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Hot destination: Your Own Private (Lizard) Island

While conference and incentive organisers are looking overseas for a destination offering privacy and some serious sunshine appeal, they may not need to look further than Tropical North Queensland. Spice caught up with Lizard Island’s General Manager, Emilio Fortini to find out what makes this private Island so perfect for events.

The island offers planners exclusive use programs for groups with accommodation for up to 82 guests with 40 luxury rooms and suites.

“It’s a small resort nestled on a beautiful bay in a national park, Lizard Island resort is the ideal destination for groups looking for a variety of activities in a private and secluded setting,” says Fortini.

“With private spaces all around the island, groups can meet, play and discover in total privacy amongst an unparalleled setting right on the Great Barrier Reef. The culinary expertise of our kitchen brigade allows for flexibility in menu and style selection to be able to cater to all likes and tastes. Beachside banquets are one of the many group specialties at Lizard Island.”

As the northern most resort on the Great Barrier Reef, Lizard Island also offers 24 private beaches giving planners plenty of opportunity to find some creative spaces for events, breakout areas, teambuilding or just the opportunity watch all the sea turtles swim by.

Fortini says planners might be surprised to discover the location is a National Park surrounded by a Marine Park.

“Unlike the majority of other islands or resorts around Australia and the rest of the world, the amazing beauty of local reefs and marine life is right here, just off the beach – no need to take a 30 to 60-minute ride to enjoy spectacular coral beds, a huge variety of fish, giant clams and turtles,” he says.

“Just put your snorkel gear on and swim off one of the many local beaches around the resort. Hiking trails to Cooks Look, Chinamans’ Ridge and Blue Lagoon are just some of the more active options available on the island, with various locations around the island ideal for private dinners, cocktail parties, beach lunches and get-togethers. A tour of the Lizard Island Research Station, operational since 1973, is a great activity for groups of up to 15 guests at a time who are interested in learning about the reef, its history and local flora and fauna. The understated elegance of Lizard Island Resort blends in with surrounding nature and is perfect for decompressing and focusing on the ‘here and now’ rather than being distracted by the constant hustle of everyday life.”

Ideal groups sizes, he says, is anywhere between 25 to 40 rooms, however groups of of 45 to 85 have taken over the island at different times, he says, adding that a well-planned agenda will ensure everyone what the island has to offer.

Delegates arrive via Cairns to a private airstrip following a 60-minute scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef. Corporate groups and event organisers in particular, love the island’s all-inclusive activities, dining and beverage packages (no surprise budget blowouts.)

The possibilities for team building activities, Fortini says, are numerous.

“Aside from beach sports, guided snorkel tours, turtle tours, dive excursions, treasure hunts (land and water), interactive cooking and mixology classes and yoga, relaxation or boot camps can all be slightly modified to become team building exercises. With several locations at our disposal, external partners can also prepare amazing team building schedules that will blow the delegates’ minds away (a great race on a semi-deserted island?) Mini fishing competitions are popular, as are tennis Round Robins or boot camps, kayak or paddleboard races,” he adds.

The resort also offers a variety of venue spaces giving event planners plenty of dining options such as Salt Water Restaurant with its seascape views or a barefoot beachside dining for groups. Marlin Bar also offers organisers a casual indoor/outdoor beachside space where groups can kick back and relax after a day of conferencing.

The newly renovated Pavilion has been a popular location for special events as well.  Sitting high on the rocks above the Coral Sea, the Hecker Gutherie designed space offers an incredible 270-degree panoramic view. There’s also plenty of indoor and outdoor spaces and an expansive deck- a popular spot for corporate cocktail functions.

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