"Flying into Hamilton Island, the first thing I noticed was the incredible turquoise blue water of the Whitsundays," says Instagrammer Pauly Vella (@paulyvella). "Between the white clouds, we were treated to glimpses of islands that made me even more excited to step off the plane and get exploring!"
Pauly was lucky enough to spend some time chasing sunsets and squeaking across the sands of Hamilton Island. We asked him for his highlights.
...on getting there
"Travelling from the airport up to the Reef View Hotel, the views are just gorgeous," says Pauly.
"There are hints of harbour views through the green jungle and palm trees as you travel in your electric buggy up the quiet roads. The buggies are such a great part of Hamilton Island! It's one of my favourite parts of the island experience."
...on the perfect beach spot
"Having been lucky enough to travel to Hamilton Island a few times before, I knew Catseye Beach makes for an incredible spot to watch the sunrise with passage peak in the background," says Pauly.
"The most beautiful spot is along the palms that line the beach. I set up my camera at the tree line at first light, looking out over the water.
"As the sky started to light up, I was very lucky to witness a gorgeous sky just before the sun started to rise. Those shots were something I really wanted to capture."
...on iconic Whitehaven
"I was absolutely stoked to get back to Whitehaven beach," says Pauly. "I’ve been before, but never with good weather unfortunately! It was looking as though it would be the same case as I travelled over to Hamilton Island."
"The rain started to ease as we got closer and, after stepping onto the beach, the sun burst out from the clouds revealing the incredibly clear water against the white silica sand. These are definitely some of my favourite beach photos I’ve captured in the Whitsundays."
...on tips for first-timers
"Hiring a buggy is great and means you can see a lot more of the island!" says Pauly. "Definitely get down to Catseye Beach, both at low tide to explore the tidal pools and at high tide to grab a paddleboard or snorkel to see some turtles!
"Also, make sure you try Coca Chu. It’s such a great restaurant with mouth-watering food."
...on a favourite find
"One of my favourite spots to watch the sunset was a place I discovered while having a drink at the Yacht Club," says Pauly. "It’s below the deck on an incredible coral beach."
"The shells there are so beautiful and it has a great view of Dent Island. I spent a few afternoons and nights sitting along the beach watching the stars and enjoying the gentle water lap on the shore."
...on a return visit
"I would definitely do something I’ve never done before, like parasailing. I’ve seen people parasail past Catseye Beach and qualia and I’ve always wanted to try it!" says Pauly.
Describe the destination in three words
"Australian Holiday Paradise."