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Orpheus Island, Queensland {our trip!}

Fat Mum Slim /

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

Imagine there’s a place where you’re treated like the Queen, even when you’re just a commoner, where food just arrives and it’s just what you’re feeling like, where kind people play with your kids so you can actually eat breakfast/lunch/dinner with two hands and no stress, and the sun kisses your skin softly, warming you up just enough that you could go for a swim but not so much that you sweat rather than glow.

It’s paradise, and my friends, I’ve been there. And it was good.

So a week ago I, along with my girls and my Ma, were helicoptered over to an island on the Great Barrier Reef. It’s called Orpheus Island.

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

I’m guessing that some {a lot} of you don’t know how travel famils work. They’re called famils because they’re familiarising you with a place or region. I’ve done a lot of cool things with Tourism Queensland before, because I love Australia, particularly Queensland. They’ll create a trip for me to go on, so I can explore parts of Queensland. There’s never any obligation. If I want to share it with you guys, I do. And if I don’t, I don’t. Most of the time I don’t research where I’m going, because I don’t want to ruin my experience. I want to experience it completely for the first time, for real.

So I had no idea what Orpheus Island was like.

The only way to get there is via helicopter, so from that I had an inkling it was going to be fancy. We arrived and we were ushered off the helicopter… oh wait, can we stop and appreciate this cute photo of Lulu’s first ride on a helicopter. She was happy for that 3 seconds, and then she cried for the other 30 minutes. FUN.

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

So we were ushered off the helicopter and then we met the General Manager of the island, Ranaul. And it was pretty much from that moment that I was ruined for any future holidays. Orpheus is now the measuring stick for all future holidays.

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

We were taken up to the pavilion where we met with the chef, Arie, and were talked through how the island works. The chef asked us what food we like, what we don’t and he said that he’d create menus just for us during out stay. And I kid you not, he did. Each night there was a menu printed out with our names on it, and food customised to our tastes. F-A-N-C-Y.

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

Ranaul begged me, “We want you to just relax on this stay. You’re not allowed to think about anything but relaxing.”

I tried. I did. But can anyone truly relax when they have kids, particularly a toddler? I was 97% relaxed, 3% aware that there were other people on the island who probably didn’t want to hear my child screaming that she wanted more chocolate biscuits.

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, QueenslandTravel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

The island doesn’t have more than 40 people on it at any time, including staff {about 24 are staff members from memory}. Orpheus has hosted many celebrities, including Elton John. He once did something a little bit cheeky on the island, and as an apology he donated them his piano. It’s still there.

So much about this island blew my mind. The food though, it was a-mah-zing. Lunch is tapas style, so you turn up at 1pm and you’re served 5 dishes of food to munch on. The first day we had Asian, the second day Italian and the third day we had Indian. They have their own garden so they can source their own fresh produce as much as possible, being so far from the mainland.

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

Dinner is 4-5 courses of beautiful, small, flavour-bursting meals, oh and dessert. The first night we put Lulu to sleep and then put on the baby monitor and took it to dinner with us. Her room was really close, plus the girls who work at the resort kept checking on her so I didn’t have to play parent for a while. The second night we were treated to dinner on the pier, with reef sharks swimming underneath us. Sadly, Lulu was sick and changed our plans so we went back to our room and feasted there. And I mean feasted.

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

On the first afternoon I asked Ranaul to take me to have a look at the rooms on the resort. “You know, I’m kinda confused. I don’t feel right being here. I don’t think I’m someone that could afford this place, and I’m not sure that my readers could either.”

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

“Don’t you think that you just deserve a treat?” he asked, and then added, “I think you need to open your mind a little. There isn’t one type of visitor we have here. We have people that have saved and saved to give themselves a special experience. We have celebrities, business people, labourers, parents, honeymooners…”

Over the following days my eyes did open. I started to meet other guests and I realised that while some were super fancy, and others were just so normal, who had saved hard for a few days in paradise.

The rates for Orpheus are all inclusive {starting at $1200 a night, return guests get 25% off}, so you get on the island and you don’t worry about anything else. You eat what you want to eat, and you drink what you want to drink. If you don’t fancy anything on the menu, just ask and they’ll make it for you. The kids sat down with the chef and managed to sort out their own dinner one night; sausages, chips and vegetables, with a chocolate ice cream chaser. There are also loads of activities to do at no extra cost; snorkeling, sunset cruises, stand-up paddle-boarding and you can take out one of their boats and go exploring yourself.

