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“Glamping Island-Style” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Wilson Island

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Wilson Island
4.0 of 5 Specialty Resort   |   72 kms north east of Gladstone, Wilson Island, Queensland QLD 474, Australia   |  
Hotel amenities
Vancouver
Top Contributor
59 reviews 59 reviews
58 hotel reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
211 helpful votes 211 helpful votes
“Glamping Island-Style”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 6, 2011

My husband and I were only supposed to stay on Wilson Island for one night, but when we got there, we couldn’t leave. Paradise found demanded an extension of our stay.

Luxury tenting on Wilson was the GBR experience I was hoping for, only the reality was better. Picture a place where fine wines mingle with coral sand, gourmet fare compliments shabby island-chic decor and each morning you wake up looking out toward an ocean that sparkles.

Wilson is an eco-retreat that’s worth the splurge. With only 6 tents and an off-the-grid feel, the Island is the perfect host to the traveler who wants an idyllic Swiss Family Robinson retreat minus the family, with extra, thoughtful perks like a champagne sundown drinks with fine cheese, crudites and crackers. What makes this nightly tradition even more amazing is watching turtles swim along the shoreline or sharks mull about in the distance. Far from the everyday.

Wilson is none other than a soul-centering place where siestas are encouraged, nature gazing is a privilege and snorkeling right off the beach means you swim through glistening schools of fish, beside {harmless} reef sharks and above meandering turtles.

If you want to treat yourself to a unique vacation for the body, soul and spirit, Wilson is where you can find paradise. Long after you leave, it will still remain your ‘happy place.’

What to know
- Each sturdy, yet well-appointed tent has a king bed, wooden floors, a veranda overlooking the ocean, and a hammock and chairs.
- Each tent is assigned one private shower located in the bathhouse.
- The central bathhouse also has 3 unassigned toilets and a shared vanity.
- Gerri and Emilio were my {and likely your} hosts. Emilio is the Italian-born, well-traveled gourmet chef and Gerri is the wonder woman extraordinaire. They are selfless, hardworking, friendly and attend to your every need. It’s like they’ve multiplied themselves, because they manage to be everywhere, all the time. For example, you wake up and the entire sandy pathway linking the resort has been cleared and raked.
- Don’t bring your Sunday best, this is beach living at its best: casual, comfortable, unpretentious, undone luxe.
- The transfer from Heron to Wilson is by boat and takes between 30 and 40 minutes. It is usually VERY bumpy, so bring sea sickness meds.
- Try to stay 2 nights to get the full experience.
- At each lunch and dinner everyone eats together in the cozy-chic longhouse. Breakfast is less formal and people come and go based on when they awake.
- Feel like water, fine wine or chocolate? Yes please! Have it whenever you want by strolling by the longhouse and popping the bubbly.
- Find your way at night with a wind-up, LED hand-held torch.
- Finally, the people you meet on the island become the only ones who can fully understand the full extent of your experience. Visiting Wilson is an incredible privilege that must be appreciated and held dear. It is what you’ll talk about and hopefully remember with vivid clarity for years to come.

Wilson is the place you picture yourself when you’re at the spa and you soothing music calms your mind with sounds of gently lapping waves and a light wind. I’ve always tried to imagine that place with bits of pieces of my travel experiences, and now I’ve found it.

  • Stayed April 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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52 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (9)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2011

We stayed on Wilson just before Xmas for 5 nights and it was just amazing. The island is beautiful but the hosts made it special. Maddy and Billy were fantastic and we had a great time with them and the other guests. Billy's food is sensational - every lunch and dinner was amazing and the wine was great as well (we tried to clear them out but it didn't work!). The tents were great, the turtles were spectacular and the snorkeling was phenomenal. I really couldn't rate it higher. If I could give more than a 5 rating I would, it is without doubt, the best place I have had the pleasure to visit. It's paradise and my only issue is that I spend each day being jealous of who is on Wilson right now and sitting down to one of Billy's meals!

  • Stayed December 2010
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
136 reviews 136 reviews
72 hotel reviews
Reviews in 86 cities Reviews in 86 cities
130 helpful votes 130 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 10, 2011

We have stayed on other barrier reef islands (Heron and Hayman) and in the Maldives and Hawai'i and in Tanzania (Mafia and Pemba) but Wilson is something else - truly away from it all, peaceful and restful. And whilst pricey its worth it.

We arrived on Xmas eve for a 4 night stay - sadly during the worst weather Queensland had ever had in December. But even the torrential rain and almost absence of any sun (it was partially sunny for one day) it was still great - the air and sea temperatures were the same and both about as wet as each other, so once we got over the disappointment of no sun we just went walking and sorkelling in the rain.

The tents were nice and beds comfortable - we are used to luxury tents in Africa and these compare well. The bathroom block is nicely fitted out and there is always hot water (solar powered - so there was a bit of concern due to no sun, but it lasted!).Hammock on the deck is nice and there is a direct sea view - the island is suffering from some erosion and so a couple of the tents have limited land in front of them now. We did leave out tent flap open at night to get a breeze but stopped that as the horizontal rain came right in and soaked our clothes and us!

