Lizard Island is one of the most Northern inhabited islands in the Great Barrier reef, and because of this, proved to be the perfect diving destination for us given the fact that our trip to the GBR was scheduled during the Australian winter  (in the most northern part of Queensland/Lizard Island this equates to California summer weather).

The only access to Lizard Island is via small charter plane – Hinterland Aviation – from Cairns airport.  The flight from Cairns to Lizard is a flight that you won’t be forgetting anytime soon.  One hour of gorgeous ocean aerial views spotted with coral islands and beautifully shaped visible reefs. 

After stepping off the plane on Lizard, you immediately feel connected to the land, as buildings are scarce, open-air and small, and everything points you towards the surrounding beaches and waters. 

Take a few steps into the ocean off the main beach and you may be lucky enough to spot the 800 pound Queensland Groper that makes his home just off this beach.  Or you might spot some of the “house” reef sharks that call this little spot of ocean home as well. 

If you visit Lizard Island, prepare to leave not only with a sun-kissed glow, some new marine life friends, and a sense of nature-spurred rejuvenation, but also carrying a couple of pounds on you that somehow weren’t there upon arrival…. the food on the island is spectacular – fresh, indigenous, inventive, and full of divine flavors.  Having been to other parts of Oz, it’s safe to say this is really the best of Australian cuisine!  One of the best parts of the dining experience was not being forced to decide on a meal choice from a long enticing menu… the brilliant chef decides on one or two selections based on what is available and in season.  And none of his selections disappointed!

The rooms are minimalist with all the basic luxuries one might need on a vacation (despite the lack of TVs in the room, when we decided we wanted to watch a DVD, a portable DVD player was promptly delivered to our room), and more importantly reflect a strong sense of place – when in the rooms (or luxury cabins!) you feel like you are nowhere else but Australia!

The standalone villas evoke a luxury nature camp, where one cannot help but appreciate nature while both in and out of the rooms. 

We spent every evening cuddled on our own private balcony’s hammock, awing at some of the most spectacular sunsets we had ever seen… it doesn’t get better than that!

The two most famous dive spots off Lizard are the Cod Hole and the Snake Pit, however there are a plethora of other dive spots that deliver every time… on one of our dives just off the main beach we were lucky enough to see almost 20 Bat Rays and Marble Rays – a true spectacle!  Our dive master, Ross, and the ship captains, Jon & Noel, were accommodating, fun, and true experts of the Great Barrier reef.  If you aren’t afraid to get up close and personal with large marine life such as potato cod, white/black-tip reef sharks, Napolean wrasses, sea snakes, and coral eating parrotfish to name a few, these dives will be lifetime highlights.