Paradise Found: A Visit to Hamilton Island Part 2


The sound of an unrecognisable bird call slowly seeped into my consciousness. My eyes flickered open and a circular blur slowly gave way to the sight of a slowly rotating ceiling fan. It took me a few moments to register where I was. Paradise.

After our first day on Hamilton Island and a sleep that could only be described as restorative, we were ready to continue exploring. My partner in crime opted for yoga class at spa qualia while I contented myself making snow angels in the crisp white linen of the king sized bed. Our appetites were ready to fire up again so we headed to the Long Pavilion.

Breakfast is a casual affair with the option of a continental or a la carte dining experience. My surroundings put me in an indulgent mood, so Eggs Benedict was the order of the day although the fresh fruit and yoghurt presented at our table made me feel the tiniest bit healthy, because fruit and yoghurt cancel out the calories in Eggs Benedict, right?

Fresh Fruit & Yoghurt

After a refreshing plunge in the infinity pool by Pebble beach, we headed to the Hamilton Island Marina to catch a ferry to the Hamilton Island Golf Club on adjoining Dent Island. The golf course is designed by five-time British Open winner Peter Thomson and with the impressive clubhouse, lush, sculpted greens and views over the sparkling Coral Sea, the island appeals to golfers and non-golfers alike. My ability to play golf is about as good as my ability to sing opera or perform brain surgery so I didn’t play, but I did enjoy a fantastic meal at the club house, something I’m exceptionally good at.

The Main Pool at qualia

The Ferry to Dent Island

Golf on Dent Island

View over the Club House

We returned to qualia and took our golf buggy for a spin around the island. As sunset drew near, we headed to One Tree Hill, a favourite vantage point for people from all over the island with 180 degree views over the water and neighbouring islands. After a quick cocktail it was time to head back to the resort for the main event.

One Tree Hill

We had been invited to qualia to attend the Vogue Living Champagne Dinner which was set in the beautiful surrounds of Pebble Beach. Qualia has a reputation for gourmet experiences that can’t be replicated anywhere else and our dinner that evening was no exception. The lawn by Pebble Beach was transformed into an elegant tropical outdoor dining space, adorned with pineapples, magnums of champagne and the stunning table features designed by Megan Morton.

Table Settings at the Vogue Living Champagne Dinner

The 6 course menu designed by Executive Chef Alastair Waddell was superb and the matching Champagnes were transcendent but what stood out the most, and is the hardest to describe is the feeling I had when dining under the crystal clear sky, with the water gently lapping at the beach nearby.

Champagne and Matched food by Alistair Waddell

There was a moment during the meal where the noise from the tables around me disappeared, the stars above shone brightly and I felt at once an otherworldly feeling of euphoria and calm. Maybe it was the Champagne, but I think it was something more.

There is something truly magical about qualia, and I felt it that night. It is the feeling you have when you are able to let go of your every day cares and truly live in the moment. It is a rare place that can inspire those feelings and it’s why qualia deserves the accolade, best resort in the world.

Jeremy Bowell stayed at qualia as a guest of Hamilton Island

Great Barrier Feast

Hamilton Island will soon be playing host to some of Australia’s top chefs for Great Barrier Feast to be held from the 12th – 14th July 2013. Join Peter Gilmore from Australia’s top rated restaurant Quay who along with  with award-winning chef Dan Hunter of the Royal Mail Hotel in Dunkeld, Victoria and qualia’s Executive Chef Alastair Waddell will present an intimate weekend of Australia’s finest food and wine.

More information and bookings


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Author:Jeremy Bowell

Jeremy Bowell is the founder and editor of Taste Explorer. He also writes for,, and has featured in the Sydney Morning Herald's Good Living section. He is an avid connoisseur of all things food and drink related.