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High-End Dining On The Great Barrier Reef

27th December 2017

When it comes to out-of-this-world gastronomic experiences, these two Great Barrier Reef resorts offer some of the best.

Barefoot bliss on Lizard Island

As well as its deserted beaches, pristine wilderness and world-class diving, Australia’s northernmost resort, Lizard Island, is acclaimed for its innovative cuisine.


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Australia’s northernmost resort, Lizard Island, is acclaimed for its innovative cuisine. (Image: Lizard Island Resort)

With 180-degree ocean views, the relaxed Salt Water Restaurant takes full advantage of its sublime setting, featuring dishes inspired by fresh local produce plucked from the waters around the island or the hinterland on the mainland. The daily changing menu draws on the flavours of modern Australian cuisine, combining a multicultural mix of Australian, Mediterranean and Asian flavours.


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Dining by the Villa pool - a dreamlike experience. (Image: Lizard Island Resort)

Standout dishes include melt-in-your-mouth Asian beef cheek, coral trout fish cakes, or the superbly unpretentious seared black kingfish. Dishes are paired with wines hand selected for the resort by renowned Australian wine commentator Jeremy Oliver.  Best of all, Lizard Island is an all-inclusive resort, so meals and selected wines are included in the tariff, except for rare and exclusive Australian and international wines from the resort’s prized cellar.

Private beach picnics are also included in your stay, and what better way to explore one of the island’s 24 private beaches than casting off in a small boat for two with a gourmet champagne picnic hamper. The only footprints you’ll see in the sand are your own.

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For a special occasion enjoy a private beachside degustation dinner. (Image: Lizard island Resort)

For a special occasion, choose from two beautiful beach pavilions and enjoy a private beachside degustation dinner. Before dining, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with the Head Chef to discuss the seven-course degustation menu and matching wine selection.

Lizard Island has recently introduced a special Wine Series, where lovers of fine wine are invited to enjoy a luxurious long weekend at the resort appreciating the creations of some of Australia’s finest winemakers. Highlights include a peek inside the Lizard Island Wine Cellar, wine tasting at the Marlin Bar, beachside degustation dining, and champagne brunch on the majestic Anchor Bay.

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TA Reef Dining Lizard Island
Lizard Island has over 20 spectacular private beaches for guests to enjoy a private dining experience. (Image: Getty)

Sensory experiences at qualia

In Latin, qualia means ‘a collection of deeper sensory experiences’, and this description couldn’t be more apt than when dining at one of the finest properties in the Whitsundays. Award-winning executive chef, Doug Innes-Will, presents modern cuisine with an emphasis on keeping things simple, fresh, and elegant.

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qualia dining - the elegance is in the simplicity. (Image: qualia)

With its sprawling views of the Coral Sea, the resort’s Long Pavilion restaurant features a casual modern Australian menu where vibrant ocean-fresh flavours of the South Pacific region are the star, innovatively paired with organic, local produce. Think pan roasted local reef fish with dukka, nasturtium and smoked ham hock broth, paired with a side of truffle fries; or squid ink pasta filled with scallop and prawn mousse with herbs and a rich butter sauce.

At Pebble Beach, qualia's contemporary beachside dining restaurant, the chef and his team have refined the Pebble Beach menu to showcase the excellent produce available locally from the Whitsunday region.

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Be sure to indulge in a slice of Japanese culture and match your sashimi with qualia’s ‘Sake and Sashimi’ classes. (Image: qualia)

Pebble Beach’s signature dinner Tasting Menu features six courses, which change as ingredients come into season. Each stylishly presented dish is a work of art, complemented by premium Australian and imported wines from the restaurant’s superb sommelier-compiled wine list.

If the comfort of your pavilion where Whitsunday views and the tranquil setting of your private deck are too good to leave, you can still enjoy the dining excellence of the Long Pavilion and Pebble Beach with in-pavilion dining.

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Poolside dining at qualia - just to add to the sensory overload. (Image: qualia)

qualia also offers private 'talk and taste' events, with the Executive Chef selecting the finest Australian and international produce to take you on an unforgettable culinary journey. You can indulge in a slice of Japanese culture with qualia’s ‘Sake and Sashimi’ classes; taste different styles of oysters paired with top Australian and French champagnes; or spend an afternoon sampling cheeses from Australia and around the world, matched with fine Australian wines.