We asked Dan Churchill, MasterChef alumnus, Surfing the Menu host and peripatetic chef-for-hire, to tell us the five things that really gave him holiday feels last time he was in Hamilton Island. 

Dan Churchill

 The island vibe

“It’s just a quick flight off the mainland but as soon as I landed I felt immediately transported to a faraway paradise – like Fiji or the Caribbean,” says Dan. “Everyone from the staff to the holidaymakers are all smiles – the place has this fun, happy spirit. I think it’s a combination of the crystal-clear water, the view of the neighbouring islands and the prospect of days chilling by the pool, nights with great food and wine and wearing free-flowing holiday clothing!”

Cocktails at One Tree Hill

“At the peak of Whitsunday Boulevard, One Tree Hill is a lookout that offers the best view of the sunset on the island. People gather for cocktails at dusk to watch the sky turn vivid shades of orange. It’s the kind of place you think about when you’re sitting at your desk at work dreaming of a holiday. With 270-degree views, One Tree Hill is a must – you don’t have to do anything but sit, breathe, sip and smile.”

Waking up at Qualia

“All the resorts on the island are fantastic,” says Dan, “but I can tell you firsthand that Qualia is phenomenal. Each morning I awoke to sunshine, water and peace – and that’s before I even got out of bed. As a chef with a health and fitness background, I was impressed to see both the kitchen and the gym had water views. I don’t think I’ve ever been punching a boxing bag and watching yachts sailing by at the same time. The staff, the incredible villas, the beautiful pool deck… Qualia is a perfect escape.”

Golf buggies

“This is definitely all about the inner-child. To get around the island, guests receive the keys to their own golf buggy. And sure, with a fixed speed, the buggies are never going to let you drive like Danny Ricciardo, but they sure are a fun perk of island life.”

The proximity

“I love the fact that we have a tropical destination in our own backyard instead of having to plan for an overseas trip. It’s even close enough for east coasters to throw together some carry-on luggage and head away for the weekend. There’s no need to plan, just get on that plane and go – just tell yourself: ‘Dan told me to.’”

SEE ALSO: 14 Things to do on Hamilton Island

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