More about Paradise Bay Eco Escape
If you're looking for a blissful escape, head for Paradise Bay on Long Island. No ferries or pleasure boats to disturb the tranquility of this tiny resort that takes no more than 16 people at any one time (and absolutely no children or pets). From the first glimpse of the beach from the helicopter that brought us in from the airport on Hamilton Island, we were hooked.
The cabins have just been refurbished and are ultra comfortable. Nearly all the power comes from solar panels and the water is all collected rainwater. Led by Rebecca (aided and abetted by Ian), the staff are kind, thoughtful, cheerful, sociable and very hard-working.
Sailing every day (with snorkelling for those who wanted to) with boat skipper Kyle was a laugh from start to finish, although we have asked Kyle to learn some new jokes before we return. We had three course dinners under the stars enlivened by some dodgy guitar-playing and singing. And we fell in love with the idiosyncratic wildlife - a very determined bush turkey, beach stone curlews that wandered around the deck, agile wallabies bounding around the estate, pied oyster catchers on the shoreline, baby shovel head sharks in the gullies at high tide - absolutely delightful.
A highlight of our stay was a helicopter trip out to the further reaches of the Great Barrier Reef for a snorkelling experience that was truly memorable. The trip is timed to avoid the big crowds that arrive by ferry during the middle of the day, so you almost have the reef to yourself. A special mention for George and Mildred - a pair of the biggest, ugliest, 50-year old groupers you will ever see.
Our stay at Paradise Bay was the start of a four week trip to Australia and we could not have asked for a more perfect place. Highly recommended.
Paradise in the Great Barrier Reef
We booked our stay at Paradise Bay EcoEscape in September based on the reviews found on tripadvisor.com. Despite the recent ownership change and high expectations for our honeymoon, it is a credit to travelers like ourselves for their accurate reviews placed on this site but more importantly the staff at Paradise Bay that made our trip most memorable.
We found the location and`amenities exactly what we were looking for - an escape from cell phones, television and the internet. The helicopter flight over the Whitsunday Islands allows you an expansive view of the surrounding islands. Daily morning wake ups to an idyllic beachfront setting with made to order breakfasts was terrific. We made the most of our opportunites to sail with Kyall, the skipper, to experience snorkeling the reef, kayaking sea mangroves, swimming at Whitehaven Beach and even taking a turn at sailing the catamaran. The escape provides options of surrounding hikes, beachfront snorkeling, kayaking or even a quiet day on your private hammock.
We found plenty of wildlife to keep you involved. The cockatoos, curlews, Eddie, the wallaby, and friends, goanas, stingrays, shovel-nosed rays, reef tip sharks frequented the resort.
The credit for our wonderful stay belongs to those who looked after us. The hosts, Ian and Becs, were responsive to the guests every need - new ipod speakers, cappucino machine, private fans. The tales and stories of life on the reef made for great fun. This was complimented by the daily cuisine. From made to order breakfast, to daily surprise "lunch boxes" and the gourmet evening dinners, Ben and Andreas provided us with tremendous variety with their interpretations from various stops from around the world. Kelly and Sue looked after us and our bungalows with the greatest of care, especially the daily pillowtop surprise and tales of Sumi. We took great fun in the daily sails and stops with Kyall aboard the Wilderness Explorer.
By welcoming us as new friends to their home and all it has to offer, everyone made our stay a memorable experience.
Knowing our minimal impact on the environment makes Paradise Bay and our stay exceptional. As a result of the responsible use of the resources at Paradise Bay (solar power, water conservation, waste water treament, recycling, limited guests), "future friends" including ourselves can enjoy vacations to Paradise Bay. We look forward to revisiting "paradise" in the future.
Getting away from it all. Great.
We stayed here for the customary 5 nights (the minimum) as an end to our NZ/Aus holiday. We definitely recommend this as a place for the end of the trip and not the start as it's so relaxing. With no internet, other pleasure boats, noise, etc; this is a great place to really get away from the world for a while.
We found the staff exceptionally friendly. They will bend over backwards for you. As only a limited number of people can stay this gives the whole experience a friendly/personal feel.
During our stay the other guests were reasonably travelled and intelligent/interesting people. Everyone that was staying at the same time as us was from the US/UK/Aus.
Exceptional food - we didn't have a single meal that we could fault and we do eat and dine well whilst on our travels. It was great that the relevant chef for the evening would take the trouble to announce the meal and the detail of how it had been produced. A nice touch.
