We’ve always said that a visit to Australia makes up lots of holidays, not just one, and my recent trip proved our philosophy again.

You couldn’t get anything more different than a Barrier Reef Island (with sea, snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing) and a World Heritage Wilderness Island (with wildlife, walking trails, wallabies and weather beaten rock formations)

I watched excitedly as the Whitsunday Islands appeared through the window of my Jetstar flight, as green lush jewels in a sea of blue. Made up of about 74 islands, only 7 are inhabited, and I was looking forward to visiting two of them.

First it was Hamilton – a lovely, quite large Island that will suit everyone, couples, families and honeymooners because of the huge choice of activities, from horse riding to sailing, archery and golf!

I stayed at the Reef View Hotel, the island’s only “high rise” but it compensates with some stunning views out to sea. This Hotel and Beach Club is ideal for families, but if you want something more exclusive, the Qualia Luxury Resort and Yacht Club Villas are just gorgeous! Getting around Hamilton is fun too; you just whiz around in free golf buggies!

The marina is lovely and you’ll be spoilt for choice with the array of restaurants, bars, shops, and a delicious ice cream parlour – perfect place to ‘chill’!
And for breakfast? Well, its got to be with the Koalas in the wildlife park! And if you go to Hamilton Island, then I must absolutely insist that you follow my footsteps (or my flipper-steps!) on the ‘Fantasea’ catamaran to Whitehaven Beach.

This is THE poster you see everywhere, crystal clear water, and a beach of white silicon sand swirls, just like talcum powder.

Very different to Hamilton, is Hayman Island. Luxurious, exclusive, expensive and a  yen for the ‘good life’, sums up Hayman.
The sophisticated transfer by luxury yacht was broken as we jumped for joy to see a humpback whale in the near distance!

Hayman Island is a luxurious “private island escape”. The suites and penthouses have butler service, and the rooms are built around the pool in a “swim out” design – all set in tropical gardens. The fine dining was a special treat, as the Chef and Sommelier presented their choices to us. Even the trip to the reef for snorkelling was a “fine dining” experience, a 6 course packed lunch and champagne!

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After all this good food and wine I was ready for some exercise and adventure – and so I flew south to Adelaide. Adelaide’s most famous celebrity is the cricketer Donald Bradman, and his statue and his triumphs are the pride of the Adelaide Oval. Adelaide is a lovely city, the city streets and squares are spacious. There is good shopping, eateries and nightlife, as well as lovely walks along the river.

The “seaside” of Adelaide is Glenelg, only 20 minutes from the city by tram. A very pretty and traditional seaside town with shops, a town market and restaurants and lots of beach facilities – a perfect day out.

But Kangaroo Island must be top of everyone’s list on a trip to Adelaide. The saying goes that when you visit Kangaroo Island you should turn your watch back 25 years, and it’s true! The island’s wilderness is unspoilt, and so the wildlife is natural and abundant. You can visit for a day, or stay a few days – there are hotels, flats, and B&Bs to suit all budgets.

Most tours follow the same route to Flinders Chase, Koala Avenue, and the Remarkable Rocks. All great fun, and totally interesting and absorbing. But my favourite was Seal Bay – I could have stayed for hours watching the seals with their pups.

It’s well worth taking a couple of days “out” in your holiday itinerary to deviate from your route in Queensland or South Australia to see some of the secret hideaways that may not be in all the brochures.

I would love to tell you more about my island experiences, from the warm sun and azure blue seas of Hamilton to the unique unspoiled World Heritage beauty of Kangaroo Island

If you’d like to know more email me: gill@hallmarktravel.com

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