Rise and shine: the new islands of the north

Chopper cam: an uninhabited island in the Palm Island group.

After a flurry of sales and makeovers, Queensland’s islands of the north beckon anew.

After the devastation left by last year’s cyclone season, several
islands and resorts have refreshed and changed hands, including Orpheus,
Lizard and Dunk islands, Fitzroy Island Resort and the celebrity haunt
Bedarra Island Resort, which was reportedly sold for just $6 million.

Six million dollars seems to be the magic number, as Orpheus’s new
owner has also just snapped up a tropical island for about the same
small change.

Cheong Liew and Arie Prabowo

The only way to the resort is via the skies in the
teensiest little helicopter, an egg beater that skims over uninhabited
islands, lonely atolls, the ruins of a former leper colony and busy Palm
Island, with a population of between 2000 and 3000 indigenous folk.
Orpheus’s new owner knows which side his bread is buttered on: he also
owns The Botanical in Melbourne’s dress circle, South Yarra, and has
lured Cheong Liew out of retirement to set the tone for the resort’s
kitchens with his protege, Arie Prabowo.

Orpheus Island is a hilly dot 80 kilometres off the coast of
Townsville, in the Palm Islands group. Lashed by Yasi’s cyclonic winds
last year, the resort recently reopened and, if it plays its cards
right, will be one of those hideaways where sneaky celebs have no need
for wearing wigs or bad ’80s fashion.

To read more about the new islands of the north, click here

About the author

Fear is found on a creaking glacier in the Caucasus mountains and joy is encapsulated in the perfect Shanghai dumpling. And while I love a $500-a-night hotel room (who doesn’t?), sometimes the best stories are found in a $20 guesthouse. With an eye always out for good markets and great street eats, I write the travel news and features for the Sydney Morning Herald and Melbourne’s The Age newspapers, and features for whoever else asks. I have a particular soft spot for the wilds of the Middle East, scarves and carpets. My articles and photographs have been published in a range of consumer magazines and newspapers in Australia and abroad, and occasionally I chat on radio, too, from Essentials Magazine to 3AW or the Irish Times.

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