Tried & Tested: Elysian Retreat, Long Island, Whitsundays

A new eco-focused retreat in the Great Barrier Reef.

 I have lathered my locks with mint and spiked ginger shampoo and conditioner; splashed my torso with tulasi and wild turmeric body wash and slathered my skin in Himalayan cedarwood.

Later, after a yoga class overlooking the Coral Sea, I contemplate bathing in the magnesium pool, or partaking in a crystal spa treatment.

I have arrived via boat in this high-class hippy heaven (and shall leave in a chopper), at Elysian Retreat, the first 100 per cent solar-powered resort on the Great Barrier Reef.

Elysian Retreat Long Island

Perched on the southern end of Long Island, I am swimming in my own smug sustainability.

Want your cake and eco it too? Start in the kitchen where executive chef Joshua Beckett operates a daily changing menu by using the best ingredients available, home-grown or locally sourced.

“We run on rainwater so we only use the dishwasher once a day and the sink twice a day,” reads its sign.

Billed as a ‘barefoot eco-retreat’, Elysian is part of Sojourn Retreats, a Queensland family-owned company which operates a boutique collection of properties.

At Elysian, the focus is all about sustainability, including its eco-luxe JALA spa whose treatments involve Australian-made Edible Beauty and Subtle Energies spa products.

The 10 villas on the island all offer ocean, mountain and rainforest views. The buildings themselves are made from solid Australian hardwood with high cathedral ceilings, hammocks, day beds and outdoor showers.

Elysian features cooling thatched roofs, water tanks which capture 500,000 litres of rain, ethical zinc sunscreen and natural bug spray. There’s luxury aplenty too with air-conditioning and fans, televisions, and coffee machines.

Save your energy for island bush walks, snorkelling or glass-bottom kayaking.

Elysian Retreat Long Island

Back in the kitchen, Beckett, who was a former executive chef for Peppers Blue Water in New Zealand’s Lake Tekapo, says he couldn’t believe his luck landing a key role at Elysian.

“I got an email and I thought it was spam as it sounded too good to be true,” he says.

It seems that the Great Barrier Reef has suddenly become even greater. 

Rates start at $700 per night.
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This story first appeared in Vacations & Travel magazine, spring 2019, issue 112

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