You can walk all around the island at low tide. And you can snorkel on the reef at any time as its deep enough even at low tide (unusial for the barrier reef). Lots of birds and bird noise but that is great for a back to nature feeling. And the turtles - the green turtles on Wilson seemed even bigger than the ones on Heron (we stayed there for 4 nights before coming to Wilson). The turtles are very easy to see - you go for a walk after dark and trip over them almost as they come right up to the path and vegetation to nest. And in the morning you see the last of them going back to sea - put your swimmers on at 6am go to the beach and wait for them to come down and you get to swin with them and they go back out to sea - heaven. The reef and reef fish are great - and also regular rays and reef sharks.

As well as the nature what makes Wilson special is the hosts - just 2 staff - Billy and Maddy look after everyone (just 8 guests when we were there). Billy is a fabulous chef and both of them make you feel very welcome and really look after you. My husband has special dietary needs and Billy went out of his way to make great meals for him - not easy given all the ingredients have to be shipped in and he has just BBQs to cook with - he even managed a roast turkey and roast ham on Xmas day. They both work really hard to make your holiday special - after 4 days they feel like friends. But they are not intrusive. You can mix with others or be by yourself as you please.

The price is all inclusive of food and drinks - the wine choice was excellent and fully stocked bar you can help yourself to. Lots of board games and a few books, You get your snorkel and mask on Heron before you head over. Be aware there is no electric, no tele, no phone signal and no internet. A really get away from it all place.

Everyone should have a Wilson experience at least once - two of the couples we were with had been there before - lucky them. Hope you get better weather than us, but even the rain doesnt spoil the experience.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2010

I wont lie - we travelled to Wilson Island 3 years ago but it was easily the most spectacular island I have ever been to and that includes the One and Only in the Maldives. It is very simple and doesnt tick many of the "5 star" boxes but it is beautiful, the snorkeling is simply divine, the food is brilliant and living like Robinson Crusoe (with a fab bed, a lovely shower etc, great food and great wine) is my idea of heaven. I would return every year in March (for turtle season) but for the fact that I now have 3 babies and they wont let me on the island with babies!

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Australia
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2010

We have just returned from four stunning nights at Wilson Island. It truely is a magical place and experience. Our host couple Andrew and Erin were fantastic and Andrew's food was sublime. As for the setting.... it is just stunning. We were lucky enough to be there for the turtle mating season and it got to the point that you could not be at the beach without seeing a turtle or swimming with one. The reef and snorkleing are first class and IMO better than Lizard Island. It must be remembered though at the end of the day you are luxury camping, so people who do not like sharing a bathroom or sleeping in a tent or are wanting silver service might to better to look elsewhere. This is for those who want to relax on a hammock, read a book, swim on the reef and generally commune with nature. It was a once in a lifetime experience.

If you do go, make sure you take the chopper at least one way as it is an amazing way to see the reef.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 22, 2010

We knew from the reviews on this site that Wilson Island was going to be wonderful, and it lived up to the reviews and it's website completely. The rooms were spotless, the bedding luxurious and the hammock comfortable enough for stays of a couple of hours at a time! The bathroom amenities though in a separate block were amazing quality.

What really made the trip absolutely spectacular was the service provided by Billy and Madison. Billy's absolute passion for food and making the best meal possible for guests ensured that we ate the most amazing meals ever (keep in mind that Billy's cooking facilities are 2 bbq's). For anyone lucky enough to travel to Wilson Island make sure you ask Billy to make his duck breast. Billy's cooking was only complemented by Madison's great service and sensational cocktails which were served to us each evening whilst watching the sunset. It wasn't just Billy's cooking and Madison's cocktails though. You could really sense that they both just wanted everyone to have the best experience ever (without providing "over service").

If you are after a total getaway from it all experience then this is the place. Snorkelling, lazing in a hammock, reef walking and eating (no mobile phone reception, internet or any distractions) are the main activities and even with other people on the island you will still feel like you are all alone on a desserted island. A trip to Wilson Island is worth every cent.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Barnard Castle, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
56 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 28, 2010

We stayed for just 2 nights and really wished it had been longer. Good accommodation (glorified tents with good double beds) and facilities, considering the surroundings. The food and drink was excellent, as was the snorkelling, but the raison d'etre of Wilson Island is the ambience. As close to a desert island as you'll get with this level of comfort. Mix with others or do your own thing.

Tip: If you can afford it, take the helicopter out to Heron Island rather than the boat. Apart from being really good in itself, almost everyone we talked to who had taken the boat had been (or felt) seasick. And sea conditions weren't that bad.

  • Stayed March 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Wilson Island

Address: 72 kms north east of Gladstone, Wilson Island, Queensland QLD 474, Australia
Location: Australia > Queensland > Wilson Island
Amenities:
Beach
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Wilson Island
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Wilson Island 4*
Number of rooms: 6
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Also Known As:
Wilson Island Hotel Wilson Island
Voyages Hotel Wilson Island
Voyages Resort Wilson Island

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