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Thursday, June 26, 2008
Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island in Queensland's Whitsundays. It is actually a collection of wet drowned mountains close to the coast. It is mainly a tourism destination but also has many permanent residents. Hamilton is the only island in the Whitsundays with an airport capable of servicing large commercial aircraft and also offers an efficient ferry service from Shute Harbour.

Hamilton measures five kilometres from north to south and 3.5 kilometres from east to west. It was purchased in 2004 for $198 million by the Oatley family. More than 70 percent of the island has been carefully preserved so visitors can still enjoy its pristine beauty, including 20km of unspoilt nature trails and hideaways. Between July and September visitors are treated to the sight of migrating whales.

Qualia is a luxury resort on the secluded northernmost tip of the island. Surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef, the property is on 12 hectares and has 60 hillside pavilions overlooking the Coral Sea. Some have private plunge pools. The resort rises in terraces from Pebble Beach and the site is so steep, each pavilion has its own two-person electric cart.

The resort's architect has created an indoor-outdoor ambience with colours reflecting stormy seas, wet sand, grey boulders and summer skies. Native timbers such as hoop pine and kwila hardwood and Bowen bluestone have been used in construction. Tiered landscaping grows only indigenous species such as lilly pilly, grevillea and eucalypt and there are screens of bamboo and cardamom bush. Frangipani trees contribute colour and fragrance. Much thought was put into making the area like natural bushland and there are water views at almost every turn.

Large guest pavilions — up to five times the size of standard hotel rooms — have a lounge, bedroom and oversized bathroom and the decor is sleek and uncluttered. Windward pavilions have outdoor plunge pools and wide timber decks with outdoor furniture and privacy screens. Leeward pavilions face west and were designed with the sun worshipper in mind. Decks make the most of the sun and beautiful sunsets.

Qualia's ultimate hideaway is the Beach House. It has loads of entertaining space, a separate guesthouse and a full size pool. Guests can indulge in Aesop toiletries with wonderful earthy ginger root and geranium fragrances, thick Kenzo towels and special silken pyramid teabags holding exotically scented leaves.

There are two restaurants — both, of course, serve the finest and freshest local produce.

Spa Qualia offers a range of natural treatments. It features a Swiss shower, sunken Roman baths, steam room and a yoga and meditation pavilion. The signature treatment is the hot stone massage in rooms opening onto private gardens.

Sea kayaks and catamarans are available for guest use at Pebble Beach.

Qualia stems from the Latin, meaning "a collection of deeper sensory experiences" and it's easy to see why the name is appropriate!


Hamilton Island in Queensland's Whitsundays.


Qualia accommodation starts at $1450 a night. All meals, non-alcoholic beverages, non-motorised water sports and electric buggy are included.

Virgin Blue has flights to Hamilton Island.

One-way fares from:

  • Brisbane $115
  • Melbourne $189
  • Sydney and Adelaide $179
  • Hobart $275
  • Perth $345
  • Darwin $350

    There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares are one-way on the Internet. An extra $15 will be charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are correct at June 26, 2008, and are subject to change.

    Prices correct at June 26, 2008.

    For further information

    Hamilton Island 4803
    Luxury Specialist - Qualia Reservations
    Ph: (02) 9433 3349

    Hamilton Island
    Ph: 137 333

    Virgin Blue
    Ph: 136 789

    Check out our celebrity Getaway blog or our photo gallery for more Getaway adventure pics.

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