Whitehaven Beach is one of those beaches you dream about: soft white sand stretching on for miles, and pristine turquoise water that's just perfect for swimming. As it is on Whitsunday Island (the largest in the chain), it is also protected from development, and access is limited to chartered boats or helicopters. In short, it’s the perfect beach escape for any client who wants an exclusive experience far from the maddening crowds, and with few signs of other people.
To get there, my group of Aussie specialists and suppliers were split into two— half of us would take a boat (on loan from qualia) and the other half would take helicopters. I was selected for the boat, and we set off across the rather rough water, getting knocked about and splashed by the waves. (It was like a rollercoaster, only so much better, because it was real, not manufactured.)
After about 45 minutes, we arrived at the secluded and very quiet beach, and hopped on into the comfortably warm water. The qualia staff kept us fed and entertained as we splashed, swam, sunbathed and snorkeled. The sand on the beach, I was told, is so pure and so fine that it can be used to clean jewelry. (Sadly, I didn’t bring any to confirm that thesis.) Far too soon, it was time to head back to Hamilton Island, and we switched off between the choppers and the boat. Flying over the islands is a terrific way of seeing how different and unique they all are, and also affords some great photo opportunities. And it’s significantly faster than the boat—we were back on Hamilton within fifteen minutes of leaving Whitsunday, and that’s including multiple circles for picture-taking. If time is of the essence for your clients, book them a chopper ride. For boat rides to Whitehaven, operators include Cruise Indigo, FantaSea, H2O Sportz and Hamilton Island Watersports.
A new addition to Hamilton Island is Spa wumurdaylin (pronounced woo-mer-DAY-lin—it means “dragonfly” in the local Aboriginal language), which hasn’t even been open a month. (It was built, in part, to handle the overflow from qualia, which has a rather small spa.) Katie Cahill had booked a treatment for me during my initial tour of the island, so I headed off to the brand-new building for a “rejuvenation” experience. Therapist Nicole Cortese brought me into the treatment room, which had a surprisingly large tinted window looking out onto the back yard. (This was one of the brighter spas I’ve visited.) Once I was on the table, she spent an hour working over just about every muscle in my body, paying particular attention to my neck and shoulders (as per my request—I’m a New Yorker; I’m naturally tense). After the massage, she spent half-an-hour exfoliating my face and gently applying moisturizer. I left feeling wonderfully zen and relaxed. (Good to know: The spa has 11 treatment rooms, including three couples’ suites. There are also four wet rooms that have either a seven-head Vichy shower or luxury rain shower.)
The lobby of spa wumurdaylin