The moment Chrissie Williams stepped onto Orpheus Island for the first time, it was love at first sight.
The trip was supposed to be just a casual catch-up with some friends who were running the lodge at the time, but it didn’t take long for Chrissie to realise that her time in tropical North Queensland was only just beginning.
“I knew Ross and Jen who were the General Managers on Orpheus, and I just came to visit them,” she said.
“But I fell in love with the island and its culture, and I was back here working as Assistant General Manager within a few months.”
Six years later, she’s General Manager of the lodge and she’s never looked back.
Chrissie’s whole career has been surrounded by water. Starting out working on boats, diving, and managing teams she eventually found herself working at resorts on Lizard and Hayman Islands.
But the move to Orpheus took things to the next level and allowed her to spread her wings and explore other types of roles.
“I was learning a lot of new things at the start. My background has been mainly on boats, so getting involved in areas like food and beverage, housekeeping, and maintenance was great,” she said.
“I loved meeting and interacting with guests and getting to do something different every day. No two days were the same,”
Chrissie Williams, General Manager, Orpheus Island Lodge
Having proven herself as a highly capable, reliable, and hard-working member of the Northern Escape Collection team, Chrissie’s often been called upon to share her knowledge and expertise at the other properties, and in various areas of the business.
It’s these experiences that have been not only beneficial to the broader team, but also allowed her to develop professionally.
“I’ve spent a month up at Daintree Ecolodge helping the new General Managers get settled into the property,” she said.
“I also went over to Townsville for a few weeks working closely with the reservations team when they were a bit short-staffed. It was a really great experience for me to learn more about that side of the business and how it all works.
“When Beechmont Estate became part of the collection I worked there for seven weeks, managing that property until the new managers arrived. It was so great to get to spend time learning so much about the other properties.”
Despite all of the lodges having their own unique charm, Chrissie says Orpheus will always be her favourite.
While living and working in a remote area can have its challenges, she says there are definite upsides. Including being able to explore some of the most stunning locations in the country with guests or during your down time.
“There are so many amazing spots on Orpheus but one of my favourite places is Picnic Bay which is a 20-minute hike from the lodge to the other side of the island. I also love paddleboarding out the front of the lodge and watching the sun go down,” she said.
“Remote living isn’t for everyone, but I love it. The fact that it takes all staff less than two minutes to walk to work is a bonus – there’s no excuse for being late!”