FAQ

What are the meals like?

Our two chefs, Stacey and Sophie, are very experienced and very good - so with no more than twelve guests to cater for, and fresh supplies delivered each morning from the mainland, they have the time and facilities to create an exquisite dining experience each day. Individual dietary requirements, vegetarians and vegans can be easily catered for. breakfast consists of a selection of fresh fruit, juice, cereals, breads, yogurts, cold meats, cheeses, eggs, an individually prepared full cooked breakfast on request, plus freshly brewed coffee or tea. Lunch is usually a gourmet style picnic pack to take with you on the yacht.Lunch Dinner is served in the open gazebo overlooking the beach - three courses of fine dining accompanied by excellent Australian wine, good conversation, a warm, gentle breeze off the ocean, and the clearest night sky you'll ever see. A sample of the dinner mains include the following:- Fresh local Barramundi served on parsley potato mash with bok choy and lemon aioli. Rib eye fillet steak served with marinated kifler potatoes, green beans and squash with red wine jus. Macadamia crusted chicken breast on lemon risotto, ponzu butter and fresh vegetables. Pan fried Tasmanian salmon with salsa veroli on a bed of seeded potato mash, asparagus and roasted parsnips. Grilled lamb loin strap with pearl barley and rosemary jus and fresh vegetables..

What weather can we expect?

The Whitsundays enjoy a subtropical climate, where the water and daytime temperature never falls below 18 C (65 F). While most people want sunshine on their vacation, obviously you can't predict the weather with any certainty, but most of the activities and the unique atmosphere of the Lodge are not dependent on sunny weather. The weather here is always perfect - when it's sunny and calm, it's perfect for snorkelling and swimming - when it's raining, it's perfect for a walk in the rainforest - when it's blowing 20 knots, it's perfect for an exciting sail - when it's calm and overcast it's perfect for a gentle kayak along the mangrove estuaries - and when it's cool in the evening, it's perfect for sitting around the camp fire after dinner. Dec, Jan, Feb, March & April: Warm to hot and humid with some tropical rain storms (most often at night). The time of the year when everything is green, lush and tropical - with some beautiful waterfalls, natural fresh water rock pools, and spectacular lightning displays over the distant mountain ranges in the evenings. May, June & July: Warm days, cool nights, occasional light showers. The best time of the year to enjoy the walking trails during the day and beachside campfires at night. August & September: Warm to hot and dry. The whale watching season. Humpback whales and their calves are often seen near the Lodge. October, November & early December: Warm to hot and dry. Often the best time of the year for snorkeling - with clear warm water and little chance of rain. Can we stay less than 5 nights? Not unless you're booking the whole Lodge exclusively for your own use (see below for details). Visiting the Lodge for less than five nights is a bit like seeing only half a good movie. We have a five night minimum stay because our aim is to help people completely unwind and escape - in peace and quiet - without too many people constantly coming and going. This simply can't be achieved properly in a hurry. Also, there is so much to see and do here, with our sailing excursions and helicopter tours, that with less than five nights, you would miss out on experiencing most of our activities and destinations. Can we swim all year? Yes. The water around the Whitsunday islands and adjacent Great Barrier Reef is never less than 18 C (65 F) and we swim and snorkel comfortably at all times of the year. We also provide full body wet suits for added protection & warmth.

Can we stay less than 5 nights?

Not unless you're booking the whole Lodge exclusively for your own use (see below for details). Visiting the Lodge for less than five nights is a bit like seeing only half a good movie. We have a five night minimum stay because our aim is to help people completely unwind and escape - in peace and quiet - without too many people constantly coming and going. This simply can't be achieved properly in a hurry. Also, there is so much to see and do here, with our sailing excursions and helicopter tours, that with less than five nights, you would miss out on experiencing most of our activities and destinations.

Can we swim all year?

Yes. The water around the Whitsunday islands and adjacent Great Barrier Reef is never less than 18 C (65 F) and we swim and snorkel comfortably at all times of the year. We also provide full body wet suits for added protection & warmth.

What about stingers and jellyfish ?

There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding jellyfish and marine stingers in this region. There are no more jellyfish around the Great Barrier Reef and islands than any other tropical waters around the world - Australia just has more stringent safety standards and reporting procedures than most other countries. The Box Jellyfish is one of the species of jellyfish seen in tropical north Australian waters at certain times of the year, but it is not considered a danger around the Whitsunday islands or outer Great Barrier Reef. It has been responsible for several deaths in the past 100 years, mostly in mainland estuaries much further north than the Whitsunday islands. As such, authorities recommend people do not swim in mainland estuaries or beaches during the wet season from November to April. Other species of small jellyfish are known to be around the islands and outer reef during the wet season, and can produce a very painful sting, but are quite rare and not considered deadly. Considering there are thousands of people swimming, snorkelling and diving around the Whitsunday islands every day, and there are only a few reported incidences each year, the chances of being stung are very slim. As an added precaution, we provide and recommend wearing a full wetsuit when swimming or snorkelling. It will keep you warm, protect you from scratches and stings, help you float, and prevent sunburn.

