Working with travel photographer Rhiannon Taylor, we turn our lens to sustainable travel: highlighting innovative sojourns dotted around Australia, that aim to minimize their environmental impact. Here, Rhiannon heads to Elysian Retreat, found nestled in Far North Queensland.
Photography and words by Rhiannon Taylor of In Bed With Me.
Coming in to Long Island, home to Elysian Retreat, you’re met with sparkling aqua water and a handful of villas secluded at the base of a palm fringed tropical island.
What you don’t see however are the cables and underground pipes which lead to the septic system, which is all part of the island’s sustainability focus and the owner’s passion for sustainability. In fact, Elysian Retreat is the only resort in the Great Barrier Reef to run purely off solar power.
Nestled on the southern point of Long Island, this eco-luxe resort has been designed to minimise its environmental footprint. The resort has eliminated virtually all traces of single use plastic, produce is sourced locally and waste is minimal. There’s reef-safe sunscreen supplied and organic, natural body products in the bathroom including mosquito spray.
The thing about Elysian retreat is that you don’t notice any of this. You truly feel like you’re in luxury paradise. Mornings start with a yoga session by the infinity pool followed by a hearty breakfast of housemate granola and tropical fruit, eggs and avocado.
Post breakfast the spa beckons for a relaxation massage. You’re promptly sent to sleep while your aches and pains melt away to a background of waves lapping in the distance.
Lunch is served in the open air lounge and chef serves up a dish of pillowy gnocchi with pumpkin, tomato and herbs. It’s perfect and it’s hard not to be tempted with a nap. The island has a focus on wellness and relaxation, but if you’re up for it there are paddle boards and canoes and if you’re wanting to venture out staff can arrange tours to nearby attractions such as Airlie Beach and Heart Reef.
Dinner is a three course degustation where chef shows off his skills with fresh seafood, seasonal vegetables and tropical fruit. Paired with matching wines, it’s fabulous and if it’s a nice night you can sit by the fire on the deck and watch the sun go down. You might even spot a whale or two passing by. Elysian Retreat’s minimal footprint makes you feel one with the land and it’s pure bliss.