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“Absolutely Stunning Location and Fantastic Personal Service” 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
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“Absolutely Stunning Location and Fantastic Personal Service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 23, 2013

We stayed one night in early January 2013 as part of a holiday to Heron Island. Wilson Island is an idyllic location. The best off-beach snorkelling we have ever experienced complete with resident Loggerhead Turtles, rays and schools of irridescent fish. Be careful though - there are no lifeguards nor even a boat to go out and pick you up, and if you go out too far the prevailing swell can drag you away from the island.

We witnessed four turtles nesting - be careful not to disturb them with light, noise or movement (esp until they are laying) or they will turn back into the water and not lay - the green and loggerhead turltles are endangered so make sure you put their needs first, as there are no rangers to supervise guests.

The boat ride across is a little adventure itself and the skipper knows the way and runs the boat up on to the beach and helps with getting your bags onto and off the island.

Our hosts, Margie and Lindesay we cannot speak highly enough of. Lindesay is an absolute culinary genius, conjuring up five star meals from whatever arrives on the boat cooked on a BBQ. He also has some good stories to tell once entree, dinner and dessert has satiated the fussiest palette. Margie makes sure you feel like you are the only people on earth, and how she managed to keep all the facilities so perfect, given the harsh environment and our trapsing in and out with our snorkelling gear etc.

Our only regret was we did not book for two nights.

Room Tip: All rooms are fantastic, the eastern side is more breezy, but can become blowy, the western side is...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 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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53 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 (10)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Any
English first
Germany
Senior Contributor
48 reviews 48 reviews
25 hotel reviews
Reviews in 33 cities Reviews in 33 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2013

Wilson Island was amazing. I loved the tent and the snorkeling was amazing. All meals and drinks are included and were all top-notch. I especially enjoyed the sundowners complete with sparkling wine and exceptionally good appetizers around sunset each evening. But beware that the birds on Wilson aren't the nice tweeting birds, these birds are loud. But it all adds to the atmosphere of the island. I would highly recommend Wilson Island to anyone

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Ontario
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
107 helpful votes 107 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 28, 2013

This review is long overdue. I stayed at Wilson Island for 3 nights before spending 4 nights on Heron Island in early October 2012.

I had never camped before, and my husband said I could never survive in the wild. So I decided to go glamping (glamorous camping), and live as castaways on Wilson Island for 3 days.

It was an epic journey getting there. We flew from Toronto to Sydney and then stayed in Cairns before going to Wilson Island. We took the 5:30 a.m. flight from Cairns to Brisbane, then changed to a smaller plane to get to Gladstone, where we took a helicopter to Heron Island from which we would take a boat to Wilson Island.

The helicopter ride was amazing. It was an aerial tour of the Great Barrier Reef. When we arrived at Heron Island, we were greeted by Marg who gave us a royal reception, and prepared us for the boat transfer to Wilson Island.

But then here's the moment that put a sour note on our trip. Our transfer boat to Wilson Island was delayed and delayed, and even though we arrived at Heron by noon, we couldn't get on the boat until after 5 pm. They said the island was a skipper short and our boat went out on diving trips. We were kept waiting in the heat for the 30 minute boat ride for over 5 hours. By the time we finally arrived at Wilson Island, it was already sunset. Marg, who was so friendly and apologetic for the delay, made the wait a bit less brutal. Deidre, the Resort Manager, also took my complaint later seriously and dealt with it in a sincere manner. I do see that they try hard to elevate the efficiency and service to standards which match the beauty of the islands.


Once we were on Wilson Island, we were greeted warmly by Gerri and Lindsay. Gerri was Wonder Woman who kept the resort immaculately clean, cleared all the brushes on the paths, prepared canapes and champagne for sunset viewings...Lindsay was the gourmet chef who cooked up 6 star meals with just a BBQ and a gas burner. He made the best soufflé I have ever had with just the BBQ. That's worthy of 3 Michelin stars!

The weather was beautiful while we were there .We walked around to scout out the island, with its powder white sand beach, coral beach and rock beach. We often had the beaches to ourselves since there were usually just two other couples staying there. Even though we got lots of privacy in our tent and on the beach, we could also socialize on the island. We were joined by other couples for breakfast, lunch, wine 'n cheese sunset viewing and dinner, and we had very friendly, interesting and intelligent conversations.

We were given a hand cranked flashlight to use at night to walk to the Long House for drinks and meals, as well as to the communal washroom. It was fun, and felt like camping. Each couple was assigned a private shower stall with hot water heated by solar power, while the toilets and vanities were communal. They were diligently kept clean by Gerri, so it wasn't a problem.

