International recording artist, Ronan Keating, who was once the lead singer for the Irish band Boyzone and most recently a judge on X Factor Australia, sat down with Nick McGrath to chat about one of his favourite places in Australia: Hamilton Island.
From his preferred bar to the first thing he does upon arrival, Ronan shared his favourite aspects of Queensland's island paradise.
Why Hamilton Island?
Located right on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island is simply stunning. It’s the perfect destination for couples, families or even groups of friends because there’s something for everyone. Kids have the best time with so much to see and do, and for couples, there are some great restaurants and vantage points to see beautiful sunsets.
Anything special I should pack?
The island has its own little community with various shops and anything you might need is at your fingertips. It makes for a very stress-free getaway, especially if you have kids.
What do you miss most when you are away?
The relaxed vibe. As soon as you land, the whole island feels like your home. Everything’s so easy - it’s totally relaxing and beautiful, so I definitely miss that.
What’s the first thing you do when you arrive?
Throw on swimming gear and get in the water. It’s a great way to unwind into your holiday straight away. There’s warm weather year-round on Hamilton Island.
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Where is the best place to stay?
If you’re looking for a very special romantic getaway, you can’t go past the qualia resort on the northern tip of the island. It’s one of the finest resorts in the world. It’s so beautiful and your every need is taken care of by a very intuitive staff.
For families or groups looking for a luxury option, the Hamilton Island Yacht Club Villas offers a lot of space, with four bedrooms and bathrooms spread over three floors in each villa.
Where would you meet friends for a drink?
One Tree Hill, one of the highest points on the island, for a drink at sunset. Every afternoon a makeshift bar is set up there so you can have a drink on the hillside watching the sunset. It’s magical.
The Bommie Deck at Hamilton Island Yacht Club is another good place for a drink, with excellent coffee and great cocktails. It overlooks the marina and the Dent Passage and you can relax, watching the waterway buzzing with boats, jetskis and yachts.
Where is the best place for lunch?
The Pebble Beach at qualia for a lazy lunch by the water. You can easily spend a good few hours at the open-air restaurant, enjoying the light, fresh meals they serve.
The Club House at the Hamilton Island Golf Club is another good spot. It’s set on a hill offering incredible views over the Whitsunday Islands and really delicious food. A tour of the golf course is also a great experience.
For something more casual, along Front Street there’s a range of places to eat, including Manta Ray Café which has great pizza and salads.
And for dinner?
Coca chu, one of the island’s newest restaurants. Set right on the beach with great views over the water, it offers south-east Asian cuisine with incredible flavours, textures and a great range of dishes that kids will enjoy as much as the adults. There’s also a great seafood restaurant called Mariner’s.
Where would you send a first-time visitor?
I’d send them on a trip to Whitehaven Beach via seaplane, which is incredible. I have never seen anything like it in the world, and would absolutely recommend it to everyone visiting.
The beach is a stretch of the whitest sand you’ve ever seen against the bluest water. You can also get there by boat which is a 40-minute ride. I’d also definitely recommend a visit to the island’s Wild Life park for a cuddle with the koalas! They’re adorable.
What should I avoid?
Don’t book too short a stay! We’ve always left the island wanting more time, so make sure you don’t cut your time too short.
Public transport or taxi?
Most transport on the island is by electrically-powered golf buggies which are really easy to get around in and more environmentally-friendly than cars.
Handbag or moneybelt?
Neither. Maybe a beach bag or even just your wallet. You certainly don’t need to worry about safety or pick-pockets. You can also have most meals and drinks at restaurants and bars be charged to your room.
What should I take home?
Great memories. Hamilton Island is unlike anywhere else I’ve been before.
Anywhere that isn’t your kind of town?
I haven’t yet experienced anywhere that I can’t enjoy. It’s all about what you make of it.
This article was written by Interview by Nick McGrath from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.