Island idyll

The on-water action at Hamilton Island Race Week shared the limelight with the fashion and frivolity of myriad onshore events dedicated to epicurean delights.


Photography by Kara Rosenlund/Ken Butti/Salty Dingo

Hamilton Island Race Week drew over 2,000 sailors on board 234 boats for one Australia’s premier keelboat regattas.

Perhaps more impressive than the near-record fleet of vessels at this year’s Hamilton Island Race week, the social scene was awash with a diverse array of events set against idyllic azure backdrops – both natural and man-made.

It’s spring in the tropics, a welcome respite from the chill of southern climes. Bougainvillea in bloom and budding jasmine and frangipani were nature’s props, musicians enhanced the ambience and culinary concoctions complemented by curated wines sated every palate.

Along with the best of the manic and marvellous regatta moments, the winners, spectator craft and occasional special visitor in the form of majestic marine life, we’ve selected the best of the soirees, suppers and tasting sessions.

Enjoy the highlights of the exquisite festival of sailing and celebration of la dolce vita that is Hamilton Island Race Week.

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The Rolex Opening Dinner (above)

Celebrating locally sourced produce and culinary leaders – including Lennox Hastie (Firedoor) – who set the highest standards of craftsmanship and precision, using traditional methods to create the finest products.

Robert Oatley Wine Dinner (below)

Guests sampled the Oatley family’s best drops with Sandy Oatley and Darren Jan at Bommie restaurant. Guests were led through a fascinating journey through their Western and South Australian vineyards, featuring their highest scoring wines from Australia’s leading critic, James Halliday, paired with four courses prepared by the restaurant’s resident chef, Trent Dawson.

Charles Heidsieck Champagne Lunch

Lay Day done well! Guests gathered at qualia, overlooking the Whitsunday Islands at the Charles Heidsieck Champagne Lunch. Starting at Pebble Beach before moving to an elegant long lunch at Long Pavilion, the afternoon featured a delectable menu designed to pair perfectly with Charles Heidsieck Champagne.

Dinner with Peter Gilmore, Quay Restaurant, presented by Travel Associates

The experience consisted of fine dining created by Australia’s most celebrated chefs, Peter Gilmore, owner of Quay and more recently Bennelong in Sydney. Peter started proceedings with his signature Cured & Cultured Bar, followed by a two-course dinner in qualia’s stunning Long Pavilion, with live modern jazz entertainment adding to the festive mood.

Wild Oats Wines Ladies Lunch

Comedian and best-selling author Magda Szubanski was guest speaker at the Wild Oats Wines Ladies Lunch at coca chu. That evening, revered chef Peter Gilmore (of Sydney’s three-hatted Quay and two-hated Bennelong), brings his fine-dining touch to qualia.

Paspaley White Lunch

This annual Paspaley event showcases the natural beauty of the brand’s pearls, the Kimberley and the design inspiration behind their Signature Collections.

This year, guests enjoyed an exclusive preview of our newest collection, Monsoon launching this October. Vogue Australia’s Editor-in-chief Edwina McCann introduced the new collection with Paspaley Creative Director Christine Salter.

The long Luncheon started with champagne and canapes by the pool followed by a delicious three-course menu created by qualia Executive Chef Mark Jenson.

Surf and Turf Dinner

Thursday’s event, ever-popular with sailing competitors, is the more informal Surf and Turf Dinner on the Outrigger Lawn overlooking Catseye Beach.

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