As asked on the forums a short while ago Guru and I were looking for a short break, no kids, warm with snorkeling, great food and no more than 3 hours from Sydney. We were steered towards Paradise Bay, an almost unknown resort on Long Island accessible only by helicopter for resort transfers.
To slide into the 3 hour, no hassle requirement and because we ended up with 6 full days we “chose” Jetstar. Our flight up was on time, in fact we arrived 10 minutes early but was toddler central. As we breezed past the Hayman desk and watched 3 families with littlies hand over their details we breathed a sigh of relief, as we collected our luggage from the cart the “toddler from hall” careered in and out of everyone’s legs. During the flight he had played in the galley, run on the seats and generally made everyone’s flight less than enjoyable. What was more annoying was mum doing absolutely nothing.
After 15 mins we realized there had been a hitch in the system as no one had come to collect us for our heli transfer. PANIC, raised eyebrows and Guru’s here we go again look were all that was required. A quick phone call 20 mins later we descended on our piece of paradise.
Our welcoming party ushered us through to the open air and beautifully furnished gazebo, the resort explained we were offered a daytrip on the catamaran. This was an ideal way to start our winding down. Our fellow sailors were a honeymoon couple from NY and another older (but young at heart) couple also from NY. The skipper (Kyall) motored us around to Cid Harbour for a quick snorkel and then lunch on a lovely sandy beach. A perfect day and a prepacked lunch with smoked salmon and rocket salad, delicious chicken breast and a variety of snacks.
We arrived back into the resort at around 3.30pm with the tempting odour of date loaf (sorry Ben, memory of exactly every scrumptious afternoon tea is hard to achieve) wafting out to the bay. Showered and refreshed we watched Kyall in Sea Legs, the resort’s amphibious main transport vessel head on back to Airlie. Sea Legs itself is quite a sight, powered by outboard motor in the water and a mower motor on the land to propel 3 wheels, it certainly attracts attention.
The weather closed in and it poured rain for quite a few minutes giving us the chance to really investigate our room. Kanga room (aka Cabin 8) nestles between two palm trees with a spectacular view across the passage towards dense forest on the mainland. From the room you would swear you are the only person on earth. Now the scary word “eco” conjures images of basic and rustic and the room was none of these. The luxurious bed, soft linens, well selected furniture, in our case complete with a bentwing bat nestled on the back of the chair. (BONUS!!!!) The deck with a comfy king size hammock and timber furnishing made the perfect place to laze and take in the view, but we hardly used it because for most of our stay there was just 4 people, us and the honeymoon couple. The deck was the setting of the best meal, romantic candlelight dining with just the sounds of the waves lapping and the clouds turning pinks and grey.
The resort itself is very eco and Guru being the technical junkie had a tour of the generators, batteries and wotnots. You are encouraged to use the same towels, but these seem to be replaced at exactly the right time and whilst lighting is a little dim it is more than adequate to put on make up for dinner. Cleaning products are all phosphate free and the use of reusable containers for lunches and water bottles is a comforting thought. The showers are hot but boosted by gas but all water is fresh, rainwater and very safe to drink. It is comforting to know that you are not adding to the world’s environmental problems but still enjoying the same level of luxury as you do in most of the upper end resorts.
The next few days became a series of wonderful meals, good company and relaxing daytrips, each to a place selected by Kyall based on the prevailing weather. We kayaked with turtles, not just one or two, but a bay full with not another person in sight. We snorkelled on reefs and lunched on beaches and felt as though not another person existed. The food was scrumptious, an extra 2 kilos gained attests to the gourmet meals. The selection of wines included at dinner came from some of the great boutique wineries and regions Australia has to offer.
Two highlights spring to mind,other than the romantic, one amusing, the other more the norm.
Our perfect weather Friday saw us head to Whitehaven and chill out on the beach for a few hours then head to a great snorkeling spot not too far away. As I lazed on the trampoline of the cat heading back to the resort the afternoon flew by, perhaps because I had dozed off to sleep. A perfect way to end a great getaway.
The on island entertainment was provided by Kyall who had stayed a little longer on Thursday before heading back to the mainland, as the darkness enveloped us a figure appeared on the deck. Sea Legs had failed and Kyall had braved Oysters and rocks in the dark to return to the resort. His feet were sliced but he soldiered on the next day taking us on our magic trip. I must also add that Kyall’s enthusiasm for Balderdash and a medicinal drop also gave us an added topic on conversation on top of the delightful green waterproof footwear he improvised to keep his torturesd feet dry. I have to add this is not the norm, so don’t expect this kind of highlight!
During Friday we had a population explosion as two more “couples” joined us late in the day. We had very little to do with them as on Saturday morning Guru and I tackled the walk to the lookout and kayaked around the bay. Requite with Atlantic Salmon for lunch we boarded the helicopter for a reality check and back on JQ’s nightmare of children literally hanging from the ceilings on the plane. Luckily we got row 1....
Hints and Tips
If you want to be waited on hand and foot and laze by a pool, not the place for you.
If you want an intimate experience, fantastic food, good company in luxurious setting...right choice.
If you are worried about cobwebs and creepy crawlies that all belong in this environment...wrong choice.
If you like experiencing the delights of Australian Fauna and Flora without compromising on comfort...perfect choice.
If you want the opportunity to get to unspoiled beaches without the hassles of bareboating...this is for you.
The resort has plans to grow, but not in the number of guests, just in the experience it offers. A new boat has been ordered (Kyall, I’m going to claim credit if she get’s called Star of Paradise), there are plans for rainforest as well as beachfront dining and a sunset bar out on the point. All for no more than 16 guests. How could you ever be anywhere but Paradise.
So if anyone reads this and wants more info, just ask....I could write forever about the wonderful time we had!!