The cruise from Hayman was just under an hour as we passed by sun soaked islands floating in the crystal clear waters. I dream of spending weeks on end cruising the Whitsunday islands – totally surrounded by natural beauty and scenery inspired by the dreams of Gods.
We wandered to the back of the boat and comfortably lounged outside on the deck with champagne in hand and smiles from ear to ear. One thing about Aussie hospitality is that they never leave you wanting, at least when it comes to champagne. I also was sporting a very manly sunburn, as us men do when confronted with incredibly strong sun rays. We don’t hide, no! However the sun is pretty strong in Australia, and chose to make quite the example out of me over the past couple days – so I did sunscreen up for this trip.
As we hoped off the cruise, we made our way to the transfer area and were greeted by a qualia driver. We shared the ride with some local Aussie’s also heading to qualia for some R&R. I love making new friends while traveling – the unique people you encounter make traveling so much more worthwhile.
As we pulled up, we were greeted with a warm welcome from the GM, Michael, who handed us a glass of champagne and led us through the doorway to paradise. The view was jaw dropping – a view I could see every day and never get tired of. Writing this now, I’m re-questioning why I’m not living within eye shot of the oceans of Australia. After we stopped drooling, we set-up our stay and activities and toured the resort. Whenever I visit a property, I always check out all the facilities, room types, etc. to enhance my job knowledge of our products.
That afternoon, we hoped on a little outboard and cruised to one of the surrounding private islands. As we pulled up we noticed that two cushions and an umbrella was set-up, along with a delicious lunch and drinks. After we were settled, they waved and zoomed off. The name “Beach drop-off” was more literal than I thought.
We literally were just dropped off at a private island and were now alone – talk about surreal. Kristen and I both just kind of looked at each other; not realizing people could actually have these experiences. It was perfect. We spent the next hour or so wandering the secluded beach, eating lunch and trying to finish the bottle of champagne – after all, we did not want to be wasteful.
After our beach drop-off, we spent the rest of the afternoon in our Golf Buggy that qualia provides to you during your stay and cruised around Hamilton Island. AND, I only got into the wrong lane one time! Hamilton Island is so cool. We drove to the harbor and checked out some local shops and the docks.
I think depression is beginning to set in again as I write this, comparing my current view of the train station to my memory of my time on the islands.
The rooms at qualia are gorgeous. The living room completely opens up onto a beautiful deck with magnificent views of the ocean. We even had a kangaroo hop right past our suite! If we didn’t already have activities planned, I could have easily stayed there and been happy.
Oh, and dinner that night. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned this yet. We dined at the resort restaurant – we wanted the full experience. We went for the gold and ordered the tasting menu with the optional wine and spirits pairing – leaving the fate of our taste buds in the hands of the unknown to us culinary artisan. Like clock work, beautifully created dishes were placed in front of us, only be expertly complimented by a unique wine – all of this continuously over around two hours. My mouth is watering simply thinking about it. The food was excellent and very unique.
The morning of our flight, we woke up a bit early and rushed down to the Hamilton Island Koala center. This is one of the few places Down Under where you can hold a Koala without any cushions. Let me just say, Koalas are so adorable. Most of the time I was hanging out with Elvis (the koala’s name) I was conspiring some master plan to take him home with me.
qualia was incredible, and experience I could not recommend more. 16 hours was not enough!
More to come.