4.24pm, Tuesday 23rd June, Bells Boulevard, Kingscliff, Tweed Coast, New South Wales
Afternoon dear readers, and before getting much further down the track, I want to catch up the weekend’s adventure – my first trip to Hayman Island, to meet the folks from the One & Only who have taken over the resort, and are celebrating their first birthday…’in residence’. So the job was, to get from Mackay in Far North Queensland, to Hayman Island – sitting at the top of the Whitsunday group, on the Great Barrier Reef. Now I suspect there were a stack of better options, but my Saturday went like this:
Mackay. 5am Alarm!! And this is why I didn’t go and see the Sydney Hotshots male revue, who were performing in the same hotel as I was staying in…..you know you’re getting old when the sensible alternative is the one you take!! I walked back to the hotel at around 11pm the night before from our fabulous Rare & Fine dinner at Sorbellos a Italian Restaurant, and walked straight past the Sydney Hotshots venue…..sad but true.
5.15am Put away one of those tear the top off bowls of Just Right cereal that I remembered to buy with a bottle of milk the day before
5.30am Taxi to the Mackay airport
5.45am Checked into my Qantas flight to Brisbane, through security, searched, and nursed the first coffee of the day
6.55am load for the 90 minute flight to Brisbane – yay! Bonus, as I had no one sitting next to me, and I dozed out a couple of times
9.15am Claim my bag from Qantas, swap to Virgin, check in for my flight to Hamilton Island, back through security – Yep, searched again because of my metal knee, and yes – randomly selected (yet again) for the dodgy substances swab…yay..clear to go!
9.45am. Found the freshest looking sandwich at the little food hall in the middle of the Brisbane terminal, second coffee of the day, and read the paper. In hindsight, had I been smarter, I would have bought a couple more sandwiches for later on, but that’s getting ahead of the story.
12 noon. Left 30 minutes late for Hamilton Island, got to sit next to the loudest screeching kid on the plane….but we did get a half sandwich with an egg and lettuce filling that was quite nice – cut into two skinny crustless fingers. Didn’t have a soft drink…..$4 is outrageous for a can of sugar water, even if it is at 33,000 feet!
1.45pm. Landed on Hamilton Island……quite a short runway with water either end….memorable coming in and dropping onto the deck.
2. 15pm. Because we were late in, literally walked off the tarmac to the One & Only check in desk, met the delightful young man who checked us in there and then, took care of picking up the baggage and packed us off to the boat. Did I say boat? What I meant to say was 30 metre luxury ocean launch. Meet the Sea Goddess, the One & Only’s transfer launch – a beautiful piece of ocean going work! All of the rubbish hours taken to get to this point, and the headaches and gritty eyes that went with it……dissolved away as I walked down the jetty to the boat. What lines, what form, and the captain and crew decked out in impeccable whites! OK…..we need to shift gears now, as we walk up the gangway, and enter One & Only world.
Goodbye for now Hamilton Island, I’m off to Hayman on the Sea Goddess
I forgot to mention, that if you wish, there’s a glass of bubbles to welcome you on board…
But I went for an apple and a seat outside for the one hour ride up to Hayman Island.
And the crew is tremendously accommodating – it’s no problem whatsoever if you want to spend some time on the bridge
10.04pm Same Day, Tuesday 23rd June, Kingscliff, NSW
Just back from our masterclass, one course dinner event at the Kingscliff Beach Hotel, so I’ll catch up a bit more of the whole Hayman Island adventure. So we’re on this sleek wave slicing Sea Goddess for the run up the coastline of four islands – Hamilton, Ross, Whitsunday, and Hook. As soon as you come around Hook Island, the flat horseshoe bay of Hayman Island takes shape, and eventually you can pick out the small harbour to the west, and the resort – as it follows the shape of the bay west to east…..in amongst the rainforest that runs down from the peaks down to the beach.
So once we docked, the luggage is whisked off, and you follow at a much more leisurely pace, escorted to your room to settle in before exploring the resort.
I met the folks responsible for the restaurants, and made arrangements to have an early dinner at Amici – the Italian style trattoria with its own wood fired oven.
Here’s the lemon prawn and shredded zucchini dish from Amici, and this is where a whole raft load of our wines come to town – Pewsey Vale Riesling, Hill Smith Estate Adelaide Hills Chardonnay, Yalumba Eden Valley Viognier, Yalumba Roussanne – pick one, any one!
Even the sides at Amici are dishes in their own right – the mushrooms, bacon and smoked cheese – not just any old bacon, but some really snappy speck – and with these flavours, I’d go with our Yalumba Bush Vine Grenache, Running With Bulls Tempranillo, or even the Smith & Hooper Merlot from down in Wrattonbully.
The dining situation is unique on Hayman Island – there are several restaurants and bars, and they rotate the opening hours so that across a three day stay – you can experience them all. Bamboo is the house of Asian fusion, Fire is the fine dining restaurant overlooking its own lagoon
Aquazure is the casual daytime beach house cafe and gelateria overlooking in one direction the pools that are perched immediately above the beach…
And in the other direction, the cabana style ‘baths’
On The Rocks is a casual burger and tapas bar not far from the harbour – I didn’t get down there whilst on the Island, and Bar 50 is the cocktail lounge in the centre of the resort. This is where we did our ‘open bottle tasting’ for the guests on a Sunday evening
Last, but certainly not least, is Pacific – opening on to the beach. Pacific does breakfast from 6am every day, and opens for dinner
And the view from the Pacific seats?
OK folks, that’s it for me for tonight. Early start tomorrow – headed for Brisbane, then on up the Great Dividing Range to Toowoomba. See you when it’s Wednesday.
6.43am, Wednesday 24th June, still Kingscliff
I’m keen to finish off the Hayman Island story, so before I get picked up at 7am, here we go.
So what about the rooms, the island, the big friendly grouper feeding times, the helicopter sweeps across whatever part of the Great Barrier Reef that you’d like to explore, the diving with sea turtle expeditions, the learn to sail a catamaran option, the Spa, the hiking, and not forgetting the buggy ride to the helipad to watch the sun sink like a rock into the sea. That – dear readers I’ll leave for the intrepid travellers that trek out to Hayman to discover for themselves.
As for me…..it looks like our two training sessions with the In house restaurant staff went really well, and we may very well find ourselves back on Hayman in the not too distant future with our very own Epicurean Weekend – one of the jewels in the One & Only’s cuisine crown…….fingers crossed!
So on Monday morning, my luggage magically disappeared from my room and popped up on board the MV Circa – The double deck ferry sister ship to the Sea Goddess – and I farewelled one of the most fabulous couple of days that I’ve had in the job, as we headed out of the Hayman harbour and south to the airport on Hamilton Island. The Sea Goddess left first, a fraction swifter, with the folks on the earlier flights……
That’s the Sea Goddess on the left, Circa – my ride to Hamilton Island – on the right
Hamilton Island here we come….
And that’s the airstrip, so my time in One & Only world is unfortunately at an end……for now!!
But I can dream of going back!!
Thanks a million One & Only Hayman Island…….see you soon!!