BEDARRA ISLAND

Harriet and I have a membership in Wyndham Holiday Share and we saw an advertisement for Bedarra Island off Cairns at a greatly reduced rate because we were members of Wyndham Holiday Share. We took up the offer for March 2021.

Harriet and I had a one-week holiday on the island from 14th March = 20th March 2021. We flew from Brisbane in the afternoon up to Cairns in a two-hour flight. Cairns is in the tropical part of Queensland, Australia. Brisbane is in the subtropical part of Queensland. We then caught a taxi to the Ibis Hotel for the night … a small hotel. See the photos below.

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The Ibis Hotel where we stayed over night in Cairns.

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Mission Beach

We then caught a Greyhound bus down on a two-hour trip from Cairns down to Mission Beach. We were set down at the Cassowary Shopping Centre. Cassowaries are rare but important birds in the rainforests of tropical north Queensland. See the Wikipedia commentary below.

Cassowary

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cassowaries (/ˈkæsəwɛəri/), genus Casuarius, are ratites (flightless birds without a keel on their sternum bone) that are native to the tropical forests of New Guinea (Papua New Guinea and Indonesia), East Nusa Tenggara, the Maluku Islands, and northeastern Australia.[3]
There are three extant species. The most common of these, the southern cassowary, is the third-tallest and second-heaviest living bird, smaller only than the ostrich and emu.
Cassowaries feed mainly on fruit, although all species are truly omnivorous and will take a range of other plant food, including shoots and grass seeds, in addition to fungi, invertebrates, and small vertebrates. Cassowaries are very wary of humans, but if provoked they are capable of inflicting serious, even fatal, injuries to both dogs and people. The cassowary has often been labeled “the world’s most dangerous bird”.[4]

A flowering Allamanda vine with yellow flowers. It is a spectacular tropical vine.

The Shack Expresso Bar where we had a quiet coffee.

A handmade seat in the shopping centre expresses the very personal nature of the shopping centre.

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Mainland office of Bedarra Island.

We caught a taxi cab down to the mainland office of Bedarra Island. We had to wait for an hour for the boat to come over from the island to collect us. The office has an upstairs very comfortable lounge where we could read as we waited for the boat.

The office has an upstairs very comfortable lounge where we could read as we waited for the boat.

Rainforest surrounds the office on all sides. This is typical of the forests of the tropical north.

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When the boat to come over from the island to collect us, the office organised a cab to take us and our suitcases down to the boat. The boat was a bit of a surprise. It came across the water and drove up on the beach. It had three wheels which were lowered, one at the front and two at the back of the boat. The boat had a front cover that could be zipped over our suitcases to keep them dry.

The boat backed down into the water, lowered the wheels, engaged the motor with the propeller and set off to the distant island. The island was about half an hour away.

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Launch Transfers …. from the Bedarra website

Our scheduled launch operates from Mission Beach on a daily basis, and offers a scenic journey through the Family Islands Group before arriving at Bedarra

….. from the Bedarra website

Our arrival launch departs from Mission Beach at 12.30pm each day to arrive at Bedarra at 1:00pm . Our departure launch departs Bedarra at 10.30am each day to return to Mission Beach by 11:00am.

We will arrange your launch transfer when you make your accommodation reservation.

Unscheduled launch transfers are available outside of these times (for an additional charge). Please contact our reservations team with your personalised transfer requirements if required.

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The island appearing across the quiet water. The island was a granite island which became very apparent as we approached the island. The house on the island (see the photo below) is only occasionally used by the owner. The island is covered with forest ….. rainforest on one side and dry forest on the rest.

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Location ….. from the Bedarra website

Covering 100 hectares of tropical rainforest, Bedarra Island is situated within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in tropical North Queensland.

Part of the Family Group of Islands, Bedarra is located approximately 10 kilometres offshore from the coastal village of Mission Beach, midway between the regional cities of Cairns and Townsville.

Arrival at Bedarra is either by launch or helicopter from Mission Beach – or helicopter directly from Cairns airport

Mission Beach is approximately 2 hours drive south of Cairns and can be reached by either self-drive rental car or limousine service.

The granite nature of the island became very apparent as we neared the island. Huge granite boulders form much of the edge of the island. Some of the boulders were up to three metres high. The boat took us right around to the other side where there was a nice wide sandy beach. The water was very still in a bay called Hernandia Bay. There was a bay on the opposite side of the island called Wedgerock Bay. This bay could be viewed from South Lookout which is in the photos below about two-thirds of the way down this post.

Huge granite boulders form much of the edge of the island.

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Sustainability ….. from the Bedarra website

A beautiful location

Bedarra is one of the most beautiful places in the world and we are passionate about keeping it this way. We are not just paying lip service to the philosophy of sustainability, we have made real changes to the operation of the resort to significantly reduce our impact on the environment.