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland{Ma and I snorkeling. We went and saw a shark, voluntarily!}

In the past the island wasn’t family-friendly, but four years ago a guy named Chris Morris took over and couldn’t imagine a place so beautiful not being accessible to families {seeing that he was a doting grandfather himself}. So, kids are now welcomed and catered for.

I cried when I left. I felt so emotional, because by the end of our stay {2 nights, 3 days} I felt like family. I felt special. I felt relaxed, and most of all I felt like Orpheus had a part of my heart. Lacey was so upset to leave too, and most of the time she’s just dying to get home, but not at Orpheus. Of all the places we’ve been, I think it was her favourite. Mostly because she got to hang out with the girls who work there, she got to play with the resident chickens and pick food from the garden. And one day, when she was sitting by the pool she suddenly felt like a milkshake and Jacqui turned up that second holding one for her, like magic.

Travel guide: Orpheus Island, Queensland

I needed to know that I was going to experience it again in my lifetime. I couldn’t leave knowing that it was the last time I was going to be there. So, I vowed to myself that I’d return… and I believe that I will. And I will, without kids… so that I can be 100% relaxed.

I hope you get to experience too, or something just like it.

I traveled as a guest of Tourism Queensland. All opinions are my very own. If you want to check out more about Orpheus Island, you can visit their website here.

  • Sounds Amazing Chantelle!

  • Oh my goodness. That sounds SO DIVINE. Amazing. I think this needs to go on my ‘one day’ list. I could feel your experience through your words – wonderful 🙂

  • Savings are go. This place has shot to number 2 on my Bucket List (right behind Disneyland!) Chantelle, you’re such an enabler!

    • I know you won’t be disappointed. They even have a cookie jar where they bake fresh cookies every other day. They had anzacs, and chocolate, and then apricot with macadamia. Heaven!

  • MyInnerPollyanna

    This might be my new favourite “dream about it” destination… the one that I think about when I’m stressed and overwhelmed and need to take a moment to relax.

    • Yes, it’s where my mind will go to when either of my kids is in the middle of a meltdown…

  • Barbara Neubeck

    …wow… Chantelle… Orpheus sounds amazing… I’d love to go there and experience the wonderful service and relaxation tat you had… xxx I have a dream now… lol.. Thanks for sharing this… love your children.. xxxxx

  • I want to go to there.

    Sounds amazing – and you’re right, it may take a bit to save to get there, but it would be such a special holiday.

    And is it just me…but I really, really want to know what Elton John did – ha ha!

  • Jenni from styling curvy

    My mister and I have just spent the afternoon trying to work out how we can budget for an annual holiday…something we both desperately need. I’ve never been overseas and dream of exploring Australia too…Orpheus is now on the list, it sounds like heaven on earth x

  • What a treat … oh I would love to do that, check out places on mini holidays. I can’t say I’ve heard of Orpheus Island before but it sounds nice.

  • Leanne @ SweetStyle

    Sounds amazing Chantelle! On the bucket list xx

  • Bek

    What an amazing island to visit and your words just make me feel like I was there with you…..sort of 🙂
    When you said you cried when you left, I instantly thought of that ad on TV at the moment where the guy jumps out of his boat after his holiday ends and he swims to shore to hug the man who works at the resort…..do you know it? I could kinda picture you doing that!!!!!

  • If it’s good enough for Elton, it’s good enough for me!

  • I do hope you get there sans kids – you deserve it. Love the photo of you and your ma – precious. x

  • mary_j_j

    Sounds and looks beautiful! We stayed at a resort in Fiji , on Tavenui, that only had 30 guests – it was amazing and I felt like crying too when we left. The care that you get in places like that, for the entire family, is just amazing. Hmmm, Orpheus. I will remember that name!! I love having a fantasy travel list!

  • Brenda Hamey

    I have Stayed at Orpheous 3 times ,how I wish I could afford to go back.It holds many happy memories of wonderful people I met and wonderful times with the staff.( I wonder if some of them are still there.?) At the time all those years ago my Surname was McIntosh. Great times on Orpheous ,food and places to walk and climb.The BEST MY DREAMS OF ORPHEOUS..

  • Judy Davies

    I used to got here before anyone owned it and loved every minute, so nice that now it has owners that share the island with all. Congrates.

@Fatmumslim