G'day Hamilton Island.

So back to Australia (if you missed it, read all about the Melbourne leg). After a great start in Melbourne off we flew to Hamilton Island. This was the one stop we were most unsure about. I waffled back and forth between going to Kangaroo Island for the wildlife or somewhere near the Great Barrier Reef for the snorkeling. In the end it seemed crazy to go to Australia and not see the Great Barrier Reef so we narrowed it down to this little spot of land in the Coral Sea.

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I have to say that if I forget about the expense of everything (sorry to harp on about it but as if Australia isn't generally expensive enough, HI takes it to a whole new level as its a tiny island that clearly prices everying with its remote destination and exclusivity in mind), Hamilton Island is a version of paradise. Gorgeous views from every vantage point, wild cockatoos flying everywhere, warm breezes, the whole thing.

Australia Reef Shark Glimpse

As we were waiting for our room to be ready, Mr. Limestone spotted a sandshark swimming REALLY close to shore on the beach. Naturally my camera was not ready and I only got a snap of the very top of its fin as it sunk in the water and was never glimpsed again. But that was an interesting welcoming party.

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There also happens to be a small wildlife sanctuary on the island that I just loved. Mostly because they not only have koalas to cuddle with ( er, take an awkward photo with but lets just say that counts as cuddling, ok?) but they also have a baby koala that had me transfixed. So much so that I came not once but twice to soak in the cuteness.

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But we didn't come for the koalas or the warm weather, now did we? We came to see the star attraction, the Great Barrier Reef. We went all out that day for the helicoper ride over the reef to start the day. Then it was on to the snorkeling.

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After being shown into stinger suits (which are essentially sausage casings that would easily win the award for the worlds most unflattering outfit) we were off to see what the reef had to offer. We took an underwater camera but its a lot harder to snap photos while being jossled by the ocean than I planned.

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Between seeing that shark and reading about the stingers and other nasties, I was a bit worried going in but it turned out to be so much fun. I was a little surprised to see only smallish fish (except for the giant potato cod). I expected the GBR to be teeming with sea life. So perhaps this particular spot wasn't that busy? But the coral itself was beautiful - the pictures do not do it justice. In other words, an experience I'll never forget.

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Back to the heli for the ride home and the amazing views of the reef. The photos just don't do it justice as its all incredibly beautiful. The most perfect blues and greens you've ever seen.

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On our final day we took a boat trip to two nearby beaches. First stop was Tongue bay - a little rocky outcrop with a hiking trail to get a gorgeous view of the area from up high. And the last was easily the most pristine beach I've ever had the pleasure of seeing, Whitehaven. Just pure white sand met with crystal blue calm water. Sadly we had to don the stinger suits again but other than that, it was perfection.

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After three wonderful days here, it was time to get back on a plane for our last leg of this trip, Sydney. More on that in another post.


  1. I know you had so much fun.
    I dont do large bodies of water, but this looks so amazing.

    Rashon aka Mr. Goodwill Hunting

  2. christine {bijouandboheme}8:53 AM

    Oh my goodness, these photos are AMAZING!!! Thanks for sharing:)

  3. Wow that is gorgeous. How fun and bet you are glad you ventured to the reef!

  4. Stunning images Stefanie.

  5. Megan {Honey We're Home}12:19 PM

    I think you can rest assured that the barrier reef was a great choice. Such beauty to behold and photograph. The baby koala is soooo stinking cute. And I didn't realize Mr. Limestone was Luke. It was like he was Mr. Big to me all these years and now has a name! :)

  6. your photos are incredible! You've got me longing for a vacation and some koala cuddling :)

  7. julie6:42 PM

    Glad you liked our fair country (and yes, it is expensive for us too). My husband and I were married on nearby Daydream Island and love to travel back to the Whitsundays whenever we can.

    A tip - if you go to North Queensland in winter (or from April/May to Sept/October) you don't need to wear the sausage suits. The stinger season is just through the warmer months, and the winter in North Qld is really not cold at all. Probably like Spring for most.

  8. Love your travels!!! You are such an inspiration--that Koala bear is too cute!!

  9. Jennaleelac8:34 AM

    Wow! These pics make me really want to go on vacation. Truly magical! Except the whole shark thing.. yikes!


  10. laura @ the shorehousechic11:53 PM

    Amazing! I am officially jealous.


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