Bedarra Island is a very exclusive resort at the southern end of the Family Island Group. Captain Cook ran across it in 1770, becoming the first European to sail up the eastern coast of Australia. He found it while working his way through the uncharted waters of the Great Barrier Reef , which is still a difficult process with modern navigation devices.
Cook sailed the Endeavour into a group of islands which he named the Family group on the 8th of June, 1770. This islands comprised Coonanglebah (which Cook renamed ‘Dunk’ after Lord Montague Dunk, the Earl of Sandwich and First Lord of the Admiralty) ‘The Father’, Bedarra ‘The Mother’, Toolghar and Coomba ‘The Twins’ and Kurrumbah, Budjoo and Coolah ‘The Triplets.’
Cooks journal describes him discovering a parcel of small islands laying off the Northern point of the bay, and a mile wide channel between the 3 outermost and those nearer the beach. He saw a bunch of scantily dressed natives with short hair and dark in color.
The natives called Bedarra ‘Biagurra’. It is told that E. J. Banfield did not hear Biagurra correctly, it became Bedarra. The island was first settled by Europeans when Captain Henry Allason bought the island from the Queensland Lands Department for £20 in 1913. The island then went through a number of ownership changes until 1957 when Ken and Cynthia Druitt bought the island and subsequently opened a small resort.
How to get to Bedarra Island.
The access is via Dunk Island. Guests are ferried on a launch which awaits their arrival at Dunk Islands Jetty. The trip takes about twenty minutes to reach Bedarra Island and costs $90.00 per person return. Sunstate Airlines services fly to Dunk Island from Cairns and Townsville – thirty minutes from Cairns and forty five from Townsville. Overseas flights direct into Cairns. There are also a number of water taxis which go between Mission Beach, on the mainland, and Dunk Island.
Bedarra Island has many activities. Paddle-skiing and catamaran sailing, sailboarding, tennis, bush-walking, snorkeling, fishing, and motorized dinghies to explore beaches.
Ken and Cynthia Druitt bought the Bedarra Hideaway area, cultivated the existing gardens and developed a small tourist resort in 1957. In that same year Colin Scott, a grazier from Victoria, bought the area of Bedarra Bay and operated it as a private retreat. In 1979 it was sold to Tor Hulten who converted the property into a small tourist resort called Toranna Plantation. In 1980 Australian Airlines, the owners of Dunk Island Resort, bought Ken Druitt’s section of the island and opened the original Bedarra Hideaway Resort in August 1981. Earlier that year Australian Airlines had also purchased the Toranna Plantation side of Bedarra and operated it as a day resort for Dunk Island guests. Today Bedarra stands on the old Toranna Plantation site. Bedarra Hideaway has been closed since Oct 1991 but is accessible by rainforest track or by dinghy. It has 16 private villas (8 split-level and 8 two story) all with views to the ocean, a fresh water swimming pool, restaurant with outdoor terrace, lounge with 24 hour open bar, and island boutique.
BEDARRA ISLAND GENERAL INFORMATION
Bedarra Island is very exclusive, very luxurious and very beautiful. In setting out to describe Bedarra you need a compendium of superlatives. Most of the time you’ll think you have the whole island to yourself because there’s only 32 guests at any one time in the resort on Bedarra.
The island also features a fantastic variety of plant and animal life. Walking from one end of the island to the other, a good stroll of about 1.6 kilometres is particularly rewarding.
There’s fishing, water sports, or go exploring in a small dighy. If you feel the need for a little more activity, a motorised catamaran will take you to nearby Dunk Island, where you’ll have more sporting facilities at your disposal. Take a trip to Beaver Cay and go snorkelling on the Reef.
TRANSPORT WITHIN THE REGION:
Transtate to Dunk Island, then private launch to Bedarra.
Ferry available from Mission Beach to Dunk Island, then private launch to Bedarra.
EFTPOS and credit cards are accepted.
Small boutique with local arts and crafts.
REGIONAL TOURIST ORGANISATION – Townsville Enterprise Ltd.
Everything on the island is provided by the resort, including, famously, the open bar which encourages visitors to make their own cocktails (there are cocktail mixing books available) and provides a vast array of boutique wines including bottles of Bollinger champagne.
There are two enjoyable walks on the island. A short stroll from the resort which goes down to Wedgerock Bay and then follows the coastline around offering excellent views of ‘The Twins’ and Pee-Rahm-Ah Island from Swiftlet Rock. It joins up with the main road from the resort to the pontoon. The other a walking track across the island to the old Hideaway Resort. It starts behind Villa 9 at the Resort and winds through rainforest to the western side of the island. The walk takes approximately 40 minutes one way.
Other activities: Great Barrier Reef cruises: M.V. Quickcat day cruise leaving Dunk Island, M. V. Neptunius – either a trip to outer reef or full day cruising through Family Island group. Reel Affair II – game fishing for day includes everything except scuba diving ). M. V. Hooker private charter includes everything departing Dunk Island). Bruce Arthur’s Artist Colony excursion on Dunk Island . Dunk Island, which is easily accessible, offers parasailing, 6 hole golf course, water-skiing, horse riding and walking trails. There is only one restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared daily on the island specializing in local seafood.