Some people only dream of exploring Australia's prized gem: The Great Barrier Reef, with its crystal clear blue waters and countless species of fish that call it home. But getting to Australia, let alone the natural heritage site (and one of the seven natural wonders of the world), isn't easy. Aside from the numerous hours on a plane, hotel expenses, activity fees – the list goes on – there are plenty of reasons to just save it for "later." Until now.
For groups looking to hunker down on a private island for several nights, Wilson Island could be the difference between your dream and reality.
When to go: Frankly, right now. Australia's winter takes place from June–September, but the Great Barrier Reef lies in the northern part of the island, not far from the equator, so current temps are up in the 80s.
Plus, Wilson Island's current promotion is kind of a steal – now until September 30, you and 11 other friends can book a stay on the island for just $447.50 per person, per night. That rate includes all meals, beverages, snorkeling equipment, and boat transfers. You'll get to stay in luxe safari-style tents with king-sized beds, hammocks, and secluded areas surrounded by pisonia and pandanus trees – oh yeah, and private views of the ocean. While there’s no phone reception, internet access, or TV on the island, we can't imagine you'll even notice.
What to do: Well, go snorkeling on the reef, for one. The island sits on the edge of the Wilson Island Reef and nearby you'll find North West Island Reef and Wreck Island Reef. You won't need someone to take you anywhere – just snorkel right off the beach. Get tired of that? Simply lounge around the gazebo or longhouse on the island and read a book. Request to have a picnic lunch on the beach. Or, spend your days just exploring the island, which is actually a national park. In September, you'll see humpback whales breaching off the shore, black noddy birds building their nests, and small migratory birds like ruddy turnstones returning to the island for the summer season.
The only drawback we can think of? Spending your days with the same 11 other people. Take our advice and pick your travel mates wisely!