Our tent was very comfortable. There were screens for zipping up at night for the mosquitoes, and the outside flaps can also be zipped up when it gets colder at night. There was another communal tent where one could hang out with other guests on the island.

The Long House where we had our meals was huge and comfortably laid out with a sitting area where we could chat with other guests while watching Lindsay prepare our gourmet meals. Guests could help themselves to the wines, drinks and snacks there.

The good thing about snorkeling at Wilson is that the corals are not far from the beach. The sea life there was amazing. Watching the moon over the water late at night was also magical.There were some flint stone chairs on the beach near the wash house. Enjoying the moonlit night there would be very romantic.

This was definitely a once in a life time experience. If you love wild life, you will love Wilson Island!

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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, Australia
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 23, 2013 via mobile

Shipwrecked ... in style; their motto says it all. Stunning views, great snorkelling straight off the beach, wildlife galore, interesting company, great food and wine and excellent hospitality. Geri and Lindsay were our hosts on Wilson, and they were ably supported by Marg back on Heron. They were friendly and helpful and nothing was too much trouble. Over our two night stay Lindsay provided us with quail, seared scallops with maple bacon and succulent red throat. This particular fish was caught just 1 km off the island. Dinner is served with the other guests and we will long remember an evening lustily singing Italian songs between courses. Having said that, it's very easy to escape the others and most of the time you'll feel like you are the only two people on the island.

The only reason I give 4 for cleanliness is to highlight for prospective visitors that this is first and foremost a home for wildlife, and we are merely guests in their environment. With thousands of birds nesting on the island, there is visual evidence, but we didn't find it to be intrusive in any way.

One point I'd like to highlight is that you don't need to include a stay on Heron; you can have all your nights on Wilson. You do go through Heron, and will have lunch there on both the way in and the way out, but you don't need to actually stay there.

Although it had only been two days between our first lunch on Heron and our second, we felt like we'd been away for a week. Such was the effect of the total relaxation on Wilson. If you want or need to relax and only have a short time in which to recoup your energies, you would do well to consider this beautiful island. We would return to Wilson Island in a heartbeat.

  • Stayed January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Vancouver
Senior Contributor
37 reviews 37 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
75 helpful votes 75 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 16, 2013

Our family toured Australia this past Dec/January and stayed two nights at Wilson Island. We had just spent two nights at Heron Island and they couldn't have been more different! We were very happy to land on Wilson! ( I have reviewed Heron Island in a different posting). We are a family of four and our sons are aged 11 and 16.

The boat ride between Heron and Wilson takes roughly 40 minutes and was fairly calm when we went over to Wilson and a bit rougher, although fun, when we returned to Heron. The Captain was lovely and let my sons and I steer the boat.

Our first glance of Wilson was heaven. The colours are simply amazing. The entire beach is made of coral and is glistening white against brilliant blue water. It is so peaceful. There are some scattered beach chairs but otherwise you are immersed in nature.

We were met by Marg who is warm and friendly. She takes care of the tents and the guests while her husband, Lindsay, does the cooking. There are 6 tents on the Island for a maximum of 12 guests. My husband and I were assigned "Rapture" tent and our sons got "Tranquility". The tents are lovely, especially when you consider the remoteness of the Island. They have decks with a hammock and chair. They are fully screened and have a King bed, a chest for placing things, a hanging area and side tables with clip on lamps (battery operated) There is no electricity. I preferred our sons' tent as it had the most lovely breeze and was a lot cooler than the other tents. It was set on the other side of the dining hall but had good access to the dining hall and the bathrooms. It also had some lovely stone "chairs" set into the beach which I spent hours sitting on. They were remarkably comfortable.

The bathhouse is also nice. Each tent has its own shower and dressing area. They are nicely done. Then there are 3 bathrooms to share. We never had a problem having to wait. The one thing to remember is that you are in the middle of nature and we shared our shower with a Huntsman spider that I named "Helen". Each time I went to the bathroom, I made a point of banging around to alert any wildlife that I was entering. I took very quick showers as I am not fond of insects.

The food was great, especially after Heron!! Lindsay does an amazing job, as most of the reviews will attest. We had tenderloin, we had lamb (sooooo good!) we had fish, prawns, etc. For breakfast he would make you whatever you wanted. The bacon was fabulous. The bbq gives it a great flavour! He also pulled off amazing desserts. I loved the fact that it was casual and felt like your own home. There was a variety of snacks out at all times, including chocolate bars in the fridge. Cold chocolate is very good in the heat! There was a nice variety of wines and champagne, etc. It was very relaxing and comfortable. Every evening, Marg would set up canapes and drinks at the beach and then after we would wander up for a 3 course dinner. I was full the entire time!

