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Orpheus Island, Australia – Is Everything An Island Escape Should Be

World Travel – Tourism

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Discover Orpheus Island, a secluded Great Barrier Reef Island that offers immaculate coastlines and a bespoke tropical escape.











Orpheus Island is everything an island escape should be. It is a sunny, secluded, luxurious hideaway located on the Great Barrier Reef. Orpheus lies between Cairns and Townsville and is surrounded by 3212 acres (1300 hectares) of unspoilt national park. The island is fringed by coral reefs that make it a haven for snorkelling and diving. Nestled in a sheltered bay on the western-side of the island, Orpheus Island Lodge is the island’s only resort and lies without fanfare along a ribbon of serene beach and features laid-back luxury accommodation.

Getting there: Flights to Townsville leave regularly from all major cities. Transfer to Orpheus via a 30 minute helicopter flight with Nautilus Aviation.

Key facts:
Best time to visit: July-October

Temperature: 12-27°C
Rainfall: Low
Humidity: 65-75%


Orpheus Island fringing reef snorkel, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland


For those keen to slip on a snorkel, the fringing reef surrounding Orpheus and the neighbouring islands offer diverse marine life and coral gardens which is perfect for asnorkel or dive adventure.

Yanks Jetty, a W.W.II remnant of the American Catalina Base is a snorkeller’s paradise and Orpheus’ local dive sites are home to 1,100  of the 1,500 species of fish on the reef, 340 of the 359 varieties of hard corals and some of the region’s largest collections of soft corals. The deeper, outer reefs are approximately 75 mins from the lodge by boat and are accessible by private charter.

While on your snorkel adventure, keep and eye out for green turtles, manta rays, bull rays and reef sharks.

Key Dates:
Manta Ray season: July to early November

Humpback whale migration: late June to mid-late September
Annual coral spawning: mid-late October to late November


The waters surrounding Orpheus provide some of the most sought after reef species in the world. Being so close the Great Barrier Reef makes it a fisherman’s dream, offering up an array of table fish including Coral Trout, Sweetlip, Red Emperor and Giant Trevally. For the avid anglers, a trip to the outer reef is where the pelagic species such as Dog Tooth Tuna, Spanish Mackerel and Wahoo breed.

Following your fishing expedition you can have your catch prepared to your liking by the Head Chef and served for dinner back at the lodge.

Orpheus offers full and half day expeditions to the fringing and outer reefs, subject to weather and tidal conditions. You can also take out a motorised dinghy from the lodge and explore the island’s fishing solo.


Orpheus Island Resort, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland


The Orpheus Island lodge is the perfect luxury island escape. Private terraces offer ocean views where you can watch the serene Orpheus sunsets.

The island’s signature dining experience, Dining with the Tides, is a stalwart experience for the logde. This private dinner on the pier, backlit by the sun’s setting rays over the Coral Sea, is a must-do. You get to meet with the culinary team to design your own six course menu (1 x amuse bouche, 2 x entrées, 2 x mains and 1 x dessert) with three wine pairings (entrée, main, dessert) from a select cellar master list.

Another lodge must-do is the Gwandalan Day Spa. The treatments at the spa embrace indigenous herbalism, aromatherapy and touch therapy. The spa’s rituals are inspired by traditional Aboriginal techniques and aim to restore balance and wellness.


Hinchinbrook Island is Australia’s largest island National Park and is only a short distance from Orpheus. The island is beautifully punctuated by abrupt headlands, waterfalls, secluded sandy pocket beaches, mangrove-lined estuaries and dense rainforest.

From Orpheus you can experience Hinchinbrook by either helicopter or boat (by boat you will tour the channel between Hinchinbrook Island and the picturesque Cardwell Coast). Highlights of this tour include guided walks along rainforest trails to the famous Zoe and Mulligan waterfalls and saltwater crocodile spotting in the island’s waterways.


Orpheus Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland


Explore the fringing reef and jump onboard the Maree Ann — the Lodge’s in-house boat, or book a cruise like SeaLink cruises. Sail over the coral gardens, and learn about the history and diversity of the fringing reef and the wonderful array of marine life that call the waters surrounding Orpheus home.

If you choose a SeaLink cruise, you’ll be exploring the Palm Island Group; Pelorus, Orpheus and the Great Palm Island on a full-day cruise. Between June and October, you may even catch a glimpse of the Humpback Whales along the way.

The other option is to cruise yourself around the reef in a motorised dinghy. Explore the private beaches, moor the boat and relax on shore or snorkel straight off the beach. A must-see is the giant clam nursery located in Pioneer Bay. Planted in the 1980s to help boost their dwindling numbers in the reef, the nursery is now populated by 300 impressive molluscs, each weighing 150 – 200kg, stretching 3ft in width and donning ruffled chinchilla lips in a rainbow of colours.

{Source: Tourism Australia-Media Relations}
[Photo credits-featured image: Orange-footed Scrubfowl (Megapodius reinwardt) in the Cairns botanical gardens, Queensland, Australia.-By Toby Hudson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (], via Wikimedia Commons]
[Intext photos: courtesy of Tourism Australia]




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