Hamilton Island is the perfect spot for a romantic getaway. Here’s how you can have the perfect four-day couples’ retreat…
Perfect Hamilton Island for couples – Day one
Fly direct into Hamilton Island and get picked up by VIP transfer by qualia, one of Australia’s most romantic resorts (Oprah Winfrey and Taylor Swift stayed there before you).
You’ll find the retreat hidden behind huge wooden gates against a backdrop that looks very Jurassic Park, just a few minutes’ drive from the airport. Sleep in a private pavilion looking out across the Whitsundays.
Or, for extra romance points, book a pavilion with its own private plunge pool (clothing is optional). You’ll be given an electric golf cart (there are no cars on Hamilton Island) to drive all over the resort – and the whole island. Have lunch seaside at qualia’s, Pebble Beach, where the beautiful people congregate – you belong here.
Don’t linger too long; there’s too much to see. Stay a fortnight and you won’t do the same thing twice on Hamilton Island. But start simple. You don’t need to bankrupt yourselves: orient yourself to the island’s charms and find your own private piece of paradise by hiring a motorised dinghy from Hamilton Island Marina.
Head to one of the island’s secret beaches – such as Coral Cove or Escape Beach. You’ll have an entire strip of sand to yourselves – bring a blanket and a bottle of sparkling wine. If you’re the hunter-gatherer type, catch a fish and prepare your own sashimi.
Arrive back in time for sunset at qualia’s Long Pavilion looking across to Whitsunday Island – one of the Whitsundays’ most dramatic and mountainous islands. Dine looking across the moonlit water, sampling executive chef Mark Jensen’s inspired creations.
Perfect Hamilton Island for couples – Day two
How adventurous a romantic are you? There’s more than 30 kilometres of walks all over the island, but one of the best hikes involves you getting up at dawn. Walk to Passage Peak, a rocky outcrop that’ll give you a stunning view of the sunrise over the Whitsunday and its wild, mountainous islands … pack some fruit and a cheeky bottle of bubbles if you are feeling like rock stars. The walk is 2.7 kilometres one way.
Today’s a good day to explore the best of the Great Barrier Reef with almost complete privacy. Take a helicopter from Hamilton Island to your own private helipad/pontoon right beside world-renowned Heart Reef (a 100 square-metre patch of coral shaped like a heart).
You’ll land at low tide, when the reef creates an enormous lagoon, and have 90 minutes to travel around in a custom-made jet boat and a glass-bottom boat. You’ll also have time to snorkel: look out for Terry the resident turtle who will probably accompany you, but don’t worry: he knows when three’s a crowd. There’s only a maximum of six guests per visit, so it’s always private.
Arrive back in time for a romantic feast at Romano’s Italian overlooking the water at the Hamilton Island Marina. The seafood is sublime; sample the tagliatelle with Queensland prawns, crab, white wine, chilli, garlic and lemon butter, and finish off with bomboloni, Italian-styled fried doughnuts. Do some laps in your plunge pool to work off the extra kilos.
Perfect Hamilton Island for couples – Day three
It’s time to move out of qualia for another part of the island. Continue to luxuriate in your adults-only world at the Beach Club.
Book a room with a private balcony looking across Hamilton Island’s Catseye Beach. Staying here comes with free use of catamarans, paddleboards, snorkelling equipment and kayaks. And there’s an infinity pool.
Remember that big island with all the mountains you could see from your dinner table at qualia? That’s Whitsunday Island. It’s where you will find Whitehaven Beach, a seven-kilometre stretch of silica sand beside aquamarine water, which regularly ranks as one of the world’s top 10 beaches is on the other side of those peaks.
Getting there is easy from Hamilton Island. There’s a variety of choices depending on how private you’d like to make your trip. For total exclusivity points, book a private charter with Explore Whitsundays. They’ll take you direct to the beach where you can have a picnic with sparkling wine on the sand. You can book either a day tour or half-day tour, or even just a few hours.
Or take a helicopter, which will give you a good view of the Whitsundays on the way, and you’ll get 75 minutes to spend on the beach. Or go via seaplane where you’ll have 50 minutes to check out the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsundays before you land at Whitehaven Beach.
If you want to save a few dollars, get onboard a high-speed rigid inflatable boat with Hamilton Island Watersports Reef Ryder. Book a full day tour to Whitehaven Beach and nearby Chalkies Beach and you’ll get to spend time on both beaches.
Best of all: you don’t have to leave your accommodation for dinner after a big day out. The Beach Club Restaurant is only for in-house guests (no kids); try a five-course tasting menu, or opt for a la carte. Whatever you do, don’t miss the house-made linguine, with Moreton Bay bugs, Queensland prawns and fresh-caught local fish.
Perfect Hamilton Island for couples – Day four
You haven’t really stopped yet, have you? So today’s the day to relax and take it easy… kick back a few gears and enjoy each other’s company.
After breakfast at the Beach Club, book in for a couples treatment at Spa Wumurdaylin – it’s also located near the Beach Club, so you won’t have far to go. There are four rooms here designed for couples – try the Double Indulgence Treatment – which includes aromatherapy massages, foot and hand treatments, facials and neck massages.
When you’re done, take the time to properly enjoy Catseye Beach – kayak around the fringing reef and you’ll find turtles and plenty of fish, or just swim out from the beach with a mask and snorkel. If you’d prefer a guide, book a snorkeling tour to find the best spots.
Allow yourself at least three hours to sample one of the best restaurants for dinner in one of the best locations in all of Queensland – the Hamilton Island Yacht Club. The architecturally designed building shaped like a stingray is where to go for gourmet cuisine looking out across Dent Passage to surrounding islands.
Get dressed up and really go all out. Start with a cocktail at One Tree Hill. There’s a bar up here overlooking the islands with a perfect vantage point of the sun setting against the mainland. Order a French 75– gin, Cointreau, sparkling wine and lemon juice – in a Champagne flute, or take a blanket and set up a private sundowner spot on the grass in front.