Off the coast 150 km North of Cooktown. Some time in the 1870s Robert Watson and his wife Mary settled on this deserted island. In October 1881, while Robert was out fishing, the island was attacked by Aborigines. Mary Watson, her baby and her Chinese servant, managed to flee, taking to sea in an empty water tank. They attempted to reach the mainland, but were blown off course and only made it as far as a remote island to the north, where they died of thirst. During her ordeal, Mary Watson kept a diary in which she described, in simple everyday terms, the horrendous events which led to her death.
Nowadays, Lizard Island is home to the Lizard Island Resort (www.lizardisland.com.au), an exclusive resort said to be popular with detoxed celebs recuperating from a spell in the Betty Ford Clinic. It also has a campsite at Watson’s Bay in the tiny Lizard Island National Park, check out the list of campsites here: www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/lizard-island/camping.html. The beaches here are amongst the best you’ll find off the Queensland coast, and there’s great diving on the nearby reef. You can still see the remains of Mary Watson’s cottage, and it’s possible to climb to the island’s highest point, Cook’s Look. It was from here that Captain Cook scoured the sea in search of a break in the Great Barrier Reef so that he could reach the open ocean.
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