5 things you didn’t know about Orpheus Island Lodge

Morris EscapesTeam 3·8 May, 2024

There’s nothing like an almost deserted tropical island to have a few secrets up its sleeve. There are just 28 guests at any time staying at Orpheus Island Lodge, so it certainly feels like you have this piece of paradise to yourself. With a few days to relax and explore, make sure you experience these five one-of-a-kind features.

Not just a pretty face

Orpheus Island is the drop-dead gorgeous backdrop for one of Australia’s most exclusive lodges, but did you know, there’s also another very exclusive location on site? No, it’s not accommodation, but people are vying for the chance to visit Orpheus Island Research Station. Researchers and James Cook University students are on site to conduct studies on the Great Barrier Reef, looking at climate change and its impact on marine life. Guests at the lodge can book a behind the scenes tour of the station, where you’ll check out the live and dry labs, and learn more about this important work tucked into Pioneer Bay.

The sourdough

Forget lining up outside a Melbourne or Sydney bakery at the crack of dawn, there’s nothing better than a slice of fresh-baked sourdough in the middle of the Great Barrier Reef. The chefs at Orpheus Island Lodge do the hard work for you, with their own starter on site. The biggest challenge is not to fill up on warm bread, to save room for your four-course dinner each night. Local produce, if not from the kitchen garden or the ocean, is brought in fresh from the mainland. Think Hibachi short rib, prawn brioche toast and raspberry parfait.

Dinghy on demand

Plenty of luxury resorts will have snorkels, kayaks, even hobycats available to guests, but at Orpheus Island Lodge the marine team go one step further. There’s a small fleet of dinghies available for guests to take out into the bay and beyond. At breakfast the team will come around and help you organise your day, so if you feel like a spot of snorkelling in the afternoon, or some early morning fishing, they’ll stock the boat, prepare a quick safety briefing and off you go. They’ll even supply cooler boxes filled with fruit, a bottle of sparkling wine and warm croissants.

300 giant clams hide below the waves

A hidden clam garden shrouds nearby

Just off the tip of the bay where Orpheus Island Lodge sits among the palm trees, more than 300 giant clams hide below the waves. The story goes they were bred by Rick Braley, marine scientist and Magnetic Island resident in the 1980s when the clam farm closed shop have stayed there ever since. The molluscs make for a marvellous snorkel spot, and with the lodge’s handy snorkel map in hand, they’re not hard to find once you tie up your dinghy and swim towards shore.

Pina coladas taste better in paradise

At the main bar, there’s always a range of Australian beer, wine and spirits – many from South Australia’s award-winning makers – so you can add a mimosa to breakfast, or grab a few glasses of crisp rosé and watch sunset from the sand. But if you’re the kind of guest who likes to have a cocktail in hand by the pool, the bar team are well versed in mixing classic favourites. There is an extra fee, but the saying is true, a pina colada really does taste better when you’re by the pool or fresh from a dip in the ocean.

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