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Great Barrier Reef hotels

All but a few of the Great Barrier Reef islands have just one resort apiece, where guests sleep, eat, and pursue island and water activities. Islands that lie close to the mainland, like Hamilton (off Airlie Beach) and Hinchinbrook (off Cardwell), are well suited for day trips, but the more remote island resorts are an all-or-nothing proposition—so choose carefully.

Accommodations within the World Heritage–listed, 745-square-mile Daintree Rainforest must adhere to strict environmental controls, and are often reliant on self-generated power. But though they're eco-friendly, many properties here have luxuries galore—including spas, pools, and "bush tucker" gourmet restaurants—that let you get the most out of the wild surroundings.

If you want to island-hop, or combine a mainland stay with an island vacation, you'll need to arrange transportation in advance with your resort(s) of choice.

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Hinchinbrook Island Wilderness Lodge, Hinchinbrook Island

Australia's largest island national park, 152-square-mile Hinchinbrook has rain forest-covered mountains, mangroves and wetlands, and 11 beautiful beaches, most...more

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Editors' Pick
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Cape Tribulation Resort & Spa, Cape Tribulation

Sandwiched between the Daintree Rainforest and the Barrier Reef, this eco-lodge—if you can call the sprawl of bungalows and tree houses, tangled...more

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Editors' Pick
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Angsana Resort & Spa Great Barrier Reef, Palm Cove

Part of the prestigious Banyan Tree chain, this romantic beach resort ten miles north of Cairns is big with honeymooners. This isn't the place to...more

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Editors' Pick
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Daintree Eco Lodge, Daintree

Celebrities including Jane Fonda, Brooke Shields, and Paul Simon have unwound near-incognito at this intimate eco-lodge, on the fringe of the world's oldest...more

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Editors' Pick
Double Island Resort, Double Island

The Barrier Reef's priciest private playground, Double Island is just ten minutes by motorized dinghy from Palm Cove Jetty (about a half-hour north of...more

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Editors' Pick
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Hayman Resort, Hayman Island

The grand dame of Whitsunday island resorts, Hayman has a 1:1 staff-to-guest ratio, and super-attentive service that sets it apart. That dessert you can't...more

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Editors' Pick
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Lizard Island, Lizard Island

The northernmost island resort on the Reef, Lizard lies 149 miles off the coastal city of Cairns. It's worth the hour-long flight, though—especially for...more

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Editors' Pick
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Orpheus Island Resort, Orpheus Island

No room phones or TVs, no day-tripping visitors, and no kids under 15 mean that Orpheus, in the Palm Island group, is a haven for quiet...more

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Editors' Pick
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Paradise Bay Eco Escape, Long Island

Just a dozen people at a time can stay at this rustic, comfy little eco-lodge, which offers the same seclusion as others in the Whitsunday...more

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Editors' Pick
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Qualia, Hamilton Island

Tucked away on 30 acres of Hamilton Island's northernmost point, this adults-only retreat has rocked the Great Barrier Reef when it comes to island comfort. The...more

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Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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