Kingfisher Bay: inside Meghan and Harry’s Fraser Island eco-resort
Duke and Duchess to have downtime at luxury destination previously visited by Prince Charles
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are enjoying a short but well-earned break after stopping off at Australia’s Fraser Island during their first major royal tour together.
The couple, who are expecting their first child in the spring, checked into the luxurious Kingfisher Bay Resort on Sunday, following a week on the road down under.
The eco-resort has also hosted Prince Harry’s father, who visited 24 years ago, reports Brisbane-based newspaper The Courier-Mail.
“Only a few hundred people live on the remote and rugged island, but that number will swell exponentially, with the resort almost fully booked out ahead of the royal visit,” the paper adds.
Where is it?
Fraser Island lies off the southeastern coast of the Australian state of Queensland. It is listed as a Unesco World Heritage landmass and at more than 75 miles long and 15 miles wide - around the same size as Tenerife - is the largest sand island on the planet, reports The Daily Telegraph.
“According to local legend, the island is the body of K’gari (pronounced gurri), a spirit from the sky who fell in love with the beautiful bay made by Yindinji, a messenger sent to create land on Earth,” the newspaper says.
Kingfisher Bay Resort, on the southwestern coast of the island, is surrounded by “stunning ocean views, fresh water lakes encircled with pristine white sand, and not to mention miles upon miles of breathtaking beaches”, according to the resort’s website. A ferry service operates a return service to the mainland three times a day.
What is the resort like?
With “quiet beaches, secluded villas and an exclusive health spa”, Kingfisher will afford Harry and Meghan “plenty of chances to take it easy after the whirlwind start to the couple’s tour”, says The Courier-Mail.
The resort also features a cocktail bar and fine dining restaurant, along with 152 rooms with large private decks overlooking sea, bush or lakes.
The Duke and Duchess may have been guided in their choice by Prince Charles, who stayed at Kingfisher Bay during a visit to Australia in 1994, says News.com.au.
The resort’s general manager, David Hay, told the Sydney-based news site: “We know Prince Charles is very much into sustainability and nature, so he absolutely loved Kingfisher Bay Resort.
“We’d like to think he might have had a word with Harry before he came out, and suggested he come and stay with us.”
Nearby attractions include 75 Mile Beach, although the royal couple are advised not to go for a dip there. According to the Sunshine Coast Daily, the beach is “many things - a highway, an airstrip and a tourist attraction for starters - but safe for swimming isn’t one of them”.
“Vehicles can hurtle along the sand at 80km/h [50mph], so you wouldn’t want to be laying out your towel there, and the currents are dangerous,” the regional newspaper explains. “Not to mention the sharks and jellyfish.”
How much does it cost?
Kingfisher Bay Resort is surprisingly affordable, with rooms from just £92 per night. An adventure package, consisting of a two-night stay and a full-day guided tour, starts at £243pp based on at least two people sharing.
What will Harry and Meghan do there?
The Duchess missed an official royal engagement on Fraser Island on Sunday morning in order to rest, following a late finish the previous night at the Invictus Games opening ceremony in Sydney, Sky News reports.
A Royal source said: “She wants to do everything, but Prince Harry is encouraging her to pace herself.”
The Duke went solo to take part in a traditional country smoking ceremony (pictured below) with some of the island’s indigenous people deep in the rainforest.
There, he met local elders and national park rangers before heading back to Kingfisher Bay to rejoin Markle for a walkabout along the jetty (pictured below).
Tomorrow, the pair will head to Fiji, where they will be greeted by a guard of honour at the airport in Nausori, The Fiji Times reports.