The wildlife in and around the lodge is great - much more than we could ever have expected... and that's before you've gone out on the boat..
The accommodation is as I was expecting for the money. Note that being eco focussed you do have to accept that there are restrictions in terms of using water/electricity - used sensibly it's no problem at all. For example there is no air con just fans in the rooms (as you'd expect from the eco credentials).
Whilst aiming at the top end of accommodation the lodge puts eco and wildlife first so it's perfectly possible you may find the odd small gecko inside your room or a turkey rummaging around outside. i.e. you are close to nature at all times. I should also mention the birds which are pretty noisy for their dawn chorus, but a few beers the night before will get u through that!
The daily boat trips are agreed each day depending on the conditions, and were great days out with entertaining skippers. The catarmeran is very stable and has shade if u wish to keep out of the sun on the trips.
Be prepared for the mosquitos. There are plenty and ensuring you're covered with insect repellant is important. The lodge has plenty of 'Rid' (brand) to hand if you run out.
We have some fantastic memories to take away with us and the closest we got to really wild wildlife whilst being away. Good value for money. Thanks to Ian, Rebecca, Kyle and the team. Great job and we may well see you again.
not so far from a real Paradise...
My wife and me stayed there at the end of our australian honey moon, and there could be no better way to finish it. The most relax, good food, beautiful boat life and snorkeling you could have. No boat in front, no tv, no cellulars, not more than 16 guests (we have been from 5 to 10) and a very kind crew working for you. The big majority of guests are all from Australia, UK and USA, we have been the first italians. We've really enjoyed the kitchen, with fresh food delivery every morning, good breakfast, good rucksack lunch on the boat and much better candle light dinner every day. And told from an italian, believe me it is. The resort has a big sailboat for the guests, with skipper and all the needed equipment, we visited nice places with that. The bungalows are well furnished, renewed some months ago, with beautiful bed, a lot of pillows, new bathroom, and a very private seaview veranda. We saw improvements every day, more important, as the new kitchen and equipments, and smaller, as some new soaps in the rooms etc. We really recommend it.
Lots of other reviews have told you how great this resort is in terms of the setting, rooms, food, people, wildlife and activities and all we can add is that they are all true! We stayed for the minimum 5 nights and regretted not having stayed longer. We were sad to leave. Eating with the other guests may not be everyones cup of tea but we met some wonderful people and had a lot of fun along the way too.
Bec and team do a fantastic job making it a unique experience for everyone and I hope that the new owner maintains the current ethos in the way it is run and the resort itself stays as perfect as it is.
one tip: You do not need anything apart from a few clothes! everything is there, suncream, insect repellent etc
We cant wait to go back
Will leave you smiling
I knew I was onto a good thing when the ‘heli taxi’ driver said: “People usually leave this place with a smile on their face.”
With the perfect cocktail of feasts for the eye and the palate, a truck load of adventure and a good dose of luxury, Paradise Bay definitely left me smiling.
I went on my own and given the wealth of activities and communal dining, I did not feel at all uncomfortable. It's not for those who want the typical cocktails by the pool and arctic aircon (who would?!) but it's one of the best holidays I have ever been on.
A Touch of Paradise
The ultimate getaway if you aren't after the 'glitz and glamour' of a five star resort. Exclusive and intimate - no more than sixteen guests, fine food, fine wine, sailing, snorkelling or just lazing in a hammock overlooking the tropical waters of the Whitsundays. Prices are all inclusive and, uniquely, no surcharge for single travellers - an important and ignored segment of the travel market.
After my stay at Paradise Bay the stresses of everyday life have vanished and I have made many new and interesting friends from across the globe whom I remember with a laugh.
Paradise not only in name
This was really the highpoint in our trip to Australia.
The staff at the lodge were fantastic. Bec and Ian were great fun and we enjoyed their company, likewise all the staff. From the second we stepped off the helicopter we knew we were in for a great time.
The food at the lodge is of a high standard and all guests are catered for. We were looked after fantastically by all staff members and were joined for most of our stay by the resort owner Peter, who was a gracious and generous host.
The daily trips on the resort boat are a must, the snorkeling trip to the reef is something that I will remember forever.
The only regret we had is that we only stayed for the minimal stay of five nights.
