By Greg Allen Pretty
I’m a person of routine so as the days of my Hamilton Island visit went on, I had settled into a pattern of breakfast at a cafe near my apartments, just a five minute walk away, back home for some reading – I had taken three books with me – and then a trip into town or other parts of the island.
I like to fly, but I equally love to observe the aerodynamics at work of planes taking off and landing. I’m not terribly fit but I discovered a walking track to the airport that was quite doable for me. Most of HI’s air traffic comes and goes in a three hour period in the middle of the day so I went to watch. That day, passengers were coming from, and going to, places like Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, thanks to Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar. Hundreds of people come through those gates every day. Coupled with others who arrive by boat, it all adds up to a very popular tourist spot.
In my daily routine, I would return to my apartment sometime during the afternoon to read some more, nap or sit outside and talk to other visitors. I sometimes returned to the village for dinner, or eat something bought from the island’s only supermarket.
It was a well-stocked IGA, full of fresh food items from the daily mainland barge. They wouldn’t win a price war but they had no competition. Like in all shops and restaurants on this tourist island, the staff was very friendly and helpful. Hospitality is king here.
I was a little sad when my final day arrived. I had a couple of hours to kill before catching the airport shuttle so I made one final visit to the town and marina.
Racing competitors and officials hadn’t yet set out so it was a busy place. Cafes and the bakery were doing a brisk trade. An hour later there would be a lull before the lunch crowd moved in.
I took my last opportunity to feel the warm sun before flying to Melbourne which apparently was experiencing the cold, wet and windy impacts of a cold front. It was quite breezy that morning on HI too, which kept the temperature to a comfortable level for this southerner, who had now packed his shorts and was wearing trousers ready for Melbourne.
A reminder of home greeted me at the HI airport, as I was checked onto my Qantas flight by a very friendly and efficient Jami, the sister and daughter of friends of mine, Josh and Karen Cashman. With a long queue behind me I didn’t chat for long – just enough to learn that she loves living and working up there. Her cheery disposition confirmed that HI life was good for her.
I left Hamilton Island wondering if I shouldn’t make this an annual holiday. It certainly has attractions and events all year round, like the HI Triathlon, Carols by Candlelight, PGA golf tournaments, a NYE street party, and a Hilly Half Marathon. I am equally as tempted though to visit one of its Whitsunday neighbours, like Daydream or Hayman Islands with their recently refurbished and reopened resort areas.
Wherever it is though, I have learned the value of “getting away from it all” to break one’s regular routine, soak in the Vitamin D, switch off the media and technology, and let nature restore and reinvigorate this body.
It was just the kind of reboot I needed before returning to work and the daily humdrum after two months of leave.