Upon taking over the resort, we undertook a Sustainability Analysis of the island to determine the population of guests and staff the resort could reasonably sustain on a long-term basis. A particular emphasis was placed on water resources, power consumption and waste production and recycling.

The major result of our analysis has been the reduction in the number of guest villas from sixteen to only ten, with a similar decrease in the quantum of staff accommodation. The benefits have been twofold; the consumption of resources has been significantly reduced and our guests share the island with fewer others, further enhancing the feeling of privacy and seclusion for which Bedarra is renowned.

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Energy ….. from the Bedarra website

An off-grid hybrid solar system coupled with a battery bank and a backup generator has replaced the 3 x 185 Kva diesel-fuelled generators on the island. Diesel consumption at the resort has reduced by 97% as a direct result of the new off-grid system and the associated re-fit of electrical fittings and appliances with low power alternatives throughout the resort. A more tangible benefit for our guests is the elimination of the incessant hum and smell of diesel engines operating constantly throughout the day and night.

This was the office and the dining room which was congruous with the office.

The dining room looked down over the swimming pool with its generous timber deck. It was wonderful when you sat down for a meal, you looked over the bay of still water. As part of the resort planting, coconut palms have been specially planted on the waterfront. The nearby island beyond the bay is Dunk Island. We are told by other guests that Bedarra Island is far better than other island resorts.

This was the dining room. There were ten tables set for two people. Two big armchairs were at each table. This was where we really experienced personal care from the staff. They said to us that we had come to their house and they were there to look after us. Breakfast began at 8.00 m., lunch started at 1.00 pm. and dinner began at 6.00 pm. Places were already set for you with a place-mat, serviette, cutlery and glasses. What was unusual was the clipboard with a sheet of paper on it. The paper had the daily menu on it for that meal. Each meal was different to the previous day.

When you arrived, a staff member came over and gave you individual care. They would explain the menu and its intricacies. It could be a meal from another country eg. Turkey or Italian. They would go through the options and what we would like to drink. For those into wine, there was the choice of whatever you wanted. They would go and get your meal selection and personally bring it to you. They then go and get your drinks, bring them to you, and if appropriate, pour them for you. They would stay nearby and come back at intervals to see that you were OK.

Dining ….. From the Bedarra website

Indulge yourself

The open terrace restaurant, bar and lounge are the heart and soul of Bedarra, where guests converge to indulge in a delicious and ever-changing menu or to gather at the legendary open bar.

An exquisite menu (that changes daily) is matched only by the sublime beauty of uninhabited beaches fringed by lush rainforest. 

We pride ourselves on offering unique dining experiences without equal. Enjoy a candlelit dinner for two on your own private beach deck or have our chefs pack a gourmet hamper in your dinghy for a romantic picnic on one of the nearby deserted islands…

Our executive chef Heath Weber and his dedicated team of professionals create a daily menu inspired by the idyllic location and the freshest local produce.

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Sometimes you would be specially signed to one of several outlying tables in an outside eating area. The staff member would explain the menu then personally bring the meal to you on a big platter. One eating area was down under a big rainforest tree overlooking the beach 100 metres away from the dining area.

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Ken and Harriet standing in the dining room area.

Olivia, one of the staff members, in the main office. She was so friendly and knowable.

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ACCOMODATION:

From Accommodation ….. the Bedarra website

Bedarra features only eleven guest villas, each hidden amongst the tropical rainforest and enjoying spectacular ocean views.

All villas on Bedarra offer their own magical experience, each being slightly different from the others. Some villas are situated literally a few steps from the beach, several feature private infinity-edge plunge pools, some have outdoor rainforest bathrooms and some offer expansive private sundecks and daybeds…

While each of our villas is unique, they all offer a true escape from civilisation, a private sanctuary of solitude and relaxation to revitalise the soul – and the ultimate in barefoot luxury.

This was our unit for the week. The greenish/brown timber of the units blended in with the large granite boulders and the leafy green of the forest. We initially went up some steps to a small deck then into a small kitchen with and an adjacent bathroom. This was connected to a living room. You then went up further steps to a bedroom which continued out on a small deck. This deck looked over the still bay. Waves on the beach were only about 200 mm high. At night you had a lapping water sound …. very restful.

We initially went up some steps to a small deck

From the small deck outside, it then led into a small kitchen with and an adjacent bathroom.

The small kitchen connected to a living room.

The unit next to us. Again the greenish/brown timber of the unit blended in with the large granite boulders and the leafy green of the forest.

Another unit down from us.

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THE BEACH OF WEDGEROCK BAY:

Large granite boulders suddenly emerge from the light coloured sand. The line on the boulders of dark and light colour shows the presence of big neap tides which come way up over the beach.

Looking north to Dunk Island as the adjacent island.

