Now open: The House at Lizard Island, Australia

(From The House press release) The House, a world-class reef house situated on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef opened its doors on 1 July for guests seeking unparalleled levels of privacy and personalised service alongside barefoot adventure and a genuine connection to nature. Newly built on a pristine headland of the exclusive Lizard Island, The House, and its adjoining residence The Cottage, make up the Estate, a rare and compelling offering which embody all things authentically Australian and the opportunity to enjoy laidback luxury at its finest.

To book this property with expert advice and exclusive benefits, email us at

From the awe-inspiring natural beauty of the island, to the architectural design in all its purposefully restrained simplicity crafted from materials endemic to the land, the locally made furnishings and finishes used throughout the estate, an exceptional food and wine offering, and experiences unique to this inimitable pocket of nature, The House is the pinnacle of luxury reef accommodation, offering complete seclusion and privacy, perfect for multi-generational travellers or special occasions that call for a truly memorable getaway.

Located 240 kilometres (150 miles) north of Cairns and 27 kilometres (17 miles) off the coast of northern Queensland, Lizard Island is unspoiled paradise, covered with over 1000 hectares of National Parkland and surrounded by a protected Marine Park. The Estate itself is built on a secluded corner of the island, enveloped by three of the Island’s most beautiful white-sand beaches through which guests can access calm turquoise waters prime for snorkelling, diving, and fishing, while rocky tracks inland lead to picturesque lookouts and sustainable explorations.

Guests have their pick of both the main multi-level residence The House, as well as The Cottage, a separate single level sanctuary, conveniently situated nearby for an au pair, an older child, or grandparents. Up to eight guests can enjoy an all-inclusive stay on The Estate, with a private host dedicated to curating a perfectly unique experience for guests.

A stay at The House is completely bespoke with a team of experts on hand to accommodate all
conceivable wants and needs, including a naturalist to lead hikes, a private chef and sommelier to cater to all tastes, a facialist, masseuse and yoga instructor to enhance wellness journeys. The House itself comes with a fleet of boats available for all kinds of intimate encounters with the reef including ‘Pisces’, a 56’ Riviera Motor Yacht available for tailor-made experiences like fishing trips or day exploring the reef and nearby islands with a chef on-hand in to cook up your fresh catch of the day.

The Estate’s private chef is dedicated to showcasing the diverse and exceptional produce found in and around Queensland’s tropical north food bowl, as well the incredibly fresh seafood, while always catering to the tastes and special requests of guests. The House sommelier similarly works closely with the guest relations team to curate the Estate’s unique wine collection to the tastes of guests, hand selecting wines for every single meal and occasion.

Over the past three decades, Brisbane-based businessman Steve Wilson has delivered the vision of his late father John Wilson – an entrepreneur who built the first lodge on Lizard Island in the 1970s – working to build a property that adequately paid its respects to the sacred land and its Aboriginal and European histories while also ensuring minimal disturbances were made to the environment. The House stands as a monument to John Wilson’s dream that many others could appreciate the singularity of Lizard Island, the only resort on the famous outer reef who’s wall of coral plunges 1000 metres at the edge of the continental shelf.

Following an international design contest, architect Robert Riddel was engaged by owner Steve Wilson in the 1980s to design an exceptional property that responded sensitively to the location’s World Heritage-listed status. After an approval process that stretched out over 25 years, prominent Queensland architect Dr James Davidson of JDA Co. was brought on to design the final buildings and masterplan for the site, creating the architecturally stunning dwellings The House and The Cottage now constructed on this pristine headland.

“The design concept was to not only touch the earth lightly, but to recede into the landscape, hugging the slope of the hill so that the physical presence of the house becomes hidden in its surroundings,” detailed founder and principal architect James Davidson of JDA Co. “As a reflection of its remote, and sometimes harsh environment, the form of the house was a robust outer concrete and copper shell that was designed to blend with the surrounding rock formations and weather over time, balanced nicely by the interior which reflects a softer feeling through the use of timbers and natural stone.”

For the interior details, Sophie Hart was commissioned as the design consultant to create a soothing reef house that celebrated the immense artisanal talent bursting from within Australia’s shores. The art chosen for the property includes an impressive curation of female indigenous works by Ilma Savari, Fiona Omeenyo’s ‘Gathering the Clan Groups’ 2008, Susie Pascoe’s stunning painting ‘Koul’a Tchuchiniou Pa’amu Atapa’ 2008, as well as Punyas Dilly-bags by Dorothy Short obtained from Queensland galleries. Commissioned for The House were Alison Coates ‘sea drifters’, vessels and platters by Anna Markey and a Tegan Murdock woven bowl.

Armadillo & Co rugs, Bemboka bedding, Paul Morris built-in lounge, brass tables and lamps, a custom-made rug by Tibet Sydney, inspired by the reef off one of the private beaches on the Estate, and Mud Australia and Dinosaur Designs serving ware are just some of the Australian designed and made pieces found inside The House. Other design elements include Edra lounges, B&B Italia tables and chairs, Patricia Urquiola armchairs in each bedroom and an impressive emerald quartzite benchtop.

“Luxury to me is more about authenticity and experience than ostentation,” details owner Steve Wilson. “The luxury is witnessed in the position of the house, the thought behind the details and of course, the views, but that’s not to say we’ve denied it any luxuries in design and interiors. Every single piece chosen for The House has a sense of place. Much of the furniture was hand built by a local craftsman, while other renowned international pieces stand as functioning works of art. An iconic table by B&B Italia sits alongside a piece of art by an indigenous artist from far north Queensland. I wanted guests to be captivated but also not feel uncomfortable walking inside with sand on their feet.”

The House and The Cottage are managed as part of the award-winning Lizard Island Resort as their pinnacle and most exclusive offering. Resort General Manager, Leon Pink, says “our goal is to give the guests of The House a lifetime ‘bucket-list’ experience in this magical part of the world”.


  • Return scenic charter flights to Lizard Island from Cairns
  • Transfers from Lizard Island Airport to The House (either by four-wheel drive or boat
    depending on guest preference)
  • Chauffeured transfers between The House and the resort
  • Private Host for the duration of stay to curate your itinerary and attend to your every
  • Private access to 3 pristine beaches on the Estate with another 21 beaches to explore
  • Premium food and beverages including a private chef and sommelier on hand for all
  • A sunset cruise followed by dinner on the beach
  • Priority access at preferred rates to charter “Pisces” – a luxury 56’ motor yacht for reef
    snorkelling, swimming, diving and fishing
  • Unlimited use of “Mojo” – a twin 140hp Seaswift RIB to experience the surrounding
    islands and private beach drop-offs
  • Tour of the National Park with a naturalist to experience the flora, fauna and sacred sites
  • Tour of the Australian Museum’s on-island Research Station
  • Full use of resort facilities including pools, tennis court, gymnasium, restaurant and bars
  • 1 hour per couple of day-spa services over a 3-night stay; either in-house or at the
    resort’s wellness centre

Rates start from AUD $16,000 per night, 3 night minimum, for 2 persons or from AUD $28,000 per night for the entire House and Cottage, up to 8 persons

For more information visit,
All images are © Elise Hassey (@elisehassey) / The House at Lizard Island