27 September 2023

Being in a Whitsundays tropical state of mind

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By Rama Gaind.

Queensland ― ‘Beautiful One Day, Perfect the Next’ ― offers a slice of paradise to suit every traveller.
Part 2 of this feature explores other beautiful Australian icons in the region.

A world-class luxury resort on the northern tip of Hamilton Island, qualia offers picturesque views across the Coral Sea and the Whitsundays. Photo: Rama Gaind

“Once a year, go somewhere you’ve never been before.” ― The Dalai Lama

Become inspired, like I was. Dream. Explore. Discover. Travelling for fulfilment and putting experience at the heart of luxury travel means magnifying human emotions.

While one traveller’s luxury is another’s ordinary, there’s no refuting that comfort factors still apply and high standards of accommodation and dining will always feature on the holidaymaker’s wish list.

These days travel is more about access to the people, places and experiences that represent all that’s genuine about a destination. Such was my stay ― an extravagance ― an amazing experience which started with an indulgent holiday on qualia, Hamilton Island, on the Great Barrier Reef.

Opened in 2007, qualia’s harmonious plan is the work of Australian designer Chris Beckingham. In partnership with the Oatley family, the design philosophy was to create a luxurious Australian retreat that stimulated the senses and drew the outside in. A tick to creating a world-class, lavish, boutique resort. Pristine achievement!

Makayla was the efficient cruiser captain on the sunset cruise in the Whitsunday Passage. Photo: Rama Gaind

The private resort situated on the northern tip of Hamilton Island, the largest and most established island in the Whitsundays, is just 16 kilometres off the Queensland coast.

Bearing witness to magical sunsets is the norm on Hamilton. One of the best ways to enhance the senses is to take in a Whitsundays sunset cruise. We did. The motor cruiser captain steered the course through the calm Whitsunday Passage to capture the magnificent moment as the sun dropped down on the horizon in a blaze of glory. Makayla, who has been doing this for four years, said “I can’t complain”.

It was so peaceful as the breathtaking Whitsunday Islands passed us by. The calm waters and gentle funnelling winds made for an ideal sailing playground. A picture-perfect end to any day!

Island hub

On a holiday in Hamilton Island, you’ll be surrounded by pristine white beaches, and a kaleidoscope of coral and marine life. It’s the perfect base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef and world-famous Whitehaven Beach.

Watch a stunning sunset in the Whitsunday Passage. Photo: Rama Gaind

A tropical state of mind is guaranteed in the Whitsundays as you discover Queensland’s 74 island wonders in the Coral Sea. The Whitsundays is your oyster and making decisions about what to do will be difficult: soak up the sun, enjoy the laidback lifestyle, explore the endless natural landscapes, laze on one of the many uncrowded beaches.

If being adventurous is your passion, then swim with thousands of vividly coloured fish and luminous corals, while snorkelling or scuba diving. You’ll get a chance to observe diverse marine life including humpback whales, dolphins, turtles and dugongs.

The Whitsundays also offers some of the world’s best sailing, so charter a boat and cruise the islands or even board a tall ship ― all the while enjoying the stunning sundown scenery and relaxing waters of the Whitsunday islands.

If you prefer something more daring, then join an ocean rafting or jetski tour and skim across the water in style or soar above the magical Heart Reef from the air.

Relax at qualia and enjoy spectacular panoramic views across the Coral Sea and the Whitsundays. Photo: Rama Gaind

Make the most of your stay in Airlie Beach, the vibrant hub of the Whitsundays, the ideal mainland base for fun and adventure.

Hamilton Island is the only island in the Whitsundays with its own commercial airport. The island’s hub for retail and dining is the waterfront Marina Village.

With 70 per cent of the island’s bushland protected by national park, Hamilton’s lush interior is laced with bushwalking trails leading to panoramic viewpoints, where breathtaking vistas take in the Whitsunday Islands and Coral Sea.

Unlike many other islands in the Whitsundays, Hamilton is more than a popular tourist destination. It’s also a thriving community and an interesting history.

Getting there

Hamilton Island Marina by day. Photo: Rama Gaind

Hamilton Island is located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef in Australia’s Whitsunday region. With daily flights to and from the island, its own airport and a ferry service to the mainland, Hamilton is an accessible and easy-to-get-to holiday destination. It is fringed by coral and is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

The Whitsunday Islands lie between the northeast coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, a massive stretch of coral teeming with marine life. Most of the islands are uninhabited.

The world’s largest and most diverse coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef is ideal for wildlife-watching, diving and snorkelling. Made up of almost 3,000 reefs and more than 900 islands, the entire reef stretches for more than 2,600 kilometres.

The reef’s 350-plus types of corals are made up of hard and soft coral polyps. Dozens of species of marine life swim in these warm tropical waters, including whales and rare dugongs, plus more than 40 species of seabirds, sea turtles and remarkable 1,500 species of tropical fish.

An aerial view of the pristine Whitehaven Beach in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Rama Gaind

Ideal for anyone who wants to explore the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach has a pristine environment, especially reputed for its sun-kissed silica sand that stretches for nearly seven kilometres. It has been voted the world’s top eco-friendly beach, and Queensland’s cleanest.

Make some unexpected discoveries while at the reef. Marvel at the wondrous diversity of underwater life by exploring the myriad of picturesque islands and coral cays that form the earth’s largest coral reef ecosystem ― and the only natural structure visible from the moon.

Make sure you go on scenic flights which reveal the reef’s turquoise beauty from the air. Enjoy a private helicopter Heart Reef tour; go on a memorable Great Barrier Reef adventure; spend the day snorkelling, diving, jet skiing; or sail to incredible Whitehaven Beach ― and simply swim.

Never give up on your dreams and live in the reality of the moment. Like Claude Monet said: “My wish is to stay always like this living quietly in a corner of nature.”


Hamilton Island, Qld

Whitsunday Islands

qualia, Great Barrier Reef Australia




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