with large sea turtles, yet another experience we’ll never forget. If you don’t fancy snorkeling, you can see lots of marine life from the glass-bottom kayak.

In addition to the water activities, the island has some great hiking. A standout is the beautiful 3-hour hike to “Cook’s Look” summit, named after explorer James Cook, who discovered the island. For a less ambitious hike, I recommend the 30-minute walk to Chinaman’s Ridge to watch the sunset. We were pleasantly surprised when we reached the top to find one of the resort staff enjoying his free time playing guitar. My husband had come prepared with a backpack and a nice bottle of Australian wine the beach staff had readied for him … a perfect end to a beautiful day.


The resort’s spa, fitness center and boutique sit by the outdoor pool. There are also yoga classes, but we did not have time to try any of these.

Lizard Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Getting There

The island is 240 km north of Cairns and is accessed by a 1-hour scenic flight, landing on the island’s private airstrip. There are only two flights on and off the island per day, so it can be tricky to coordinate connecting flights in and out of Cairns.

Relevant Links:

Browse all destinations and activities in Australia on Ciao Bambino

Live with a CB! Trip Planner: Best places to visit in Australia and New Zealand with kids

The perfect 2-week itinerary for visiting Australia with kids

Best of Australia: Kids share why they loved their trip down under

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef with kids

Editor’s Note: Lizard Island Resort provided a media rate in order for us to review the property for families. As always, all opinions are our own on Ciao Bambino. Photos by Sandy Pappas.

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