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Palm Bay Resort Review

Arriving at Long Island via Cruise Whitsundays on a quiet Monday afternoon, only myself and another couple depart at the ferry terminal. There is an eager young man ready to greet the other party, he’s all clean cut and his monogrammed polo shirt reveals he’s from the chain hotel on the island. As they head off I see a little dingy pull up and a Robinson Crusoe-esque man leaps out with jagged shorts, no shoes and a wide straw hat – this is definitely more like it!

Long Island is one of the 74 islands of the Whitsundays. From interstate, fly into either Hamilton Island or Proserpine Airport, the resort is then easily accessible by Ferry from either Hamilton Island (30 minutes) or Airlie Beach (45 minutes) or more glamorous transport options.


We set off over choppy waves, me clinging to the dingy, then my luggage, suddenly thinking how inappropriate my big Dior handbag is right now, I’m bound to loose the contents into the water at any moment. Caretaker David is looking cool, having done this trip thousands of times. When I look up, the most spectacular sight greets me on what must surely be paradise. I’m speechless at the sight of Palm Bay Resort. The beachside bungalows glow in the afternoon light, welcoming me to this secluded hideaway.

David pulls the dingy onto shore, I leap onto the sand and we walk up the private beach to my bungalow. It’s not locked, I’m not provided a key, there is no check-in procedure, I simply slip into this loveliness of island life.


The Beachfront Bungalow has an expansive deck with two-person hammock and outdoor furniture, looking out over Palm Bay Beach and the lagoon. Inside, it’s deceivingly spacious with lounge & dining area, kitchenette with microwave, bar fridge and tea & coffee making facilities. The décor is Balinese inspired and the bedroom has a king size bed and walk-in-wardrobe. The bathroom is modern and has a shower. There is no television and while I’m usually the first to play music whenever I arrive, the silence is golden and the sound of lapping waves on the shoreline is good for the soul.

The resort is beautifully maintained, with tropical gardens leading to a pavilion overlooking the lagoon, perfect for sundowners or relaxing with a good book. There is an outdoor pool and spa, media room and day spa by appointment. There are plenty of island activities including snorkelling, kayaking, fishing with more options such as jet-ski hire available from the neighbouring resort.


The island is currently operating as BYO, so I’ve brought my own supplies – just enough for a cheese platter, simple dinner, breakfast provisions and piccolo of Moet & Chandon, you know, the essentials. I needn’t have worried; there is a general store at reasonable prices at the main lodge with an honour system. You can also pre-arrange for groceries to be delivered for your stay or gourmet provisioning from Airlie Beach’s Fish D’Vine – think gourmet seafood, prepared lunchboxes and platters.

This alone makes it the best value island experience. I’m told there is a restaurant at the neighbouring resort so I set off to discover whether it’s an option. It’s actually 1.3km to the next resort via a bushwalking track and one I would not recommend navigating in the dark. A quick look at the resort reveals it’s not for me & I head swiftly back to paradise.


I return just in time to witness a spectacular sunset from my beachfront bungalow. Swinging in the hammock, sipping Champagne, I’m fairly confident it doesn’t get much better than this, particularly on a Monday afternoon! It feels like Mother Nature is putting on a show just for me, there is simply no one else on the beach to witness this beauty. I enjoy the peace & solitude as the last rays of the day slip behind the mountain before venturing to the main lodge.

The main lodge is a vast space with table and chairs, large communal kitchen and BBQ area available for guest use. There’s a scattering of lounges and to my surprise a fireplace…in the Whitsundays! Although I’m visiting in winter, it’s not cold, but I’m drawn to the fire like a moth to a flame and sink into the sofa to quietly read.


Soon I’m invited by the friendly group of guests to join them for dinner. I’m hesitant, preferring the peace and solitude the resort provides, but they’re a friendly bunch and David has already told me how social the main lodge is, so I best join them. I’m so glad I did, the group are a fascinating bunch, with many stories to tell. Subsequently many bottles of wine are purchased from the honour system/general store - we drink red wine, eat chocolate and tell stories by the fire, like it’s a campfire rather than a resort fireplace - it’s totally unexpected. Yawning, I take my little torch, dodge some nocturnal wildlife back to my bungalow and sleep soundly. Whether it’s the sound of the waves, tropical fresh air or red wine, I sleep well.

The next morning, I walk down the sand to meet David at the dingy to transfer back to the ferry. There’s no key to return, no paperwork to complete “Now this is what you call an express checkout” I exclaim. David thankfully laughs good-naturedly at my lame joke. I wistfully look over my shoulder as we speed further away from the bungalows. I make a silent vow to return soon.

This secret hideaway, won’t be a secret for long. Palm Bay Resort is perfect for romantic getaways or better still hire the whole resort for a special occasion you’ll never forget.

Book Palm Bay Resort online with from $190 per night, minimum 2 night stay.

The writer, Sally Scott was a guest of Cruise Whitsundays and Palm Bay Resort.

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