Haggerstone Island is a remote, exclusive, and intimate island within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and off shore from the Cape York Peninsula. It is located over 100 miles from the nearest habitation, and guests must make a concerted effort to reach Haggerstone, as the island is accessible only by private light aircraft.
The island is owned by Anna and Roy Turner, and is one of Australia’s most exclusive private island resorts. The Turners were inspired to construct a Robinson Crusoe –style retreat. This is not a vacation experience for those who enjoy the trappings of an all-inclusive resort experience. But for those seeking solitude, immersion in nature, healthy freshly-caught cuisine, and a break from the fast-paced world of work and electronics, this is the island for you.
Haggerstone Island was deserted and uninhabited until 1985 when a couple of intrepid adventurers – Anna and Roy Turner – arrived on the island and unloaded building materials, chickens, fruit trees, and a tractor from a large barge. They spent six years along on the island, the first year in tents manually carrying drinking water by bucket.
Haggerstone is just 42 hectares, and is mostly covered by jungle, white sand beaches, and blue lagoons.
The wildlife on Haggerstone, and marine life surrounding the island, is pristine. There are no inhabited islands nearby, minimizing man’s effect on the environment. Coral reefs, lagoons, beach cays, and abundant fish are all present for visitors’ enjoyment.
Activities (Nature and Wildlife Interest)
A number of activities can be enjoyed from Haggerstone Island:
Fishing: Fishing opportunities exist that suit a wide variety of skill levels and interests, from rod, steel, and spear fishing to fly fishing, and in including river, ocean, and reef fishing. The fish is abundant – there is no other habitation for 100 miles, and thus few tourists to be reducing fish numbers. Bait can be caught off the island’s beach. The island’s residents spear fish daily to catch food for the island’s meals. A 40-foot boat – New Boat Jo Jo III, which has twin 700 horsepower Jet propulsion engines.
Skindiving and snorkeling: Diving is popular year-round. Coral reefs are easily accessible as there are two lagoons located right off the beach. Reefs extend all around the island and can be accessed by an easy boat ride. A shipwreck from the 1840s has been discovered – with giant anchors, bronze bolts, and winching blocks, along with a shallow reef garden.
Bird watching: A variety of birds inhabit the island, including: honeyeaters. Kingfishers, coloured pigeons, jungle fowls, sunbirds, eagles, pitas, and finches.
Helicopter exploration: Jump on a helicopter to explore the mainland, visit UNESCO world heritage listed sites, discover great sport fishing locations, and view the Great Barrier Reef from above.
Beachcombing: Beach comb for colourful shells or World War II artifacts, and hours of relaxing walking will pass you by.
Haggerstone Island Guest House is a rustic Robinson-Crusoe-esque complex of a half-dozen buildings, with gardens, orchards, and fresh water dams. The island can only cater to less than ten guests at a time, making it an extremely private experience.
The Island Guesthouse has three individually-designed huts with rustic amenities and basic cooking facilities and one three-bedroom fully contained house. The huts range from rustic facilities to more comfortable self-contained accommodations – and can sleep between two and four guests. One hut is perched on a hill overlooking a lagoon; another is located on the lagoon; a third looks out to the reef from within a tree stand; and a fourth is located directly on the beach.
The resort also has a main building with a library, communal area for meals, and a jetty with a great seating area situated next to the lagoon.
Cairns, North Queensland is the gateway to Haggerstone Island, which is located about 600km north of the city. From there, the island resort arranges a two-hour charter flight on a private twin engine six-seater plane, to the airstrip on nearby Hicks Island. Then, a twenty-minute boat ride will transport guests from Hicks Island to Haggerstone Island.
The flight is not merely a way to get from point A to point B – it offers beautiful views of hard-to-reach areas along the coast.