The mother of all Whitsundays events is back on for its 31st year. Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is a firm fixture on the international sailing calendar with hundreds of yachties – from amateurs to old salts – coming far and wide to compete in 10 days of racing.

It’s quite the spectacle, seeing the trademark turquoise water dotted with a fleet of bright, billowing sails; and the atmosphere is just as colourful on shore. The program includes everything from fancy lunches with free-flowing champagne, to fashion parades and pool parties, as well as more low-key events like beachside yoga, a fun Audi driving challenge and street-style food stalls each night on the marina’s Front Street. With all the excitement and those Hamilton good looks, it’s an event worth travelling for – even if you’re not into sailing.

If you’re at Race Week you must…

• Eat Street (Front Street on the marina) is where to go to soak up the buzzing atmosphere of Race Week. The welcome party will take place here, complete with fireworks over the marina, and each night of the week it will transform into a street-stall scene with a menu of casual eats including a barbecue and spit night. Each night, 5:30pm – 8:30pm, non-ticketed event.

• The annual Wild Oats Ladies Lunch is always a hit and this year it is being held at the relaxed south-east Asian restaurant coca chu, perched above the shores of Catseye Beach. Hosted by Mel Doyle, you’ll be served a long lunch of delicious sharing plates with matching Wild Oats wine. Sunday 17 August, 12pm – 4pm, $150 per person.

• What’s better than sangria? Free paella, that’s what. And at this Ibiza-inspired party, you get both! The Sangria Marina party is set on Front Street with Spanish music and DJs setting the vibe and complimentary paella flowing until 7pm. The sangria is made with Wild Oats, naturally. Tuesday 19 August, from 6pm, non-ticketed event.

• Bring your togs for the annual beachside pool party that takes place on lay day – so you can expect to see a lot of sailors about. Take advantage of Hamilton Island’s balmy weather as you splash around in the main pool at Catseye Beach to the sounds of a six-piece soul and RnB band. Wednesday 20 August, 11am – 7pm, non-ticketed event.


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