The maximum number of visitors permitted to this World Heritage–listed island, two hours from Sydney, is 400, ensuring that you’ll always have a beach to yourself. The teak-clad nine-suite Capella Lodge—the most luxurious accommodation on the 10- mile island—has a relaxed beach-house feel and overlooks the rugged peaks of Mount Gower and Mount Lidgbird. Unspoiled nature is the prevailing theme of the island, 75 percent of which is preserved as a permanent park. A raised boardwalk passes through native kentia palms; walking paths meander through a virgin rain forest; and birdsong fills the air. Plan the next day’s adventures from the open-air deck of Gower’s Terrace, mango-lime-coconut daiquiri in hand. After surfing, sportfishing, or scuba diving, an Aboriginal-inspired treatment at the lodge’s spa is the only way to end the day.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.