By Michelle Karaman-Jones
Glorious weather, mesmerising white sandy beaches and amazing fine food are at the edge of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef – the world-famous Whitsunday Islands.
I have visited many fascinating places around the world and travelled to many Australian regions but this trip to some of the best coral reef islands on the planet was an immense delight.
Following the success of Hamilton Island’s introductory “Ultimate Instameet” last November, Australia’s premier island destination held its second Instameet last month, and I was there with more than 40 passionate Instagram photo-sharing network users.
This is the place where you can be free to use your latest smartphones to your heart’s content and not be considered rude.
Being an amateur photographer, I always had a passionate interest in photos which captured beautiful natural settings, such as amazing sunsets, and leaving me to dream and wish to be there one day.
So, as a travel writer, I was thrilled to be among the group of Instagram users who came from Britain, China and Australia.
Among the Instagram users were food photographers such as MasterChef contestant Billy Law, model and TV presenter Rebecca Judd, world swimming champion Michael Klim with his wife Lindy, comedian and radio announcer Scott ‘‘Dools’’ Dooley, actress and model Samara Weaving, designer Luisa Brimble and Chinese model Li Yahong.
These celebrities came to promote Hamilton Island by posting pictures of the Instameet weekend – Great Barrier Reef on Instagram. Also amongst us were the competition winners who entered with their superb photos; Creative designer Matt Glastonbury with his lovely wife Mia from Tasmania, and tradesman Pauly Vella from Hills district of Sydney.
Hamilton Island is a perfectly suitable location for family holidays as the Great Barrier Reef has so much to offer — from swimming and water sports to getting close to wildlife to enjoying gorgeous, secluded sandy beaches.
There is so much to do or you can do nothing; just relax and enjoy amazing days and sunsets.
Never a shortage of food in Hamilton Island. There were more food I can ever imagined – specially seafood. All fresh and local and that what made it special and taste great.
The Whitsundays is home to what many people regard as one of the top 10 beaches in the world – Whitehaven beach, a 30-minute, high-speed catamaran ride from Hamilton Island or 10 minutes by seaplane. You can take a ferry ride from Hamilton Island to Chalkies beach or visit Hamilton Island Golf Club, only a 10-minute ferry ride from Hamilton Island Marina.
HOW TO GET THERE
Virgin Australia and Jetstar fly Sydney direct to Hamilton Island daily, in just a little over two hours.
WHERE TO STAY
There are choices for all tastes and budgets, from the 3.5-star newly renovated Palm Bungalows to the luxury resort Qualia.
Accommodation: Palm Bungalows, Reef View Hotel, Beach Club, Yacht Club Villas (sleeps up to eight adults) or Qualia.
To see the Instameet images, search for Instagram #return2paradise and #hamiltonisland, and follow @hamiltonisland on Instagram.
The writer was a guest of Hamilton Island
Images By Michelle Karaman-Jones