The Bedarra Story


Bedarra Island Resort is owned and operated by Sam and Kerri-Ann Charlton, who purchased the resort in 2011 shortly after it was devastated by Cyclone Yasi. After 18 months of rebuilding, the Charltons re-opened the resort as an all-inclusive barefoot luxury retreat catering to guests searching for a truly relaxing escape, on one of the most beautiful islands on the Great Barrier Reef.

Sam's affiliation with Bedarra began in 1984, when he first visited the island as a boy while on a family holiday. The resort, then being operated as a small-scale homestead style retreat, had coincidentally just been put up for sale. The Charlton family fell in love with the island on this holiday and Sam's parents - Margie & Murray - made a decision to bid for the property at auction. Unfortunately, the resort sold prior to auction to the owners of nearby Dunk Island, and the Charltons did not get the opportunity to bid.

Although unsuccessful with their attempted purchase, the Charltons' fascination with Bedarra and its natural beauty remained. A local real estate agent then introduced the Charlton family to Noel Wood – a renowned Australian artist who had owned and lived on another small part of Bedarra since 1936. Noel agreed to sell Murray & Margie a small portion of his land, which was the site of his visitor's cottage. The Charltons then set about converting the cottage into an island style villa in the true vision of the South Pacific tropical idyll – thatched roof, open lounges and bedrooms without walls - all overlooking their own private beach.

The family lived on the island for an 18-month period from 1986. Sam aged 12 and his brother Nicholas aged 10, spent their time homeschooled by their mother Margie and exploring the rest of the island by foot or kayak. With Noel Wood as their mentor, Sam and Nicholas learned about the flora, fauna, geography, geology and history of the island from a long-time resident with over 50 years’ first-hand knowledge of the secrets of the island.

The Charlton family decided to sell their idyllic island home in the early 1990’s, much to Sam’s dismay. Sam still maintained an affinity with the island, watching as successive owners bought and sold the various but scarce parcels of land on the island.

Years later, Sam courted his future wife Kerri-Ann around the islands surrounding Bedarra – camping on nearby Wheeler Island for a few nights. Watching the sunset over the group of islands and in particular Bedarra – Sam told Kerri-Ann in a somewhat prophetic statement that one day he hoped they would own Bedarra.

The Bedarra Story


The devastation of Cyclone Yasi in 2011 wreaked havoc on Bedarra and forced the closure of the resort – but also helped make Sam’s prophecy a reality. Sam and Kerri-Ann inspected what was still a tangled mess of buildings, fallen trees and debris. Kerri-Ann, and perhaps other potential purchasers were somewhat put off by the presentation of the resort. But Sam, with his memories of what the resort once was, could see through the mess and had a vision of what it could become again. Fortunately, Sam and Kerri-Ann were successful in their bid to secure this small piece of paradise.

Over the following 18 months they rebuilt the resort. Central to the concept was the requirement to operate the resort sustainably. Driven by a true desire to protect a piece of paradise rather than to simply put an “eco” logo on their website, they completely redesigned and replaced the services and utilities on the island to operate from solar power, rather than diesel-fuelled generators as had occurred in the past.

One of the keys to operating from solar power was to solve water supply on the island. Previous owners had utilized diesel hungry reverse osmosis desalination plants to supply water to the resort, a method not able to be continued using solar power. Luckily, Noel Wood had shown the 12-year-old Sam the location of a freshwater spring in the middle of the island on one of their journeys of discovery. Hidden by shrouds of dense rainforest, Sam set about finding the spring which he discovered was still flowing some 25 years later. The spring now supplies the resort with its bountiful cool and natural granite filtered water.

Upon completion of construction, Sam & Kerri-Ann then went about creating their concept of an ideal holiday experience at Bedarra – luxurious but not pretentious, laid-back but still attentive. Comfortable and relaxed with no dress codes, no rules, and no signs. A place where guests experience true hospitality with a team of professionals who engage and truly care about the guests they serve. A place of solitude, serenity, and beauty to truly switch off and have a holiday.

Bedarra re-opened in July 2013 and continues to provide the perfect relaxed barefoot luxury escape for our guests...