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Hayman Island Resort, Australia

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Hayman Island Resort, Australia

Hayman Island contains a private world of luxury.

© Hayman.

Arriving at Hayman:

The Hayman private-island experience begins when guests board a helicopter, seaplane, or one of the luxury yachts sent to collect them at Hamilton Island’s airport dock.

On the 50-minute yacht ride, passengers cruise aquamarine waters past the green-hued northern Whitsunday Islands. Although mesmerizing, they are merely a preview of natural wonders to come.

Travelers have sought escape and adventure in these waters since they were first charted in 1770. Hayman luxury nature resort's 726 acres — with white sand beaches, a botanical garden, one of the largest swimming pools in the South Pacific, spa, gym, hiking trails, seven restaurants and water sports galore — provide both in style.

Guest Rooms, Suites, and Villas at Hayman:

Accommodations, all with stunning views of the Coral Sea, are designed to blend in with the environment.

The Lagoon Wing’s rooms and sprawling suites overlook a tranquil lagoon, the Lagoon pool, and tropical gardens. Gentle tropical breezes and calls of kookaburras, rainbow lorikeets, and cockatoos surround this wing. From the balconies, the resort’s resident swan couple, Elizabeth and Barry, can be seen most days and evenings playing out their own long-term romance.

Beach Villas for two occupants are the ultimate in luxury. Each has a private plunge pool flanked by a day bed and an outdoor shower. The pool separates the bedroom from the bath and changing area, which has double sinks and large island tub. Electronic entertainment includes an Apple TV with cable and movie channels and a Bose SoundDock.

Dining at Hayman:

There are a dozen culinary choices on the property, including seven restaurants. Azure, overlooking Hayman Beach, serves a generous buffet breakfast. Eggs, meats and muffins abound. The more health-conscious consume cereals, yogurts, and fruits. On selected evenings, Azure hosts the Hayman Grill, where guests feast on fresh Morton Bay "bugs" (slipper lobster), king prawns, rock lobster, blue swimmer crabs, mussels, and oysters.

Oriental restaurant, set within lush, tropical gardens, fuses Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian cuisines. Dinner can be served indoors, but the ceremonial teahouse is perfect for a more private dinner amidst rock pools and waterfalls. Crispy duck leg and exotic herb salad with lime and palm sugar dressing and the chocolate, chili and macadamia bombe are among the delicacies available to spin around on the Lazy Susan centerpiece.

The more formal Fontaine, with indoor as well as outdoor dining, features contemporary Australian cuisine inspired by locally sourced produce. We recommend the wild harvest scallops in a garlic emulsion.

Hayman Gourmet prepares picnic hampers to be opened on an island escapade as well as romantic dining in a private cabana. Lunches, snacks, and beverages, including one heck of a juicy hamburger, are available at the pool bar throughout the day.

Destination Weddings at Hayman:

Hayman’s weddings team offers romantic wedding package options that can be tailored to individual wishes. The team will coordinate everything: location setup, transportation, officiant, bouquets, photos, menus, and beauty and spa packages for bride and groom.

Ceremony location venues vary from simple and intimate to more formal and elaborate. A private tour will help couples know their options. Couples may choose from among beach, tropical garden, and traditional settings. Indoors, the Stella Maris Chapel nestled in the island’s hills is ideal for couples who want to keep their ceremony out of the sun. Outdoors, Hayman and Coconut beaches, as well as the formal garden, eastern lawn, and coconut grove, offer views of the Whitsunday Passage and the Milky Way. Secluded off-island locations are available at Langford Island and Whitehaven Beach.

Six of Hayman’s restaurants can host receptions. Outdoor dining venues and specially designed menus must be arranged in advance.

Recent bride Stephanie Whitelock said of her Hayman wedding, “The whole experience of being married on Hayman Island could not have been more relaxed. Our wedding organizer coordinated the entire thing to our exact specifications via phone and email and all we had to do was turn up at the specified time… It didn’t feel like a business deal and was very personally and sensitively designed.”