We spent our days being lazy. We walked around the island (10 minutes), we snorkled and we suntanned. The days flew by. The highlight, by far, was the turtles. We had been very sad to not see the turtles on Heron, whereas all our dreams were satisfied on Wilson. Lindsay and Marg will advise you the best times to go and look and then go out with you to help you find them. Mind you, you could almost trip over the turtles there were so many of them. The first night we watched a Mother dig her hole and lay her eggs on the path where we'd had cocktails 1 hour before. Later that evening we saw another turtle in the process of covering her hole. The next day, at about 7 am, Marg informed me that Lindsay had just returned from a walk and seen turtles still on the beach. We rushed down and had the pleasure of seeing 2 turtles returning to the ocean. It was so magical. It was the highlight of the trip. You were literally 2 feet away from a turtle laying her eggs. Unlike Heron, Marg and Lindsay taught us how to respect the turtles and what the appropriate distance to keep was, etc.

The other guests were all lovely. The first night we were a "full house" of a total of 12 guests. The second night we were down to just 6; our family and another couple. Everyone was relaxed and interesting. In the evenings we shared travel experiences and played board games. Usually I wouldn't chose to linger at the end of the evening with strangers but it was a lovely group of people.

Things I liked: Nearly everything!!! It is such a beautiful island - it is a treasure. The tents and dining room are very attractive and the food and hospitality were fabulous! The turtles were simply amazing. It was the viewing of a lifetime. During the day, with only 12 people on the island, you felt like you were the only person there. The only time that everyone came together was at dinner, and then it was to share our adventures. Our kids really enjoyed their time there.

The mutton bird - OMG!!!!!! They are extraordinary!!!!! They don't come out until dark and then they just sit on the path and don't move. Apparently they have very poor eyesight and they are extremely clumsy. They live in burrows in the ground and they seem to stay up all night making their peculiar haunting sound. It sounded like "campy ghosts" combined with wailing babies. It really defies explanation. You certainly do hear it most of the night, but it is such a unique, intriguing, albeit slightly annoying sound, that you don't really mind. I did sleep with earplugs to a slight improvement. The mutton birds would fly into the dining hall and crash into cupboards. They are so clumsy!! I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night and walked through the dining hall. They were a pile of broken wine glasses on the sand floor that they'd flown into. They were extraordinary! I loved them!

Things I didn't like: There are bugs. Fact of life. I only saw my spider once, but there was an awareness that she was there. I awoke one morning to find about 27 mini ants on my toothbrush. Easily remedied by a wash in the sink. It was a bit warm at night - again, you are in the tropics!

I would absolutely recommend Wilson as a relaxing break from reality and stress. The nature is incredible and if you are lucky enough to be there during turtle laying and/or hatching - it will be the memory of a lifetime!!!

Room Tip: I liked my sons' room - Tranquility. It had a gorgeous breeze all day and while being set apart...
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  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
71 helpful votes 71 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

As soon as we arrived on the island we were welcomed by our hosts, Gerri and Lyndsey, who made us feel comfortable and relaxed immediately. This tiny island is beautiful. The snorkelling just of the beach is great. There is an abundance of marine life and bird life around the island. The tents are lovely. We had a beautiful view of the ocean and it was so relaxing to fall asleep listening to the sound of the waves. The shower and toilet block is not far from the tents and is very clean. We really enjoyed the communal dining experience. It was great to get to know the other guests and as there is maximum of only 12 guests at a time you never felt surrounded by too many people. Most of the time we felt we had the whole island to ourselves. The food that Lyndsey cooked for us each day was spectacular. We looked forward to each meal. He can do such amazing things with a BBQ and a gas burner. I can honestly say that Wilson Island is the most relaxing holiday I’ve ever had. It was paradise and will definitely return. I hope it never changes!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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.
Sydney, Australia
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

What an amazing place; you are spoilt with the attention from the staff.

The chef does great things with first class ingredients and is 5 star level food that would be available at a 'plated' restaurant.

But the highlight is the reef and thousands of fish that lie just 2 metres off the beach

The tents are very comfortable and surprising cool.....

Don't tell too many people, but this is the best snorkelling location I've ever seen

Room Tip: There is a pool - the clean blue ocean and for fitness, if you aren't getting a work out fro...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 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.
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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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