20 Whitsunday Boulevard

Islands trace the Great Barrier Reef up the northeastern coast of Australia, clustering in the clear blue waters known as the Whitsundays. There, nestled on Hamilton Island, Qualia has set a new standard for Australian tourism—and resorts worldwide. What is magical about Qualia, however, is not just the champagne on arrival, or the fact that some rooms have their own plunge pools. The winning feature here is how perfectly the resort fits into the natural beauty of the island, almost disappearing into the eucalyptus trees of the surrounding rain forest. Understated and sophisticated, Qualia fosters a sensitive connection to the environment, allowing guests to experience Australia without all the usual tourist fanfare.

Rooms look through natural bushland out to the water and surrounding islands, where dolphins are frequently spotted. They also come with their own electric golf carts, which guests can use to tour the entire island. In the epic Long Pavilion, floor-to-ceiling windows on the seaward side open to an infinity pool, while glass windows at the other end offer views of the resort’s bright tropical landscaping.

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Hotel Qualia: Australian Beach Paradise

“Two hours on a plane and I land in paradise,” says Peter Gilmore, chef at Sydney’s Quay. Guest pavilions at this over-the-top resort look out on the Coral Sea.

Qualia Resort

Have you been here? Tell us about it below!


Have you been here? Tell us about it below!


Along with hundreds of types of corals and more than a thousand fish species, the world-famous Great Barrier Reef includes some 1,000 islands. Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island, and the next stop on the Water Views itinerary. The crown jewel of Hamilton Island is qualia, among Australia’s most celebrated luxury lodges. Located at the northern tip of the island on 30 acres of landscaped grounds, qualia includes 60 individual pavilions as well as the Beach House, which includes its own 12-meter infinity pool and guest house. It’s the sort of resort where you may be tempted not to leave the grounds, or even your room, though you shouldn’t miss the sailing trips, sea kayaking, and snorkeling excursions that the resort will arrange. If you are ready to experience the best of Australian luxury, visit AFAR Journeys for more details of Betty Jo’s itinerary and other trips to the country.

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