Honeymoons/Romance Packages at Hayman:

Hayman's romantic escape package includes a chocolate plate from the Hayman Chocolate Room (yes, there’s an entire room devoted to chocolate) and a bottle of Champagne on arrival. A candlelit dinner is served in one of the resort cabanas, along with a bottle of wine. An hourlong couples massage sets the mood for seduction.

Activities at Hayman:

Three pools are surrounded by ample room to lounge, and tented poolside cabanas create even more privacy. Pride of the South Pacific, the main pool is seven times Olympic size. Filled with saltwater, it rambles and meanders irregularly, with footbridges providing paths over it. There are two smaller freshwater pools as well.

Hayman Spa's Couples Aromatic Cocoon involves tandem exfoliations, rinses, body wraps and massages. A unique delight is the Ocean Massage, which is only available when the tides allow for it. It begins 90 minutes before high tide. By the end, the tide has come in, and the recipients have been lulled into a state of total relaxation amidst the gentle lapping of the Coral Sea.

Onsite activities include tennis, squash, basketball, and golf. Hiking trails weave through dense rainforest, rocky inlets, and secluded sand beaches. There's also a gym.

Offsite Adventures:

Great Barrier Reef Adventures' diving, snorkeling and sightseeing packages deliver participants to the world’s largest reef system, actually viewable from outer space. Selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981 and labeled one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Great Barrier Reef's intensity of blues, greens and corals is surprising from the air above but astonishing when viewed below the surface.

Air Whitsunday’s seaplane adventure tours provide close-up aerial views over miles of reef. The pilot swoops down so close that passengers see the tiny ripples skimming the tops of the reefs.

One tour transfers guests to a semi-submersible vessel, which is a snorkeling base. Those who prefer not to snorkel can catch reef action through glass panes in the boat’s bottom. Either way, fish of every conceivable color can be observed in their natural habitat. A picnic on Whitehaven Beach, which boasts some of the softest silica sand in the world, is also a delight.

All activities are available year-round, although the water is a bit cooler, but still swimmable, in winter (June, July, August).

Drawbacks at Hayman:

In addition to being a romantic getaway, Hayman has a long-standing history as a family resort, so it is not childfree. Although the resort’s vastness ensures plenty of room for everyone, couples who prefer a lower kid-to-adult ratio are advised to contact the resort and ask about school vacation schedules and anticipated periods when child occupancy is minimal.

Wi-fi is spotty at best. Keep in mind this is an island in the middle of the Coral Sea, and towers are scarce. This may be part of a much grander, universal plan to force workaholic, vacation-challenged maniacs to do what they cannot do for themselves – disconnect and chill.

Finally, there’s the risk of depression: No one leaves Hayman willingly. Sometimes it seems staff will have to pry guests out of their suites or scoop them in giant nets from their private plunge pools. Management aims to ease re-entry on the return yacht transfer back to the real world, but leaving Hayman is sad.

Hayman Vibe:

Hayman’s paradise is inhabited by brides and grooms, honeymooners, couples, families, and sports enthusiasts of all ages as well as those who just want to veg out.

An intimate wedding can be taking place in one part of the island while a seaplane departs for a Great Barrier Reef adventure from another and hikers traverse the botanical gardens in yet another. Of course, there are always loungers at the beaches and pools. Whatever the chosen activity — or inactivity — the vibe is one of laid-back luxury amidst some of the Earth’s natural wonders.

Hayman Info and Reservations:

Hayman
Great Barrier Reef
Queensland 4801 Australia
Phone: +61 7 4940-1838
Official Hotel Website

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Find fares to:
Hamilton Island/Great Barrier Reef Airport
Or Sydney | Melbourne | Brisbane

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodations and meals for the purpose of reviewing those services. In addition, she received complimentary transportation from Qantas. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy .

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