10 Reasons to Stay on Hamilton Island
Written by: Samantha Kirton
Date: 18th March 2014
From prestigious events to world-class performances, luxurious accommodation to awesome activities, here are 10 compelling reasons to include Hamilton Island, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, in an Australian itinerary:
- WORLD CLASS LUXURY (read more)
- SPECIAL EVENTS (read more)
- ACTIVITIES (read more)
- WEDDINGS & ROMANCE (read more)
- SPA (read more)
- SPORTING EVENTS (read more)
- WINING & DINING (read more)
- SAILING (read more)
- FAMILY HOLIDAYS (read more)
- ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS (read more)
Australia’s foremost luxury resort, qualia, is located on the beautiful, secluded northern-most point of Hamilton Island. With 60 elegant one-bedroom pavilions and a Beach House, qualia is set among eucalyptus trees with postcard views of the idyllic blue and green waters of the Whitsundays. Two superb restaurants and Spa qualia cater exclusively to guests. This multi award-winning Relais & Chateaux member was named Best Resort for the sixth consecutive year at the 2013 HM Awards for Hotel & Accommodation Excellence, and Best Resort in Oceania in the most recent Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.
A short stroll from Hamilton Island Yacht Club, the Yacht Club Villas look out over Dent Passage, Hamilton Island Marina and the surrounding Whitsunday Islands, providing the ideal self-contained luxury option for families and groups. Designed by renowned architect Walter Barda with landscaping crafted by celebrity landscape designer Jamie Durie, each four-bedroom villa offers a spacious open plan living/dining room and state-of-the art gourmet kitchen with Miele appliances.
Australia’s largest and most prestigious off-shore yachting regatta, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, draws participants and spectators from around the globe, with this year’s event set to take place from 16th – 23rd August 2014. Likened to ‘Ascot on water’, this spectacular event offers everything from serious offshore racing and fabulous super-yachts, to onshore fashion shows, glamorous parties, gourmet fare and celebrity guests.
The Great Barrier Feast, to be held in November 2014, is one of Australia’s leading food and wine events providing guests with an intimate gourmet weekend showcasing the talents of celebrated Australian chefs alongside qualia’s own executive chef, Alastair Waddell.
The Australian Ballet returns for the seventh consecutive year to give an exclusive under the stars performance at qualia. The Pas de Deux in Paradise weekend will be staged from 31st October to 2nd November offering guests access to both the performers and their Artistic Director.
Visitors have over 60 activities to choose from including scuba diving, parasailing, fishing, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, bushwalking, squash, tennis, target sports and go-karting. To get the best out of available options, the Island’s Adventure Superpass includes a jet ski tour, quad bike adventure and exhilarating heli rush tour, whilst the Family Superpass includes unlimited entry to the Hamilton Island Wildlife Park, a round of mini golf and half day dinghy hire.
New options include the chance to experience a full-day Great Barrier Reef diving adventure with Explore to selected moorings around Bait Reef, the closest of the outer reef locations. Accessed by catamaran, guests dive off the vessel’s platform. Alternatively, discover Hill Inlet and Betty’s Beach. Cruise up the entire stretch of Whitehaven Beach on a high speed catamaran to disembark at the remote Hill Inlet on the northern tip.
A visit could be timed to coincide with whale migrating season (June to September), when baby humpbacks, born in the warm waters of the Whitsundays, travel past the coast in pod sizes of between eight and ten whales.
A round of golf is available any time of the year. Hamilton Island boasts Australia’s only 18-hole championship golf course situated on its own island. The 6,120 metre, par 71, course is located on neighbouring Dent Island, a five minute boat ride from the Island. Created by five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson, the course is gaining a reputation as one of the world’s top courses not least because of the stunning 360 degree Whitsunday views from each hole.
Whether planning to pop the question or tie the knot, this is the ultimate romantic destination. From a seaplane ‘Love Flight’ over magnificent Heart Reef to an underwater ceremony or a Reefworld wedding, the Island has it covered. Hamilton Island Weddings also has the only commercial permit in Australia to conduct ceremonies on Whitehaven Beach in the middle of the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Indulge in some pampering for body and soul at one of two fabulous spas. Unwind at Spa wumurdaylin (“woo-mer-day-lin”), the Island’s first full service day spa, or revel in total pampering at luxurious Spa qualia.
The Hilly Half Marathon challenge takes place on Sunday 4th May 2014 providing competitors with a rugged 21-kilometre route along roads, fire trails and walking tracks through Hamilton Island’s undulating interior.
Formerly known as the Hamilton Cup, one of the world’s toughest annual outrigger canoe races, the Gatorade Clash of the Paddles will take place 12th to 15th June 2014. The event is run over four exciting days where competitive outriggers are joined by athletes from four other popular paddle disciplines; surf ski, dragon boating, stand-up paddling and board paddling. Capped off with an exciting off-water entertainment programme, this is an oar-some event for all paddlers.
Athletes can also test themselves at the inaugural Great Whitehaven Beach Run on 21st June 2014 by tackling a half marathon, 11km or 5.5km run, along the pristine sands of Whitehaven, one of the world’s most famous beaches.
From the superb Bommie restaurant located in the Hamilton Island Yacht Club to any number of outstanding restaurants and cafes around the Island, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to fine wining and dining. Whether searching for a family friendly pizza or a candlelit dinner for two, there’s a restaurant for every occasion.
qualia has earned itself a reputation for offering the very best Australian cuisine. Under the guidance of Executive Chef, Alastair Waddell, qualia offers a surprising and creative Celtic twist to the fabulous Whitsundays produce. The exquisite food is sourced as much as possible from local suppliers, including pork from Berkshire Pigs, bred on nearby Airlie Beach, local Bowen tomatoes and fish caught in local waters.
Meanwhile, families with children can take advantage of the KIDS EAT FREE programme at a great range of family-friendly restaurants including coca chu, the Island’s latest dining option, specialising in South East Asian food.
Since Captain Cook charted Australia’s coastline in the 1700’s, the Whitsunday Islands have been recognised as one of the best sailing playgrounds in the world. Sunsail’s Sailing Academy, based on Hamilton Island, offers a wide range of accredited marine qualifications for yachts, catamarans and motorboats, with tuition for beginners and experienced sailors alike.
It’s no coincidence then that the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, founded by Hamilton Island owners, the Oatley family, will lead Australia’s challenge for the 35th America’s Cup, the first time an Australian team has entered the race since 2000 (they last won the Cup in 1983 against the New York Yacht Club).
Australia’s winter is the perfect time for family travel with mild and comfortable weather ideal for younger family members. Excursions to the Great Barrier Reef, snorkelling safaris and a trip to see koalas, kangaroos and wombats at ‘Wild Life Hamilton Island’, make holidays for children both educational and fun. Accommodation and meals in selected restaurants are free for children up to the age of 12, whilst the Clownfish Club offers activities for children up to 14 years.
As well as luxury options afforded by qualia and the Yacht Club Villas, there are a range of accommodation choices to suit all tastes and budgets from the boutique Beach Club Resort to the Reef View Hotel and affordable premium Palm Bungalows.
For visitors seeking something a little bit different, the Reefworld pontoon docked in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, offers the unique Reefsleep experience. Following a night on Hamilton Island, guests can cruise to Hardy Reef, enjoy a range of Reefworld activities including semi-submersible tours, snorkelling and the underwater viewing chamber, before staying on to a night’s sleep. By night, Reefworld transforms itself into a small, private and exclusive floating hotel. What more can you wish for than to sleep under a canopy of stars over one of the world’s great natural wonders that is the Great Barrier Reef.