By Rhiannon Taylor, June 2016
I was told that when flying in to Hamilton Island I needed to grab myself a window seat. And boy am I glad I did. As we descend my jaw drops at aqua blue waters that fringe a smattering of tropical islands.
Greeted by beaming staff at the airport, I clamber in to their transfer van for a short drive up the hill to Qualia. Walking in to the open air lounge I’m met with deep wooden lounge chairs and furnishings that are quintessentially Australian framing unparalleled views over a lap pool to neighbouring islands. The space flows outside to a deck with sun loungers next to the pool which sits adjacent to the restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
After check-in is complete, I’m allocated a golf buggy for the duration of my stay and I’m off whizzing up and down the hills to my pavilion. Our villa is luxe but simply furnished with solid pieces and wooden floorboards that are classic yet tropical, blending in with their surrounds. There’s a sumptuous king-sized bed that sits in front of floor to ceiling glass and a stand alone stone bathtub accompanied by Aesop amenities. Outside there’s a wrap-around wooden deck and a private plunge pool that overlooks the ocean.
Come afternoon I decide to book in for a facial at the spa. The therapist is incredibly in tune to my skin concerns and sends me to sleep with her gentle touch. I wake up glowing and feeling fresh for a sunset cruise. I’m transferred down to the marina and hop on board a pristine boat stocked with champagne, seafood and fruit. Its spectacular to watch the last light touch the countless islands that surround Hamilton Island and it truly feels like I’m in paradise.
The following morning starts with a helicopter ride that picks us up from Qualia’s helipad. The pilot takes us for an incredible scenic flight over the white sands of Whitehaven Beach and on to the Great Barrier Reef. We fly over endless stretches of electric blue water and reef and I’m speechless as to how magnificent the Great Barrier Reef is. We spot turtles floating on the surface of the water and a tear comes to my eye. It’s a lifetime highlight and I’m reminded as to how precious and lucky we are with our beautiful planet. To finish we circle over Heart Reef, a unique heart-shaped reef formation which is absolutely marvellous.
Upon landing back at Quaila it’s time to cool off and I head to the glimmering pool at Pebble Beach. I set myself up at one of the cabanas and order a mocktail which turns out to be the best I’ve ever had. I step in to the pool, which is the perfect temperature and float away in to total relaxation. The rest of the afternoon is spent between floating, sunbaking and ordering food poolside such as arancini balls and a club sandwich.
On my last night I decide to watch sunset from One Tree Hill. It’s a hub for the whole island and everyone gathers, young and old to take in one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen. The surrounding islands are bathed in golden light and I spot fish jumping out of shimmering water. I’m in complete awe and think, Australia you’re incredible.
We were guests of Qualia.