Lonely Planet Writer

The hotel on the closest private island to the Great Barrier Reef

After an AUS$136 million refurbishment, Australia’s Hayman Island by InterContinental officially opened this week on the Whitsunday Coast – one of Australia’s most picturesque regions, a playground for yachting, snorkelling, camping and hiking.

The Hayman Island resort is the nearest private island to the Great Barrier Reef. Image by Hayman Island by InterContinental

And, given it is on the closest private island to the Great Barrier Reef you’ll be pleased to know it appears they’ve taken their sustainability responsibilities seriously too. Refurbishing after Cyclone Debbie trashed the place in 2017 gave the hotel group the opportunity to not just refit, but modernise and minimise the hotel’s environmental impacts.

A Beach Village at Hayman Island. Image by Hayman Island by InterContinental

Guests will be supplied with reef-safe sunscreen and given a complimentary reusable water bottle on check-in – with refill stations dotted around the resort, it reinforces the island ban on single-use plastics.

Plus a new glass-to-sand crusher will recycle glass bottles for use in the island’s gardens, which will save money and carbon energy shipping all that recycling back to the mainland. And most importantly, state-of-the-art in-room technology has been installed that is designed to conserve and maximise energy use across the 166-room resort.

AquaQuest in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Image by Hayman Island by InterContinental

Hayman Island mixes a laid-back Australian luxury experience with the opportunity to immerse yourself in Australia’s unique natural environment with guided walks and reef trips. The whole experience begins with the journey to the private island, with guests arriving via luxury catamaran, helicopter, or seaplane before checking in to one of the hotel rooms, suites or private villas which hug the rugged island coast.

The Hayman Pool by InterContinental. Image by Hayman Island by InterContinental

Now you need to decide whether you lounge by the pool in a private cabana, or go snorkelling on the reef with the turtles, before dining at one of the resort’s five restaurants, serving up Australia’s famously-fresh clean produce.