MAGICAL: Investigate the Whitsunday Islands on the advice of Sir David Attenborough Activity Holidays To travel

Whitehaven beach

The Whitsunday Islands and the awesome Great Barrier Reef. (Image: GETTY)

He returned in 2016 for the distinctive BBC series Great Barrier Reef, a glorious exploration of extraterrestrial corals, majestic marine mammals and phosphorescent fish, a series that allowed me to look up to myself with a serious suspicion.

And this year my fantasy on the bucket list became reality when my husband and I moved to Queensland with a 50-minute hop-over flight of an hour from Brisbane Airport to Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays.

Hamilton is one of the many points in Queensland to explore the reef that winds along the northeastern coast of Australia for 1430 miles, and fortunately this southern part is unaffected by the critically acclaimed coral bleaching caused by rising sea temperatures.

Lush, wild and mountainous, the Whitsundays consists of 74 islands, with Hamilton the largest of the 8 inhabited and the only one to take advantage of its own airport.

Owned by the Oatleys, an Australian wine and real estate family since 2003, they have started making this one of the world's most sought-after holiday destinations.

It now attracts people such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Oprah Winfrey and Taylor Swift, who flock to his six-star resort Qualia, which charges over £ 750 a night.

Hamilton Island is not the cheapest holiday destination, but there are more wallet-friendly options, with four other resorts on the 5sq km island. We chose Beach Club, a boutique hotel for adults only with 57 rooms.

The luxurious reception merges seamlessly into the infinity pool, which in turn flows into the azure waters of Catseye Beach, all surrounded by swaying palm trees.

Our room was no less impressive, the king-sized bed overlooking tropical gardens and the beach beyond. It was easy to stay away for hours on our terrace, cockatoos and parrots flashing through the palm trees, while wild wallabies walked by.

To dive

The great Barrier Reef. (Image: GETTY)

The protection of plant and animal life is a priority here and there are strict building regulations to let green prevail.

Cars are also forbidden (with the exception of vehicles for resort transfer), where guests go on foot or rent a golf cart.

We enjoyed browsing around in ours, to viewpoint One Tree Hill for spectacular sunsets and to the unbelievably beautiful marina, with its pastel-colored facades, for shopping and dining.

The marina is dominated by the yacht club of Hamilton Island, with its unique roof that resembles the sails of a boat, home to the best restaurant on the island, Bommie.

Outside the resort we could connect to the free Wi-Fi on the entire island and recharge everything – eat, drink, even buy souvenirs – back to our room.


Green sea turtle. (Image: GETTY)

It was like staying in a stranded, super-luxurious Disneyland.

Sniffing island life is of course only a part of the fun – most activities in the Whitsundays are focused on the water and a trip to the Barrier Reef was at the top of the list with to do & # 39; s.

We boarded a catamaran to Bait Reef for a full-day diving trip and a snorkeling trip with Explore Hamilton Island.

My husband left for diving, while I got a mask and fins and jumped into my friendly snorkel guide, Jared.

You lose light and therefore color, the deeper you go, so snorkeling is one of the best ways to see the reef in all its glory.

And Jared has ensured that we have provided information about the numerous fish and coral species while swimming, such as a stunning 150-year-old brain coral, white reef sharks, parrotfish and turtles.

It was just as spectacular as I had imagined.

The reef system is huge – it is the world's largest living structure and is visible from space – and we were only exploring a small part of it.

If you want to appreciate its size, you can take a helicopter or a seaplane ride with Hamilton Island Air.

You take in the iconic Heart Reef and get an unrivaled view of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, with its swirling, ever-changing white sand ridges around Hill Inlet.


Hug koala's at Wild Life Hamilton Island. (Image: GETTY)

My husband and I decided it was too good to look from afar and went to this 7 km long beach with a fast catamaran.

The sand is 98 percent white silica and so soft and fine, like baby powder, that it squeaked under the feet.

Here we put our towels and sunbathe in the sun before we walked through the rainforest to Solway Lookout, which offers some of the best views over the islands.

Sir David did not disappoint me. The Barrier Reef was indeed magical – and I had found many more treasures here.


1 Snorkeling or diving on the Great Barrier Reef (adults from $ 240, children from $ 140,

2 … then you see it from above with a flight (from $ 330pp, hamilton

3 Admire the swirling sand of Hill Inlet during an excursion (adults from $ 130, children from $ 80).

4 Drop off at the 18-hole Hamilton Island Golf Club, designed by champion golfer Peter Thomson, on Dent Island.

5 Treat yourself to the tasting menu by chef Trent Dawson in Bommie.

Great Barrier Reef

See the Great Barrier Reef from the air. (Image: GETTY)

6 If the rooms at Qualia are too expensive, go to the Long Pavilion restaurant for dinner instead.

7 Take a tour on Hamilton Island with jet ski ($ 225 per ski for adults, $ 40 extra for a passenger over 12 years, hamilton

8 Take the islands with champagne on a catamaran cruise at sunset (adults from $ 80, children from $ 30).

9 Hug a koala on Wild Life Hamilton Island.

10 Visit during the sailing week of Hamilton Island, which takes place in August.

Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach. (Image: GETTY)


Return economy class flights with Singapore Airlines (, 020 8961 6993) from London Heathrow to Brisbane start from £ 765 (book before March 31, 2019).

Prices for Heathrow Meet & Greet Parking ( start at £ 99 for a week when booked at least 24 hours in advance.

Rooms at Beach Club ( start from $ 710 per night (around £ 399).

Visit for more information about the Whitsunday Islands.

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