Where does the yacht sail to each day?

We have more than twelve years experience exploring the islands, beaches, estuaries and coral gardens around the Lodge. There are many variables, including wind strength and direction, tides, and currents, which dictate the best location to sail to each day. The weather can change overnight, so our boat skipper usually decides where to go after arriving at the Lodge each morning and consulting with guests about their preferred activities. Most locations are within a couple of hours sail from the Lodge and we are as flexible as possible.

What are the walking trails like?

There's a lovely natural trail from the Lodge to a lookout at the southern tip of the island. The trail passes through an incredible variety of different vegetation, including sub-tropical rainforest, forests of Solitaire Palms and Hoop Pines, and takes about two hours return at a gentle pace. There are also several trails and walking tracks we visit on our daily sailing excursions, including a two hour walk through the rainforest on the north end of Long Island, and a three hour walk to a spectacular lookout at Mt. Jeffries on the top of South Molle Island.

Can we scuba dive at the Lodge?

The coral in the fringing reef around the islands is in fairly shallow water, and is best seen by snorkeling at low tide, so you don't really need to scuba dive to see the best of it. As such, we don't do any scuba diving at the Lodge, but you can do a scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef if you take the optional half day helicopter tour to the outer reef. Only one dive is possible on the standard tour. Since the outer reef is about 30 miles off the coast, we don't recommend a day trip by boat - which can be a long and uncomfortable cruise for a short time on the reef. Dedicated scuba divers should consider combining a stay at the Lodge (for a relaxing experience of the natural wildlife and islands of the Great Barrier Reef) with a three or four day dive boat cruise along the outer reef. There are several excellent boats operating out of Cairns. We recommend the SPIRIT OF FREEDOM as one of the best.Qantas flies into Cairns from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and international ports, and has connecting flights from Cairns to Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays.

Are there good beaches on the islands?

It depends on your definition of a good beach. If you're expecting miles of long sandy beaches (like the ones you'll see along the Australian coastline south of the Great Barrier Reef) then you'll probably be disappointed - because most of the islands have a predominantly rocky foreshore, with small sandy coves and a large tidal range which exposes fringing reef at low tide. Unless you want to go for long beach walks, these small island beaches are idyllic by most people's definition - picturesque, private, intimate, protected from the wind, and usually with some good fringing coral reef to snorkel. There are a few exceptions though. Whitehaven beach, on the uninhabited Whitsunday Island is three miles of pure white silica sand and is regularly voted Australia's most beautiful beach. We sail there on our yacht when the conditions are suitable (less than 15 knot winds). Genesta Bay is a similar mainland beach we visit during our daily sailing cruises from the Lodge. The beach at South Long Island is typical of most island beaches in the area, although better than most because it is sandy all the way out at low tide, yet still has some fringing reef to snorkel..

Will I get seasick on the yacht?

Our Seawind
sailing catamaran, the "Wilderness Explorer" is 34 ft long and 20 ft wide - a fast and stable yacht, which tends to sit flat in the water rather than heeling over like a single hulled yacht. It is very comfortable and safe, and most of the excursions sail for no more than two hours before stopping at a secluded bay or beach for a swim, walk or snorkel. You are never out of sight of land and very few of our guests ever get seasick on our yacht.

What will the other guests be like?

About one third of our guests are Australian (mostly from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane), one third from North America, and another third from the UK and Europe. Most are aged between 25 and 60, generally well educated and well traveled professional people who don't like big resorts. About 10% are on their honeymoon. A recent guest described the Lodge as being incredibly exclusive, without being elitist or pretentious in any way - allowing people to mix and make friends in a relaxed and casual atmosphere.

Is it suitable for people traveling on their own?

Yes, about 15% of our guests are traveling on their own. Because we don't charge a single surcharge for sole occupancy of a bungalow, and because of the relaxed, social atmosphere, with communal dining and plenty of interesting activities and tours - singles find it very easy to mix and chat to others, yet couples still have the peace and privacy to have time to themselves. Can we bring our children? Most of our guests prefer to visit the Lodge without children, so we don't accept children under 12 years of age.

Can we get married at the Lodge?

Yes you can. We can fly a local marriage celebrant to the Lodge by helicopter to conduct the ceremony. The total additional cost is around AUD$700, which includes helicopter transfers for the celebrant plus his fees. We usually suggest couples stay a night on Hamilton Island so they can get makeup, hair and flowers the following morning before flying over to the Lodge for the ceremony and a honeymoon in paradise.

