REVEALED: New life for stunning luxury Whitsundays resort

LOCATION, LOCATION: An aerial shot over Palm Bay Resort, located on Long Island in the Whitsundays.
LOCATION, LOCATION: An aerial shot over Palm Bay Resort, located on Long Island in the Whitsundays. Palm Bay Resort

A FEW years ago, Palm Bay Resort on Long Island was closed and falling into severe disrepair.

It's generator was on the fritz and the resort was overgrown and sorely in need of some TLC.

Enter Helen Scott and her team of eight.

After a mammoth effort starting in late 2013, following a closure of about three years, the resort was revamped and given a new lease on life, steered by director Ms Scott.

Now, you only have to take a glimpse at review websites, such as TripAdvisor, to see what guests think about the 21-room resort's recovery.

The resort, owned by Ms Scott's partner, is thriving, despite a lingering perception on the mainland the Whitsundays resort is closed.

Ms Scott emphasised the resort is indeed open for business, despite two other unrelated resorts on Long Island remaining closed.


The Hibiscus Suite at the small resort.
The Hibiscus Suite at the small resort. Palm Bay Resort

She's hoping her resort's speedy recovery after Cyclone Debbie, which tore through gardens and fences, will result in more guests.

"It had been closed about two and a half to three years, because of a downturn in tourism in the Whitsundays, the Global Financial Crisis, Cyclone Yasi and other factors," Ms Scott said.

" ... my partner asked if I'd like to go and resurrect it and that's what I've been doing for the last three or four years.

"Everything was broken. There was no money, but still debt from government departments.

"It was a nightmare. I had to work really hard to try and keep it looking nice, keep it working, so we had revenue to fix everything."

After getting back on track, Ms Scott had to figure out "how to actually get guests on the island".

Island Transfers came to the party and now provides multiple daily boat departures from Shute Harbour return.

The improvements have attracted a steady flow of guests, who come to the resort for its "beauty, tranquillity" and "because it's a little different to some other island resorts, which are quite commercialised".

"We don't have TVs in the room, we can't offer Wi-Fi for guests because we operate off mobile dongles," Ms Scott said.

"I think people come for the old-fashioned holiday. Take a walk, lay in a hammock, play a board game. Completely chill out."

Those chasing adventure can still take advantage of helicopters and seaplanes to the Great Barrier Reef, boat tours, mainland excursions and snorkelling.


Island Transfers provides trips from Shute Harbour to Palm Bay Resort.
Island Transfers provides trips from Shute Harbour to Palm Bay Resort. Palm Bay Resort

Bushwalking and kayaking are also popular, amongst a host of native wildlife.

"But I do think it's the very small, boutique feel of the place which keeps people coming," Ms Scott said.

"They're going to get a more intimate experience. It's just peaceful."

The resort is largely comprised of couple's rooms, Ms Scott said, though a selection of homes and a bungalow do fit the bill for families.

Now the resort is cruising along, under the watchful eye of general manager Caroline Murray, Ms Scott's hashing out what's next.

Top of the list is building a new beach-front bar, encouraging more day guests and building on the resort's corporate allure.

Topics:  editors picks great barrier reef long island palm bay resort shute harbour trip advisor whitsundays

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