Green Island Resort, an hour’s ferry trip from Cairns in northern Queensland, promised a day and night of luxury – with ferry fares at £51.50 and prices for an overnight stay upwards of £400, they certainly charged for it – on a 6,000-year-old coral quay described as “a natural wonderland like no other, offering tranquility”. Covering 15 hectares with a thin strip of beach to the west, and scanty snorkelling, by day the island is totally overrun with trippers, so you jostle for wetsuits, places at the bar, and a patch on the beach. Attractions on the island include a spa, helicopter rides over the reef, jet ski-ing – all for an additional price – snorkelling and fish feeding on the pier at 5pm daily.
Our room was appointed in Balinese style and comfort, but we were kept waiting for the keys for over an hour and the staff left us stranded without passes for the resort so we had nothing to do. The tiny residents’ swimming pool was abandoned and leaf filled. By night the daytrippers leave and all the facilities close down, leaving only the “award-winning” Emeralds Restaurant, which was deserted by 8.15pm. Although the menu promised great things, both food and service were atrocious. Frozen seafood was used in the “fresh” pasta of the day and the lamb shank had been left standing under heat until it was completely dried out. Although our complaints were eventually skilfully sorted by Green Island management, steer clear until the resort decides whether it wants to be top class or Disney.