Since you have 10 bungalows, can't you take 20 guests?

We decided long ago that the experience here is best with no more than twelve guests. This allows us to provide very personalized service with minimal impact on the environment - plus it allows regular early check-ins and late check-outs, without having to wait for a room to be vacated. You can arrive as early as 8.00am and depart as late as 5.00pm, allowing 6 full days at the Lodge while paying for only 5 nights. It also allows us to provide sole use of a cabin for single guests without a surcharge.

What makes the Lodge such good value?

Because we advertise direct to the public via this web site, we can provide our services about 30% cheaper than if we were marketed through travel agencies. With most resorts and tour packages, up to 40% of your payment is going to the "middle men" with a complex chain of travel agents, wholesalers and inbound operators all claiming commissions and spending vast amounts on expensive advertising campaigns. Additionally, the Lodge has taken more than $3 million and twelve years to design, build and develop, and provides a very unique all-inclusive package of services and experiences that only millionaires usually get to enjoy. Helicopters cost $1,100 per hour to charter, hiring a yacht and skipper in this area costs at least $800 per day, and meals of the quality served at the Lodge cost well over $100 per day at most island resorts. Add it all up, and combined with the small number of guests, stunningly beautiful location, and unique concept - it is incredible value.

You can store any additional luggage at the helicopter terminal if you can't make the 15kg per person limit imposed on the helicopter transfers. There is no additional charge.

No. Although they will work at the lookout on the end of the island and in certain locations on the sailing trips. The Lodge office radio phone is available for guests use for emergencies only.

No. Give yourself a break - the world will go on without you.

Yes you can book exclusive use of the Lodge with up to twelve of your own guests (including yourselves) for AUD$6,000 per night with all the usual inclusions of the five night package.

The following conditions apply for exclusive use bookings:
    Ten bungalows are available if required.
  • There is a minimum 2 night stay for exclusive use bookings.
  • Children are allowed but are counted as a full person.
  • Check-in time is 16.00 pm. Check-out is 10.00 am.
  • The 10% online discount does not apply to exclusive use bookings which are not commissionable to travel agents. A 50% non-refundable deposit must be paid within 7 days to hold an exclusive use booking. The balance of payment must be paid no later than 12 weeks before arrival to hold the reservation. As we have to block out the dates as soon as an exclusive use booking is made, which means we are turning away other bookings for these dates immediately, all payments made for exclusive use bookings are non-refundable. Email info@southlongisland.com for availability.

We've only got two weeks in Australia - what itinerary would you recommend?

Our recommended itinerary for a couple of weeks visit to Australia would include the following:- 1. Fly into Cairns international airport and stay 3 or 4 nights. There are many interesting things to see and do within a few hours drive - including the Daintree rainforest, Cape Tribulation, Kurranda (Sky Rail & train), Atherton Tablelands, Port Douglas, and Mossman Gorge. There are hundreds of places to stay in and around Cairns and a wide choice of day tours or the option of self driving a hire car. Alternatively, there are also several excellent dive boats operating from Cairns and Port Douglas which do overnight trips along the Great Barrier Reef. 2. Fly south from Cairns to Hamilton island, in the Whitsunday group of islands (about one hour flight with Qantas) and transfer directly to South Long Island Nature Lodge by helicopter. The Lodge is the best place to stay in the area to experience and explore the natural beauty of the islands and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park without crowds of tourists. 3. Fly south from Hamilton island to Sydney (2 hours with Qantas, Jetstar or Virginblue). Two or three days in Sydney would allow you to visit the Opera House, the historic Rocks area, cruise Sydney Harbour, and perhaps a day tour to the Blue Mountains. 4. Fly out of Sydney international airport.

What do we need to bring?

There are no shops at the Lodge, but there is always access to food for snacks at any time, and we do sell a good selection of quality Australian wines and beer at very reasonable prices. Our boat skipper returns to the mainland each evening, returning to the Lodge in the morning with fresh supplies, so he can purchase any emergency items which may also be required by guests. We provide all bed linen, bath towels, beach towels, wet suits, snorkels, masks and fins. There are 240 volt power points in all bungalows, which is adequate for charging camera batteries and operating small electric shavers and fans, but because electricity is provided by solar charged batteries, it is not ample enough to power hair dryers or irons which draw a heavy current and cannot be used without damaging the batteries.

The main things you need to bring include the following:-

Swimmers, shorts, sun hat, sun screen, insect repellent, long pants, pullover & spray jacket during winter (June to Aug), shoes for walking through water (sandals), bush walking shoes (runners are adequate), camera & film, a small flashlight, a small backpack if wanted, personal toiletries & medicine.