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As part of the resort planting, coconut palms have been specially planted on the waterfront. Apparently we were told that when Captain Cook sailed up the east coast of Australia in the 1700’s, he and his crew were looking for coconuts along the shore but they didn’t find any. Captain Cook landed at Botany Bay, Australia, where I come from, is a very young country with only 250 years of recorded history when Captain Cook sailed into Botany Bay from England in 1771. Compare this post on Sorrento on our trip to Italy in 2005. He and his crew had been getting lots of coconuts coming through the islands in the Pacific Ocean.

It was absolutely beautiful looking out over the bay and the big bouldery coastline. It was also beautiful with a deckchair on the beach or a small deck, table with chairs above the beach that looked out through leafy branches of an overhead rainforest tree. I read a whole book while I was there.

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The boat that brought us and all the guests over from the mainland, moored off the beach.

Small rubber-tired vehicles would come down on the beach and pick up all the guests who came over from the mainland. Hence the tyre marks in the sand. Unbeknown to us, a separate vehicle picked up our suitcases and took them ahead of us to our assigned unit. Someone on the staff even took them up two flights of stairs to our upstairs bedroom. We didn’t have to take them up the stairs …. they were already there.

Looking out between two big trees framing the bay ….. very restful !

People slowly paddling along standing upright on paddle boards early in the morning before it was too hot.

Looking out between two coconut palms framing the bay ….. and the circle of the bay. It was absolutely beautiful looking out the bay and the big bouldery coastline.

Just on evening ….. It was absolutely beautiful looking out the bay with many coconut palm fronds outlined by the lighter sky.

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THE BOULDERS AROUND BEDARRA ISLAND:

Some of the boulders were up to three metres high. They were like giant pieces of rounded sculptures arising out of the water …. spectacular !!

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THE FOLIAGE OF BEDARRA ISLAND:

Rainforest Walks ….. the Bedarra website

We have a number of rainforest walking tracks on the island that lead to spectacular lookouts or private beaches.

The walks provide a variety of lengths and difficulty levels, and good walking shoes are recommended.

Guests are also able to be transferred to nearby Dunk Island for some longer National park rainforest walking tracks.

A small rainforest tree growing over a small boulder.

A rainforest tree commencing its growth with very large green leaves.

A concrete path for small vehicles going through the forest to a small jetty (see the photos further on) which was entry/ exit to Bedarra Island in the early days.

A walking track going through the forest.

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Harriet, my wonderful wife walking ahead of me on the walking track.

Two water tanks of twenty tanks on the island. We were told that the resort gets its water from a spring on the island. In addition to this source, the water that comes off the gutters of the built structures, is fed into the resort water system. Before we arrived there, there had been a huge storm with plenty of rainfall. There was now plenty of water in the resort water system.

A small portion of the dense forest covering 100 hectares of tropical rainforest on the island.

A beautiful photo taken near our unit looking out through rainforest trees to the bay.

South Lookout: Harriet and I went on a walk through to the top of the island. South Lookout was a lookout near the top of the walk. It was a beautiful looking out, looking over Wedgerock Bay. It was a steep walk on an earth path with about 50 timber steps.

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A constructed path to a beach. Harriet walking along the path.

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Landscape Planting Around the Resort: The purpose was to add to the the atmosphere of guest significance.

A ground cover shrub planted beside the path.

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Ground cover shrub in detail.

A Cycus Palm with its radiating leaves.

A rainforest tree commencing its growth with very large green leaves.

A croton shrub with its multicolored leaves gives a very tropical feel to the site. Leaves vary from the red/crimson colours in the above plant or the green/yellow in the plant below.

Crotons are perennial shrub with woody stems and roots, feature leathery, smooth-edge, oval, or lance-shaped leaves in bright colors. These colors are often combined in patterns involving blotching and striping, and sometimes the color changes as the plant ages. Native to Malaysia, the Pacific Islands, and northern Australia, crotons are most often grown as houseplants, but they can be planted in containers outdoors for season-long color.

This striking shrub with its bold radiating green leaves adds to the the atmosphere of guest significance.

This plant is unique with its striking vertical leaves in green and cream. It contrasts with the broad multicoloured leaves of the other plants.

The contrast of different plants between the dominant green and the multicoloured croton leaves on the left-hand side of the photo striking vertical leaves in green and cream of the grasslike plant right-hand side of the photo.

An Ixora out in red flowers.

A Cycus Palm with its radiating leaves.

The multicoloured croton leaves in the planting adds to the uniqueness of the site.

A change of plants is the broad leaves of the Alpinea shrub.

The contrast of the general planting of the garden is the big broad leaves of the Alocasia plant

Another Ixora out in red flowers.

Big granite boulders planted green resort foliage.

The steps to one of the villas beside a big granite boulder beside. It gives sense of permanance the the villa.

Boulder steps leading to a bush path.

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