Haggerstone is a truly unique and wonderful place - a small complex of tropical timber buildings, gardens, orchard and dams; set amidst true wilderness country.
Haggerstone Island is only accessible by air to a neighbouring island, it is an incredibly remote and unspoilt Robinson Crusoe retreat approximately 600 kilometres north from Cairns, and a few miles from a wild stretch of the northern Great Barrier Reef mainland coast.The marine life on Haggerstone is simply unbelievable.... shipwrecks, beach combing for WW2 artifacts, snorkelling, and the fishing... and complemented by a superb yet simple mouth watering cuisine featuring all fresh natural foods. The incredible remoteness of Haggerstone ensures an experience very rare on this planet. If you value absolute simplicity above all else - no maids, TV, mobile phones, computers, mirrors or egos, this is it.
Anna and Roy Turner came to Haggerstone in April 1985 with a 70 ton barge loaded with poles, timber, fruit trees, chickens and an old tractor. The island was jungle covered, uninhabited and hundreds of miles from what we know as civilisation. They were not to know they were to spend nearly six years alone on the island, as they set out to create a Robinson Crusoe style abode in the wild. Haggerstone Island is their home and an Island Guesthouse, and they welcome you to their home and hope you enjoy your stay.
The main building is a spacious, native style open house. Its design is raw but functional. Sunbleached poles and open sides take advantage of cooling island breezes. Drift wood, collected on nearby shores, is used to support heavy polished benches and an array of relics, from the husk of a canoe from Papua New Guinea to an ancient wooden dinner gong and Balinese bed adds to the atmosphere.
The beach hut is a rustic
driftwood construction with outside shower and toilet. The two round
hand-crafted huts, similar in style to the main building feature a
sundeck. All have a kitchenette equipped with a solar fridge.
A nine metre diesel jet boat allows access to shallow reef areas and mangrove rivers. Fresh cooked meals of seafood can be prepared in minutes on the boat. A six and seven metre long boat each powered by fifty horsepower Yamaha engines, are ideal for exploration. Our fishing equipment includes a complete range of rods, reels and handlines to suit both river and open sea. Masks, snorkels, and assorted diving gear are also available.
When we arrived on the island 15 years ago we were little concerned with what we would eat. The sea was bountiful and we would grow vegetables aplenty. We struck at the jungle with enthusiasm and planted our seeds. Very little grew.
Most of what we had brought was not suitable for the island. I had little trouble capturing lobsters and fish but without fresh herbs and vegetables our diet became monotonous. Today the garden is a pleasure to walk through.
Passionfruit compete with guado and snake beans. The vines of tropical butternut and squashes have to be coaxed away from beds of rocket salad and bokchoy. Basil, coriander and parsley compete for space with lemongrass and ginger. Kaffir lime, mango and curry trees grow randomly along the paths.
For breakfast, papaya or banana are picked fresh of a tree and served with lime juice. The home made muesli has the dominant flavour of fresh toasted coconut. The rich yellow yolks of our eggs are from free roaming fowls fed largely on coconut, fish and garden surplus.
A lunch of oysters steamed in the shell with sliced ginger and lemon grass, squid, simmered quickly in sea water and then placed on a bed of rocket and drizzled with lime juice, olive oil and crushed garlic.
A whole lobster thrown in the coals and served with lime and crushed pepper follows. For dinner, fresh slices of coral trout, marinated in lime and then cast into a bowl of freshly squeezed coconut cream; a red emperor is steamed with sesame oil, soy, ginger and garlic.
Our love of food and a commitment to freshness and simplicity have guided our cuisine.
The sand cay is the ultimate dining area.....Candle lit table, setting sun and the calming swish of a darkening sea.
Fishing and Spear Fishing
Fishing and Spear Fishing are good at all levels - rod, reel, or fly fishing, reef, ocean or river.
As there is no human habitation for nearly one hundred miles, the grounds around us are rarely disturbed. Bait is caught off the island beach. Spear fishing is an every day method of food gathering. Reef fish and tropical crayfish are easily caught on nearby reefs.
Skin Diving - Snorkeling
Skin Diving and Snorkeling are at their best and safe all year round. Two clear water lagoons just off Haggerstone's beach put beautiful coral gardens right on your doorstep. Vast surrounding reef areas are easily accessible from Haggerstone for skin diving and snorkeling. Also close by we have discovered an 1840s shipwreck in a shallow reef garden. Its giant anchors, winching blocks and bronze keel bolts are all visible from surface snorkeling.
Haggerstone Island harbors a dense and varied bird population. Sunbirds, honeyeaters, coloured pigeons, eagles, kingfishers, finches, jungle fowls, pittas and many others have made it their home.
Dawn is a kaleidoscope of sounds dominated by the soft coos of the bar shouldered doves.
The adjacent mainland beaches provide miles of adventurous beachcombing.
What to bring:
- Sun hat
- Suntan oil or sunscreen
- Sandshoes for reef walking
- Comfortable trousers for bush walking
- Long sleeved cotton shirts
- Casual wear and bare feet are the norm for the island.
"Getting there is part of the adventure. If you're lucky, you may see a fleet of trawlers, a school of tuna besieged by flocks of noddies or the "mothership" that plies the coastline, delivering supplies to remote areas such as Haggerstone Island every two weeks." Vogue
To come to Haggerstone you must first fly to Cairns, North Queensland. From there we organise a twin engine, six seat private charter to the neighboring Hicks Island where we have an air strip. The two hour flight travels up the largely uninhabited coastline and terrain of Cape York and winds up over the northern Great Barrier Reef. Transfer to Haggerstone by boat from Hicks is approximately 20 minutes.
We do like the charter to depart in the early morning. If possible guests should reach Cairns the evening before. This will allow the plane to return with departing guests in time to reach afternoon flight connections. We can organise a later flight if the earlier connection cannot be met.
We would appreciate that guests restrict luggage to 15 kgs.
A 40% deposit must be paid to confirm booking. The balance must be paid 60 days prior to arrival. All? monies are non refundable once paid.
Haggerstone Island operates in remote and often rugged locations. Guests must be in good health and have a reasonable degree of fitness.
Although all precautions will be taken, Haggerstone Island will accept no responsibility for personal injury, loss or damage to personal effects, or expenses incurred as a result of any delay cancellation or alteration of any services due to circumstances beyond our control.
We strongly recommend that all guests obtain travel insurance including a cancellation policy.
You will be traveling from Cairns in a fairly small plane. Luggage allowance is 15kg per person. Please telephone us the night before you departure, to Haggerstone, incase of any last minute changes to the schedule.
You really don't need much gear; long sleeved cotton shirt for sun protection, hat, reef boots, sarong, sun screen are all well worth bringing and if you feel inclined something to change into for evening time.
- Guest Laundry
- Queen Beds in Rooms
- Shower over Bath
- Seperate Shower
- Bar Fridge
- Tea/Coffee Facilities
Haggerstone Island Guesthouse Information Summary
Stunning Beaches. Untouched Great Barrier Reef. Coral Lagoons, Cays. Uninhabited islands and mainland. Sand dunes.Rivers.
Private air charter from Cairns arranged by Haggerstone island
Tailored to suit the individual likes of our guests, Gourmet meals are prepared fresh from local seafood caught daily. We collect the majority of our other ingredients direct from our gardens and orchard.
Fishing. Snorkelling. Beach combing. Cayaking. Bird watching. Exploring the Cape York wilderness area and Reef safari style.