Jem and I spent a glorious four days immersing ourselves in all the beautiful offerings of Hamilton Island, and weeks later we’re still in absolute awe. The island is strategically placed (like they had a hand in it!) on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef and nestled right in the heart of the exquisite Whitsundays and it is really everything you could ever need in a tropical dream destination.

Staying at qualia – voted Best Resort in the world by Conde Nast in 2012 it’s not hard to understand why it’s received such an accolade – everything at the resort has to offer is of such a high calibre. The service is outstanding, seamless and carried out with a genuine pride and joy. The food and beverage offering is world class and the location and attention to detail comes together smoothly to turn a stay there into an unforgettable experience.

Spanning the Western side of the island, qualia’s pavilions, houses, dining pavilions and pools are dotted in and amongst lush greenery and each are totally private and have expansive and uninterrupted views of life passing by in the Whitsundays. Stylishly decorated with comfort and function in mind, nature tones compliment and all the while effortlessly catered to every whim and desire.

The island operates on golf buggy power and we took every opportunity to explore every inch in ours and where the buggy didn’t go, we went on foot. The island has a handful of winding trails to walk or run (if that’s takes your fancy) and the reward at the top – the most breathtaking beautiful vista’s across the Coral sea and neighbouring islands. Should you choose to run – make sure you pack your swimsuit for a dip in the sea afterwards!

Exploring the Great Barrier Reef is so incredibly easy from Hamilton Island. We had the pleasure of taking an seaplane chartered by Hamilton Island Air, who really gave us the flight of our lives!
Starting by cruising over and around some of the other 74 islands we then headed further North and found ourselves flying over the drop off where the sea meets the reef and over the most crystal clear turquoise waters, spotting sharks, turtles, schools of fish and the sheer volume of coral from above. A highlight of the trip and something you can only see by air is the heart shaped reef, a naturally occurring bommie (shallow reef) and quite the spot to find yourself if you ever need a reason for romance.

With Hamilton Island Air we were able to snorkel the reef in a secluded part generally reserved for Marine Study. One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is an extraordinary experience, swimming by you find yourself face to mask with one of the oldest living things on the planet and the sealife that call it home. We spotted hundreds of various shimmering and shy fish darting in and around the coral and some more precocious fish who were very interested in our presence. Topping off the experience with champagne and cheese on board a glass bottomed pontoon before we boarded the seaplane again and headed over the reef to go explore Whitehaven beach.

The colours of Whitehaven are unbelievable – the sands and sea are brilliantly shades of blue and pristine white, all seven kilometres of it!

Around every corner the island has treasures to explore and something to suit your taste for adventure. Kickstart your day with a healthy walk up to Resort lookout, from where you can watch the world take on colour in complete stillness, or if you prefer sunsets, for the ultimate kaleidoscope show head over to One Tree Hill and share a drink with the locals.

Catseye beach is the perfect haven to put your feet in the sand, a book in your hand and while away the hours under a bountiful sky. Then there is neighbouring Dent Island, where after a short ferry ride you’ll find yourself on the only island with a golf course in the Southern Hemisphere!

Hamilton island truly captivated us, it’s a place like no other, we felt so relaxed and enriched with the experiences we had. The people of the island are so welcoming and engaging and so eager to show off their spectacular piece of the world. We truly believe we found Paradise.

The best part? Direct flights to Hamilton island are just over 2 hours from Sydney – no passport needed (for Aussies, at least!), so we are absolutely looking to return as soon as possible and there really is no reason why you aren’t headed there this weekend…and the next!

As an aside, we’ll mention here that we were guests of Hamilton Island as Jem took part in their latest campaign: Hamilton Island Instameet – Return2Paradise. The Team showed us a fantastic time & spoilt us beyond belief. As part of the deal, Both Jem and I had a cameraman follow our every movement on the trip, and they produced a wonderful little documentary about the island, creativity and Instagram. Watch it below!

As always you can keep up with us on Instagram , and follow @Hamilton Island as well. There’s a huge amount of useful information at Hamiltonisland.com.au and if you’re in the mood for complete luxury, don’t even think about passing up an opportunity to stay at qualia