Friday, January 16, 2009

Dispatch From Down Under: Lizard Island

In the two decades that I’ve been traveling, I’ve been fortunate to experience a handful of places that can legitimately be described as paradise. This week, I’ve added a very special one to that short list -- Australia’s Lizard Island.

As soon as our charter flight out of Cairns took to the skies, I got a preview of why Lizard has such a legendary reputation as one of the best islands on the Great Barrier Reef.

Another day on a press trip, another stunning view of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, flying over Lizard Island

I was completely blown away when we arrived at Voyages, the island’s five-star -- and only -- resort. With no other commercial development on Lizard, all you see at every turn is lush vegetation and pristine coastline (and yes, lizards darting around). The beach is inhabited by guests only so you truly feel like you’re in your own private Shangri-la.

That feeling intensified when I was shown to my accommodations -- a dreamy, well-appointed bungalow (favorite amenities -- the rain shower in the bathroom, and a cd alarm clock and iPod docking station) with a porch overlooking the water.

Speaking of the deep blue, there was a little free time before dinner, so I joined journalists Stephanie, Kristin and Lisa in heading down to the beach. Since it’s summer Down Under, I knew the water temperature would be perfect and it was.

As I floated happily in the Pacific Ocean, I thought about what my Tourism Queensland client Shana had said just before my departure. She told me there would be a transformative moment for me in Queensland. This was it.

Looking around at the vast, unspoiled coastline and feeling the waves lap up against me, I was humbled by the fact that my job had made it all possible. Well, my job and me doggedly pursuing Tourism Queensland over the course of several months until they hired Quinn & Co. to work on the destination’s sensational new Best Job In The World campaign.

Who says persistence doesn’t pay off?

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