Tropical luxury at Orpheus Island Resort – Review

It’s pretty clear when your chef can name the fisherman who has caught your dinner on the outer reef, that you’re in for a superb meal. And it’s obvious when your experienced snorkelling guide promises to take you to her favourite coral garden, it’s going to be pretty magical. In fact, you know as soon as the helicopter touches down on Orpheus Island, that you’re in for a very special experience. Whether you’re exploring by kayak, taking a picnic and heading out in a dinghy, or relaxing by the infinity pool with a glass of bubbles in hand, this tiny piece of paradise off the north Queensland coast will make you want to stay forever.    

Getting there

Paddle boarding on Orpheus Island. Image: John Fison

Orpheus Island is off the coast of North Queensland, accessible only by helicopter or private boat. The helicopter from Townsville will set you back $700 per person. 

First impressions

Orpheus infinity pool and bar. Image: Julie Fison

The wow factor starts from the moment you board the helicopter in Townsville and glide over the Palm group, looking out for manta ray among the coral-fringed islands. The resort itself, discreetly tucked into the coastline of Orpheus Island is Instaworthy from every angle. It loses its gloss a little when the tide goes out, but it more than makes up for it when the bay is glistening and green, a haven for turtles and lemon sharks. 


View from our villa. Image: Julie Fison

The Island accommodates just 28 guests, in laid-back costal luxe rooms and villas, spread out along the palm-fringed beach. The mini bar is packed with complimentary drinks and healthy snacks.

Stuff to do

Exploring the Clam Gardens. Orpheus Island. Image: John Fison

Each day several different activities are offered to guests, ranging from snorkelling at one of the spectacular local reefs, to yoga and beer tasting. If it’s not too windy, there’s also the option to take a picnic and a dinghy, and explore on your own. If you want to stay closer to the resort, you can take out a paddle board and look for turtles, or kayak to the giant clam garden in the neighbouring bay. You could also just sit around the infinity pool and enjoy the all-inclusive hospitality!

The highlight for me is a snorkelling trip to Curacao Island, a 20- minute boat ride away. We’re on the Barrier Reef here, so stunning coral gardens are never far away, but these really are special. Huge plate and staghorn coral, parrot fish, turtles and schools of brightly coloured tropical fish. The resort fits you for a mask, fins and wetsuit before you go out. This might be the tropics but it can get chilly in the water when you’re snorkelling for 45 minutes. 


Sunset cruise. Orpheus Island. Image: John Fison

Everything is first class – the meals, the rooms, the excursions. This really is an amazing place to visit. Three days is not enough!

Lasting impressions

Orpheus Island at sunset: Image: John Fison

Flying back to Townsville over the reef, I’m reminded just how lucky I am to live in Queensland, and to have all of this on our doorstep. 


Published by Julie Fison

Julie Fison is a Brisbane writer and travel lover. Her debut novel for adults ONE PUNCH is a compelling and thought-provoking family drama that follows two mothers forced to make impossible decisions after one life-changing night. Inspired by real events, the story is a sharp study of the complexities of family life and the consequences of being blind to the faults of our loved ones. Julie’s other work includes books for children and young adults – the Hazard River adventure series for young adventure lovers, stories in the Choose Your Own Ever After series that let the reader decide how the story goes, and a play for secondary school students As the Crow Flies. Julie is also a committed traveller and loves sharing tips for midlife adventurers.

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