Meet Hayman Island Resort, the Great Barrier Reef’s Most Lavish Private Island

The InterContinental Hayman Island resort
The InterContinental Hayman Island resort Courtesy Image


Australia’s Queensland coast—already a playground for adventurers—just got a serious upgrade with the opening of the InterContinental Hayman Island Resort, a private island that makes the perfect launch point for Great Barrier Reef exploration.

The luxe resort offers plenty of thrill-seeking activities, whether you crave a fishing excursion in the Whitsunday Islands or a SUP tour of the island’s hidden coves. But chances are—if you’ve made it to this remote oasis Down Under—you want unparalleled underwater access to coral reefs. And Hayman Island Resort most definitely delivers.

Snorkelling Tours with Ocean Dynamics
Snorkelling Tours with Ocean Dynamics Courtesy Image

With the hotel’s partner, Ocean Dynamics, guests can enjoy a private charter sail, cruising along the calm, cerulean waves. Craft your personalized itinerary for a half- or full-day tour that starts with diving or snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef and ends with a tantalizing picnic spread on Whitehaven Beach (of course, you can arrange your day however you like).

Regardless of how you plan your outing, you’ll have your own captain and crew to make sure everything goes smoothly—and keep an eye on the boat while you enjoy some mimosas.

Diving with Ocean Dynamics
Diving with Ocean Dynamics Courtesy Image

If you really want to get away from it all, the Outer Reef—a less touristy part of the Great Barrier Reef—is only 60 minutes from Hayman Island via boat. If you want to do something other than snorkeling or diving? Ocean Dynamics can set you up on an underwater sea scooter tour, a guided jet ski excursions, or other unique water adventures.

For something truly sublime above sea level, enjoy the three-hour reef seaplane adventure. You’ll soar over the Coral Sea to the Outer Reef, take in mesmerizing, kaleidoscopic views, and then land in the secluded coral-fringed Hardy Lagoon. Once you’re there, throw on some snorkel gear and dive in to view magnificent fish and coral.

If you’re still in the mood to torch some more calories before nightfall, there are plenty of ways to do it. Back on the property, hop in a sea kayak to paddle out to Blue Pearl Bay, Langford Island, and Bali Hai. Along the way, soak up the stellar scenery and keep an eye out for sea turtles and stingrays.

The infinity pool at Hayman Island's InterContinental
The infinity pool at the InterContinental Hayman Island Courtesy Image

When hunger strikes, grab a quick meal (infinity) poolside at AQUA or linger over a wood-fired pizza at Amici Trattoria. The resort is also home to Pacific, a brasserie overlooking the Coral Sea, Pan-Asian hotspot Bam Bam, and Bar Fifty, a classic hotel lobby bar that’s been slinging sips to travelers since the ‘50s.

For days when you feel like staying on the resort premises, there’s no shortage of stellar activities to consider. Our votes are the golf simulator, a bird walk (Cockatoos! Rainbow Lorikeets! Kookaburras!), standup paddleboard tours, and a melt-your-heart Sunset Peak hike.

Ready to book your trip? Happily, North Queensland enjoys ideal water temperatures throughout the year, so there’s never a bad time to be in the ocean. Especially when you know that a dip in the infinity pool, chased with a glass of delicious Aussie wine and an oceanfront view, awaits as your reward for an adrenaline-packed day at sea.