PARADISE FOUND: First look at Wilson Island
AFTER a $2.8 million investment Wilson Island has returned to its former glory and reopened as an exclusive holiday getaway.
For six years the island, off Gladstone, has been closed to visitors and the tents and facilities run down and "derelict".
Since purchasing Wilson and Heron Islands in December 2017 Aldesta Hotel Group set its sights on reopening the resort, in a bid to offer a unique experience in the Southern Great Barrier Reef.
Aldesta Hotels Australia vice president and Wilson and Heron Island general manger Tony Barradale said during the past 12 months a small and dedicated team worked to transform the "run down" facilities.
"When Aldesta Hotels bought this property in December 2017 … (Wilson Island) was a mess," Mr Barradale said.
"We had to step back and go 'right, what do we need to do', and fortunately the bones were here and they're excellent bones for a property.
"We faithfully restored it to be exactly as it was, there's nothing different other than the solar block that we had to build, but everything is as it was."
Mr Barradale said the company's aim was to reopen the resort with a minimal environmental footprint.
Mr Barradale said during construction the company worked closely with Queensland Parks and Wildlife to ensure all facilities were state-of-the-art and had little to no impact on the environment - from the septic system to the transportation of water and disposal of waste.
He said the 2.12 ha island offered an intimate experience, with just nine "reef safari" tents.
Of the $2.8 million investment, $830,000 was received from the Queensland Government.
Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said the reopening of Wilson Island provided another feather in the cap for the Southern Great Barrier Reef which has experienced growth in international visitors in recent years.
"This is one of the most pristine islands I've ever seen," he said.
"This place was destroyed by a cyclone in 2014, to see it now today back to its original self is absolutely fantastic."
Wilson Island is an adult-only getaway, however, children can stay if the whole island is booked out.
This journalist was a guest of Aldesta Hotel Group.