Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island of the 74 Whitsunday islands, lying off the Queensland coast, and a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Former Olympic sailor Glenn Bourke, the island’s CEO, chats to The Superyacht Owner to explain why it should be on every owner’s bucket list.

How accessible is Hamilton Island?
Hamilton Island is the only one of the Whitsundays with its own airport. There are daily direct flights from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. Private jets are also catered to – we can accommodate at least half a dozen at any one time. It’s not on the migratory circuit for owners so you need to be adventurous but it’s well worth it.

What is on offer for those who wish to stay on the island?
We have an 18-hole Links golf course designed by Peter Thompson, a luxury spa, watersports, and lots of pools. We also have a world-class boutique resort in qualia on the northern-most tip of the island with 60 private pavilions looking onto the Coral Sea. There are 13 different restaurants including qualia’s Long Pavilion, which is absolutely beautiful.  

Have you seen an increase in the number of yachts visiting the island since charter rules have been loosed in Australia?
Yes. We lobbied hard for it with the government, we thought the rules were too prescriptive and onerous for superyachts. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park is also granting greater access. They used to have setting zones which made boats over 35m moor away from some of the best spots. Those are being eliminated now – they have realised that superyachts are low impact.

Tell us about the island’s Yacht Club.
The club itself is relatively new, it was commissioned in the last five years, It’s an iconic design masterpiece and we have a beautiful restaurant there. There are a number of berths that can accommodate superyachts and we’ve just extended one of the marina arms at the yacht club for boats up to 40 metres. We have a concierge service so superyachts can come in and have our staff attend to their needs. Many yachts berth off qualia, too.

See the full story in issue 21, out soon