A flawless holiday
By now you'll have read a number of reviews raving about the place. In a way this one is no different, but it might help to give a feel for what you can expect. The only way in is in a 10 minute flight by helicopter. It's an awesome and exciting start to your stay. You'll have a weight limit on luggage as it's a small helicopter but you really don't need to take much. When you land you'll be greeted by the staff with a cool towel (helicopters are hot in the tropics). We landed 5 minutes after the Island's boat was due to set sail (10am) but the staff hilariously did everything they could to signal to the captain to come back which he duly did. We weren't expecting to be able to go out on the boat on our first day so this was a great bonus. The catamaran sails every day except Sunday (and also weather-permitting). As soon as we set foot on the boat the existing guests welcomed us, along with Captain Kyall. We were instantly made to feel part of the group and were chuckling away as we cruised out into the turquoise waters. You'll sail for probably an hour or two before dropping anchor on a deserted beach on one of the Whitsundays' islands. The cook prepares a packed lunch and you'll have a chance to snorkel, swim or bake in the sun. The boat will then take you back 'home', sailing for 2 hours or so, arriving at 4pm - just in time for tea and cakes/muffins etc. at the cool, open air gazebo lounge with your new friends. Kyall (the weekday boat captain) is a cheeky, smiling Kiwi who clearly knows what he's doing - both at the helm, and in the hospitality industry - just don't believe all of his stories! You can sail every day if you want and get as involved on the boat as you feel like. Some will sunbathe on the bow, others will throw out a line to try and catch their dinner and some will take the helm, raise the sail and crack jokes with the skipper. It's just bliss. We happened to be in the Islands during some poor weather but we still sailed (which was all the more exciting as the wind and waves picked up) and never felt unsafe or miserable. The Island has some 20 or more excursions which they'll run in consultation with the guests, usually over a glass of wine the night before. A popular trip is the ocean kayaking day trip, through the mangrove waterways, a labyrinth of still waters ideal for canoeing. We also took a trip which involved a leisurely rain-forest hike through Long Island (though helpfully punctuated by cocktails in the pool at the neighboring resort!). Outside of the day trips on the boat, the Island itself is just wonderful. It has recently been refurbished with a keen eye for design and luxury. It's still an eco-lodge and conscientiously limits its impact on the environment but it's been dusted with style and class and I could seriously have stayed there for days, weeks - so jealous of James (who we met) who'd stayed there for 16 nights! The food is amazing. There are two chefs who rotate in shifts. Andre, a gentle giant has Asia-Pacific influences and his Indian food was out of this world. Ben is an Aussie with a classy take on traditional dishes. Both complement each other very well and we didn't have a bad dish in 6 days of three course meals and breakfast! The ingredients are all fresh, brought in by boat daily and it's definitely gourmet. The wines are fabulous too (all complimentary from 6pm through til dessert - which might be 11pm!) The staff are perhaps the biggest asset to the Island other than the natural beauty of the setting. Bec (the manager) is amazingly attentive and the nicest host you could ever meet. She's also the resident botanist and will tell you all she knows about the flora and fauna. Ian is the weekend boat captain and offers a dry wit and a million stories from his life as a 'pro' windsurfer, yachtie and Aussie bloke! Lastly Kelly and Sue are bubbly hostesses who will do everything to make you relax and fall in love with the place. Add all this together and you'll just be in heaven. As everyone we stayed with felt the same about this special island it was too easy to chat the nights away, with a cool drink just shooting the breeze about the day's events and the world which seems a million miles away. As you stand on the helipad, on your way back to your cabin at night, take a look at the perfect moonlit sky, full of Southern Hemisphere stars and you'll wonder why anyone would want to be anywhere else...
Paradise at Paradise Bay
We spent 5 days and it was wonderful from the moment we got off the helicopter and were greeted by Sue and proceeded to get better every day. Every effort was made to take care of us in an individual way without hesitation. In fact, Rebecca went out of her way to make our last day the best by having us picked up at Whitehaven Beach so we could have an amazing last day sail.
The rooms are very nicely done, the fans a blessing, "common" areas where we eat and hang around extremely comfortable, the food excellent and abundant and the service what service should be. We sailed or were on the water everyday which was excellent and the wildlife at the Lodge, especially Edwina our Mommy Wallabie was always nourishing.
We were a bit concerned with eating meals at a scheduled time with others, but we really enjoyed the other people and it never felt uncomfortable. In fact, we really got to know and enjoy the others. The time schedule wasn't an issue either since meals were spaced out well enough.
If you go during rainy season, they have lots of bug spray which is needed. We were lucky that it rained mostly at night, which sounded wonderful and were witness to a show of lightning that was horizontal. Must be a Southern hemisphere thing.
Lastly, having no access to internet is a real blessing.
Go, stay as long as you can. It is worth every penny.