You’ll forget you’re in Australia when you stay at the InterContinental Hayman Island, this lush resort boasts some of the most breathtaking and diverse scenery in the Whitsunday’s and embraces its tropical location offering a range of complimentary activities including kayaks and paddleboards. There’s also a beautifully appointed spa, fitness centre, and other on-island activities such as a guided hike through surrounding rainforest teeming with beautiful bird life. Off-island experiences are easily arranged with the friendly concierge team offering an assortment of snorkelling, diving and sailing experiences, and aerial views of the Great Barrier Reef can also be organised for those wishing to take in the spectacular, unspoilt coastline from above. The resort is spacious and family-friendly with plenty of activities to keep the kids entertained.
Stepping on board a luxury catamaran, warmly welcomed with flutes of bubbles and an array of colourful chef-created share plates, we easily sink into our plush surrounds and commence the one hour journey across the pristine coral-filled water to Hayman Island, the most northerly of the Whitsunday Islands, and one of the most luxurious private island resorts in Queensland, Australia.
As the island approaches we move upstairs to take in the view, the warm sea breeze gently whips around us. The InterContinental resort stands out like an effervescent gem nestled between the turquoise hues of the sea and the dense green canopy of the surrounding rainforest. Big smiles and waves from the staff greet us as we dock and make our way onto golf buggies for the leisurely ride along the palm tree dotted road to our final destination. Caroline and I multi-task like pros as we film our arrival for the gram, expertly maneuvering the phone between us, and glimpses of the Coral Sea between palm fronds.
The air is steeped in humidity but our private villa is refreshingly cool as we settle in, greeted with a complimentary bottle of Moet. After a quick change into suitable poolside attire, we pack carry bags with our take-home reusable ‘Hayman’ branded water bottle, hats and sunscreen, and stroll down to the white sand beach directly in front of the resort. Walking along, the warm water lapping our ankles and moving sand between our toes, we spot a turtle just a few feet away drifting with the current and then diving down to explore, Mother Nature gifting us with a glimpse of the enthusiastic marine life on Hayman Island.
We find ourselves naturally gravitating towards the highly photographed infinity pool complete with an artificial beach and day beds. Here we order treats from the à la carte menu and proceed to form horizontal positions lulled into a state of supreme relaxation courtesy of the gentle murmuring waves on the shoreline, and stay this way until the sun slinks below the horizon.
There are so many ways to approach a holiday on Hayman Island, and Caroline and I opt for a balance of adrenalin and relaxation. After our ritualistic morning coffee and eclectic mix of seasonal fresh fruit, muesli, seafood, nuts and eggs for breakfast, we set about ticking off our list of must-do island activities.
STAND-UP PADDLE BOARDING
An excellent way to explore the flat, clear water around Hayman Island and take in the spectacular view of the resort and shoreline. Caroline and I glide out on the water mid-morning and go as far as the markers allow, still able to see the sandy white seabed below, we know if we fall in we won’t be over our heads.
Opting for a double kayak, we hit the tranquil water and row out into the depths at a leisurely pace. With all morning to enjoy the views, we stop often to watch the shallow waters ripple with life and the palm trees gently sway high above the resort. We feel splashes of sea water as we lazily dangle our feet over the edge, and we smell the fresh tropical air envelop us, turning this morning of relaxation into a natural sensory overload.
Few images evoke the same feeling of awe as breathtaking views of the Great Barrier Reef dotted with green, undulating islands surrounded by rocky boulders and glistening white coastline, and we can’t imagine a more perfect way to travel to Whitehaven beach than by air. Helireef, the official partner of the InterContinental, take us on a scenic 15 minute flight to Whitehaven beach, a 7km stretch of paradise famous for its fine white sand comprising of 98% pure silica. Here we cool off with a drink and relax under an umbrella, splash in the waves and pray to the sun gods to slow down and give us a little more time in paradise.
LANGFORD ISLAND SUNSET PICNIC
A short jet boat ride across the water to nearby Langford Island, a small sandbar jotting out of the bright blue water and curving around like a dazzling white smile. A picnic hamper is waiting for us on arrival brimming with flavoursome cheese and dried fruit, seafood dishes, seasonal salads, decadent chocolate cake and champagne. We set our picnic rug and beach chairs perfectly in position to capture the sun set behind the horizon and share the tantalising dishes all whilst Caroline demonstrates her newfound appreciation and unique take on island ornithology.
Never ones to skip a workout even while on vacation, we head to the fitness centre for a total body blitz and discover wellbeing is not an afterthought at the InterContinental. Expertly filled with cutting-edge cardio equipment including treadmills, cross trainers and rowers, multiple sets of free weights all positioned on rubber insulated floor tiles and surrounded by floor to ceiling glass windows filling the spacious centre with ample natural light. Adjacent to the fitness centre is well-equipped exercise studio with two reformer pilates machines and accessories, mirrored walls, a ballet barre and two sets of battle ropes. The exercise studio also offers a variety of pre-scheduled group classes.