IT'S tough being a reporter.
I mean, sometimes you just have to take one for the team, and go to a beer-themed tropical island paradise for a story.
XXXX Island is everything a bloke could want in a prize from a beer bottle.
Come to think of it, there'd be plenty of women out there who would want a piece of it too.
Sun drenched beaches, clear waters, sizzling barbecues and plenty of ice-cold beer.
The 7ha island on the Great Barrier Reef is a bold piece of marketing from Queensland's favourite beer, in the brand's ongoing fight to take over Australia - and then the world.
From the marina at Yeppoon out to the island is about 30 - 40 minutes, in a golden boat appropriately named "The Schooner".
As soon as you step ashore, the sprawling timber bar welcomes you, and friendly staff are ready to hand you a XXXX Gold.
There are a number of activities, weather permitting, including charter fishing or snorkelling.
Or you could head down to the "Man Cave" - a fully equipped shed for blokes who like to keep their hands busy to tinker and create.
The Punters' Pavilion offers a perch to play cards or watch the races, with a special pulley system set up to keep the beers coming from the bar.
There are tinnys to take for a spin if you have a boat licence, or kayaks if you don't.
Or you could just kick back on the beach, relaxing as turtles swim up to the shore to say g'day.
And of course, there's always the bar, with flat screens to watch the cricket or footy, a pool table, quoits, and even a one-hole golf course.
Then at night, a campfire burns for you to sit around with your mates and see who can tell the best yarns of the day.
XXXX Island is the result of long months of hard work.
When the brand decided it would offer something out of the blue to lure more drinkers, they searched all over Australia for the perfect island.
At one stage, there were over 80 islands they were looking at.
Anna McMillan, XXXX marketing manager, said there was plenty of building and renovation work that needed to be done on the chosen island, before the first prize winners could arrive.
"In the last six months, we've been working to ensure every part of the island - from our custom-built bar with the best views of the Southern Great Barrier Reef to the one-hole golf course - will truly solidify XXXX Island as the ultimate destination for mates' trips away," she said.
Managing the island experience for the 24 guests each weekend will be a team of four staff, chosen from applicants across the country.
Keeping them company will be Spinner, the XXXX Island dog, recently fostered from the Animal Welfare League of Queensland.
The island is only accessible by XXXX competition prize winners.
Each winner is allowed to bring three mates, with six winning entries per week.
The guests arrive on Thursday and leave on Sunday, having truly enjoyed "a taste of the good life".
After a couple of days there myself, I'm inclined to agree.
- XXXX GOLD was first launched in 1990.
- It is now Australia's biggest selling beer, recently overtaking VB.
- In 2007, XXXX GOLD unveiled the XXXX GOLD Beach Cricket Series, bringing some of the world's best former cricketers to Australian beaches to compete in custom-built stadiums.
- Supporting XXXX GOLD are also the XXXX Angels and XXXX GOLD Retreat, appearing at towns and events around the country.
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