Dedicated to all things luxurious, Hayman Island is the northernmost of the main Whitsundays chain and has undergone extensive recent renovations as well as considerable commercial investment to now offer exquisite, modern facilities that put it on par with other high-budget getaway spots overseas.
Few expenses have been spared in Hayman’s enhancements which came after the island was hit hard by Cyclone Yasi back in 2011, and now the island boasts a range of top-notch accommodations, beauty spas and more that augment its inherent beauty incredibly well.
The island’s impressive resort complex is oriented around upper-end accommodation – think penthouses, villas and other luxurious offerings – and as a result it’s become a veritable Mecca for honeymooners and those wanting to hold their weddings in a pristine island environment without the hassle of travelling abroad.
The island itself is relatively small at only 4 kilometres long, with a structure that’s quite mountainous and hilly, which can be both a blessing and a curse – it makes traversing to scenic parts of Hayman more tiring, but the resulting reward is some outstanding views of the impressive island surrounds.
Hayman has four major lookouts that require only a relatively small amount of walking to reach, with the 250m-high Cook Lookout the tallest of these which offers great views out to neighbouring Hook Island and beyond. The majority of these walking areas on Hayman Island involve trekking through dense eucalypt forest, and there’s an extensive number of bushwalks available for those who are more focused on the exploratory side of their holiday.
Activity-wise, Hayman has a balanced but not overwhelming amount of things to do; as it’s a resort that’s generally focused more on the relaxation and pampering side of the holiday spectrum, the majority of the focus is given to the likes of spa and beauty treatments, poolside drinking and dining, and generally soaking up the exclusive atmosphere.
Snorkelling off one of the island’s beaches on the south side is relatively good; enough that all but the fussiest of snorkellers should be able to come away with some decent marine views without having to travel further afield on a trip to the Outer Reef although they remain an option. These extended reef tours offer more advanced diving and snorkelling opportunities for an obvious extra cost, while scenic seaplane and helicopter tours are also available for some amazing views from the air.
Kids are also very well catered for here with a number of child-oriented programs in place to keep them occupied both in and out of the water, while there’s also a kids club that has a babysitting service available (for an extra fee). This comes in addition to the two excellent pool areas that both kids and adults can enjoy that are both exceptionally well done; the investment in the resort’s upgrades really shine here, with its Aquazure restaurant being an integral part of the poolside scene.
There are a range of other bars and restaurants on the island too which offer some quite outstanding dishes covering a variety of cuisines including Asian, Italian, modern Australian and more, although you’ll definitely pay for the privilege of dining within.
When it comes to luxury the Whitsundays is a renowned go-to destination, and there are few islands in the region that better exemplify this upmarket, deluxe-island-paradise-style iconography quite as well as the Cumberland group’s Hayman.
In terms of facilities, being a self-contained resort Hayman Island has only the bare, commercialised necessities; there are several high-end boutique mens’ and womens’ clothing stores, a gift shop selling basic souvenir-style goods, and a chemist for medical essentials, but no main place to buy food or snacks. The resort itself is thus the main highlight, and it’s a large complex that is spread out into two separate major “wings”, with the restaurants clustered towards the middle. Both of its pool areas are fully serviced, and its gardens are amazing and represent some expert planning and craftsmanship.
Access to Hayman Island is obtained via boat transfer, helicopter charter or seaplane and has to be prearranged prior to arrival. These transfers are typically conducted from central hub Hamilton Island with its airport being where you’ll fly into initially; as a result, many choose to combine stays on both Hamilton and Hayman into a split-stay which provides a solid balance and variety between activities and relaxation.
In the end, what you get out of a stay on Hayman Island will depend largely on two main factors – how deep your pockets are, and how concerned you are with enjoying a resort-style experience that remains largely on-island. If you’re willing to open your wallet, Hayman Island is one of Australia’s most indulgent spots and a worthy standard bearer for luxury travel in our country.