There’s nothing like travelling to a secluded tropical island, where you can kick your feet up and forget that everything else exists. Only recently, I had the absolute pleasure of visiting, in my opinion, one of the most magical places on Earth. You’ll be surprised to learn that this gem is only located in Far North Queensland, which means you don’t have to travel too far to find paradise.
When I told my family and friends that I was going to Bedarra Island, I was met with a shocked face and a “why?” No one knew what, or where it was. I wanted to immerse myself in an unfamiliar and almost otherworldly place that ignited a fuzzy feeling inside – one that can’t really be put into words. I was craving solitude and distance from the hustle and bustle, the streets polluted by car fuel and emissions, away from people, social media, and above all, I wanted to reconnect with nature and myself. As I trawled the internet for hotspot tropical locations, I came across the usual places one would jump to when booking a beachside holiday; The Whitsunday’s, Thailand and Bali. But they didn’t do it for me. Then, there it was – Bedarra Island. My soon-to-be obsession. Not knowing what to expect, I booked my accommodation through the wonderful agency called Romantic Retreats and Sharon gave me lots of useful tips and information regarding the island and the other parts of Queensland I would be visiting after.
To get to Bedarra Island, you need to fly to Cairns and then make your way to Mission Beach, where you will catch a charter boat (Mission Beach Charters), (or helicopter) to Bedarra Island. The travel time is approximately 30 – 50 minutes, depending on the weather and sea conditions. Let’s just say that my boat trip was an ‘experience’.
The Bedarra Treetop Hideaway is literally nestled in the rainforest hilltop, overlooking the breathtaking Coral Sea. It is perched on top of huge granite boulders that naturally make up much of the island’s unique character. Being one of only eight properties on the island, excluding the luxurious Bedarra Resort, privacy and serenity boast the treetop property. I personally chose it because it was one-of-a-kind and nothing compared to it – I just knew I had to stay here. The Bedarra Hideaway is like a really big treehouse for adults and it’s a bonus if you love art, design, architecture and sustainability, like I do. It was designed by award-winning architect Chris Van Dyke and the personal touches and decor are thanks to previous owner and renowned photographer Peter Lik. I was honestly taken aback when I first approached the property. After reaching the top of the steps, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The boat ride was definitely worth it.
The floors are of recycled railway sleepers and the ceilings of bleached logs. There’s lots of wood and it looks like one of those cosy ski cabins, except with a tribal and tropical twist. There are a number of intricately carved Stone African statues that add a cultural flair and fit in with the artistic history of the island. It is obvious that Peter Lik had an eye for design and was influenced by his travels to other exotic locations around the world. It’s engraved with dynamic personality, making the house feel like an entity where I was inclined to respect the space in which I was in. The outside bathroom is a standout, where you can enjoy the view while you shower amidst the rainforest and breathe in the crisp fresh air. The onyx sinks accentuate the distinct tribal quality, standing against raw wooden bench tops, the heavy hand carved teak front door was imported from Bali, and Bedarra Island’s original canoe hangs from the ceiling in the kitchen, with downlights fitted into it. Overall, the design of the house reflects its natural surroundings, as though it’s a part of the land and has organically formed.
The deck overlooks the beautiful deep blue ocean and is fitted with a luxury style plunge pool, where you can enjoy a cocktail or fresh coconut from the palm trees below. The weather was a little rowdy when I visited, so the waves and winds gave a majestic performance. But if you visit during the peak season, you’ll be greeted by the most serene silky sea, that will have you craving to jump in as soon as the sun rises. Yes, from your bed you can see the open waters through the glass doors that act as windows, opening up to the terrace. There are no curtains, so you’re continually greeted by Bedarra’s lush greenery and jaw-dropping views.
The kitchen benches are constructed from the granite on the island and once again express the resourceful and eco-friendly nature of the house. An off the grid power system means that the electricity is powered by the solar panels on the island, which is incredible considering you can still use conventional electrical equipment like kettles, toasters, a stereo and a TV and DVD player. Rainwater tanks are also in play and because of Queensland’s tropical climate, Bedarra is treated to lots of rainfall, so the shower and tap water is sourced naturally and there’s no need to worry about purchasing bottled water. In terms of activities, the list is endless. Fish, swim, snorkel, wine and dine, enjoy a selection of provided DVD’s, or if you’re looking for a more creative activity, you can read and paint with the paints, paper and books provided.
Linen, towels, hats, staple food items like coffee and tea, activities, and swimming and fishing gear are provided, adding to that ‘homely’ vibe. Also, there are no roads or shops on the island, so guests have to buy their food from the mainland (Mission Beach), although I think this is what makes the experience so special. The caretaker is available to help out anytime you need and guests can learn so much about the island’s extensive and interesting history from him.
It’s difficult to express the warmth that I feel when I think of my time at Bedarra, because it felt like a home away from home, even though I was so far away at the same time. Waking up every morning going for hikes, listening to the birds chirp and the waves crash against the surrounding rock formations, breathing in the freshest air and awakening all my senses for the first time in a very long time, are just some of the simple pleasures I can’t wait to relive. Staying at the Bedarra Hideaway was an unforgettable experience that made me rethink the busy and demanding lifestyle that we get caught up in. The eco-friendly and quirky, yet stylish and contemporary design plays a large role in the idea of slowing down and taking a break from the pressures of the everyday.