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At Sunset, Sip on Cocktails on The Helipad at qualia Great Barrier Reef

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  Site Where: Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia
May 15, 2014 at 10:04 AM | by | ()

Once you’ve made it past the gates at Hamilton Island’s qualia, there is lots to explore, but one of the first things we did was head down to the helipad. While we arrived at the hotel through more traditional means (i.e. a transfer from the island’s cute airport), you’ll find this more high-flying option at the water’s edge, also used for helicopter trips to nearby sights like stunning Whitehaven Beach.

Its vantage point means the grassy circle lends itself perfectly for sunset cocktails: chilled glass in hand, you can watch the sun paint the sky with color as it sinks rapidly into the horizon at the end of the afternoon (and sink rapidly it does, given the relative proximity to the Equator).

It’s a beautiful spot, and if you’re lucky you not only get to watch the sunset while enjoying a drink, but have a close encounter with one of Australia’s most famous – and notoriously sleepy – animals: the koala, made possible by the island’s wildlife park.

Once the sun has set, the pure darkness outside contrasts with the atmospheric lighting in the Long Pavilion, qualia’s main building and home to a variety of lounge areas to sit, read, or simply gaze outside, as well as the resort’s main restaurant.

A narrow pool stretches alongside the building, with torches flickering against the night sky. The Long Pavilion restaurant is to your left as you walk in; we ate a deconstructed scampi ceviche here that came in a glass jar with lid (not unlike a jar of preserves) and pretty much changed our life. The menu has a number of options depending on what you’re in the mood for: a full-on tasting menu, ‘regular’ courses, or a series of small dishes that allow you to sample different flavors.

A small number of tables for two are set outside on the deck, taking full advantage of the Long Pavilion being at the highest point of the resort.

The setting isn’t any less appealing during the day, with just on the other side of the patch of grass a number of deck chairs – though we didn’t see anyone using this particular pool during our stay.

Most guests venture down the hill to Pebble Beach, where you’ll find a casual beach-side restaurant, the gym, activity center (think sailing, paddle boarding, etc.), and the main pool.

Even at full occupancy (there are 60 pavilions), we can’t imagine it would ever get really busy here, between the size of the pool and the various seating options: deck chairs on the sandy (elevated) beach, alongside the pool, or in the cabanas set a little further back.

Next up, we’ll complete our tour of qualia with a look inside one of its stand-alone pavilions.

[Photos: JasonD for HotelChatter]

Disclosure: JasonD traveled to Hamilton Island on his own dime but visited qualia as a guest of the resort and all photos and opinions are his own.

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