Wellness Guide to Hamilton Island Posted by Reef Magazine - 3 September 2018 We've Come for Wellness By Tracey Withers. Five minutes on the island and we already feel like better people. It’s that balmy tropical vibe loosening the kinks, the fresh clear air filling our lungs. Hamilton Island is fast becoming the go-to destination for taking a wellness retreat. Maybe you’ve got a few days, perhaps a truly transformative week – it’s easy to customise a line-up of skin, body and soul treatments to hit your goals. We’re on island time now and we’re 100% spending it on ourselves. OPEN UP AND SAY SPA We’re not into punishment or deprivation diets. Wellness, island style, is all about nourishing ourselves with nature, pulling the plug on urban stress and, oh yes, deeply indulgent self- worship at the spa. Active wellness is almost unavoidable on the island. Out there: turquoise salty water, where we can float and find personal peace or push our limits on a kayak. On land: spectacular nature walks and tough trail runs through the untouched bush that covers most of the island. Massage time. Wellbeing is, of course, about the yin and the yang, so after feeling the burn (at least a bit), we check into Spa wumurdaylin to get some luxurious healing. Need to re-energise or relax? There’s reiki to channel life force into full flow, and massages range from deep release and aromatherapeutic to hot stone or those customised to pregnancy. The hands here are expert at easing out stress-tight muscles. “Our therapists are called in to do sports massage on competitors at all the sporting events that Hamilton Island hosts,” says spa manager Elle Fitzgerald. “If you’re here for one of the runs, marathons or ocean swims, book in early.” Our post-workout bodies are almost sobbing in grateful relief. Spa wumurdaylin’s Vichy Revival is the signature treatment and the stuff of island legend. “It really captures the essence of where we are,” says Fitzgerald. As you lie on a padded bath bed, hypnotically warm water cascades from seven jets that hover above. The pressure feels like a many-handed massage, boosting circulation, pushing botanical extracts from the body-exfoliation scrub deeper into your skin. With closed eyes, it’s rainforest heaven. Refresh and relax. “People often leave a spa experience until late in their holiday, for an indulgence,” says Fitzgerald. “But I think focusing on what your body needs, having that touch and nurturing, when you arrive really sets the speed and your intention for a wellness holiday.” Amen to that. GO DEEP At the high temple of bliss that is Spa qualia the target for wellbeing spans skin, mind, spirit and several internal organs. Simply watching the koi that glide below the water features inside the atrium is enough to send you into a meditative mind space. Inside the inner sanctum of luxurious treatment rooms, where glass doors open wide to outdoor showers, natural sunlight and swaying bamboo, transformation truly begins. Specialised wellness programmes here integrate holistic spa tactics with naturopathy. “There’s quite an extensive consultation – every element of the Spa qualia experience is bespoke,” explains spa manager Nicolette McCarthy. “Some people have sleep issues or digestive problems, while others have fitness goals they want to achieve. Our naturopath uses a variety of tools, from live blood analysis to iridology, pulse points and electrodes that measure the fluids on your body, to tailor supplements and a protocol to you.” Even if it starts on a minibreak, this is a long-term relationship. “There’s a lot of follow-up on naturopathy,” says McCarthy. “You’ll be sent home with a routine, advice and a supplement protocol to guide you onward, and there are phone consultations and a lot of email contact after you’re back at home.” Soaking in the view at Spa qualia. More touchy- and soul-feely treatments happen while you’re still inside the spa. Maybe you need digestive massage, or simply a certain detox herb in your body scrub. The must-experience: the Indigenous-inspired two-hour Kamali Ritual. We felt the stress exiting our very spirits as this earthy body scrub and Australian clay wrap drew the toxins from our skin. It’s out-of- body amazing. Next, a massage with a steamed herbal poultice of anti-inflammatory kaffir lime, antioxidant tamarind leaf, vitamin-rich quandong and kakadu plum, one of the most potent sources of vitamin C, to promote cell turnover and fresh collagen. “It’s the optimal treatment to include in a detox regime,” says McCarthy. Say no more. SALUTE THE SUNSHINE Yoga here is like yoga nowhere else on Earth. “You get so much more out of your practice when it’s not on the to-do list before or after work,” says Claire Waterson, island yoga master and Sports Club manager. Yes, there’s that – but also, when you do a Dent Island yoga class, you’re bending and stretching on a helipad with one of the most spectacular views in all the Whitsundays. “It’s so silent there, so mind- blowing in the clarity of morning,” she says. The boat leaves the Hamilton Island marina at 6am for the short float over to Dent – whether you’re a yogi or a first-timer, be on it at least once. (Guests at Reef View, Beach Club or Palm Bungalows can switch an included breakfast at the hotel for Dent Island yoga; other guests can just buy a spot.) Sunrise Yoga at Dent Island. Familiar styles of hatha and vinyasa mix with calligraphy yoga, a flow of movement that pinpoints focus on hands and fingertips. “It’s beautiful – you might take an arc over your head and then watch each finger move so it’s almost like you’re doing this cursive in the air,” says Waterson. “It’s very grounding and amazing for quieting a busy mind that finds it hard to concentrate – you really drop into the yoga and engage.” All this dynamic breathing is not just a panacea for stress. Happily, it’s also great for the digestive tract, because there is a reward for the early start. Helipad yoga is followed by a breakfast that has been nutritionally balanced by the Golf Clubhouse chef, Josh Hingston. Handmade granola, smashed avocado on rye, tropical chia and coconut milk smoothies, and a beetroot detox juice – divine. Back on Hamilton Island, yoga sessions run twice daily: a morning charge-up, or a restorative evening wind-down targeted at achieving quality sleep. “On a gorgeous day, we also do Keel Deck yoga over at the yacht club at sunset,” says Waterson. “It’s magic.” Once a week, there’s a sunrise session on Catseye Beach. “The rest of the time, mornings are an 8am start,” she says. “You’re on holiday, right?” Relax. THE SWEAT SESSIONS The newly refurbished sports club. Sometimes you’ve just got to crank up the heart rate. The impressively equipped and glossy Sports Club gym opens at 6am for the keen beans and doesn’t close until 8pm. “Evenings are surprisingly popular,” says Waterson. “Doing something active before eating helps people make better choices at the dinner table.” Or at least offsets indulgence. You’ll find free weights, strength training and a cardio set-up if you like exercising alone. Fitness classes run seven days a week: check the schedule for GRIT, yoga, Pilates, Bodypump, RPM, HIIT and CXWorx. But because we are not strict holiday- schedule people, we love the virtual sessions – an instructor class is projected onto a big screen so you can catch a class any time. MINDFUL EATING? A snapshot of healthful food from all over the island: • The Marina Café’s bespoke fresh vegetable and fruit juices are our go-to for a satisfying post-workout smoothie. • For body fuel, it’s a toss-up between the omega-rich flamed salmon or Mama Mouna’s wholesome chickpea falafel at Manta Ray. • The scallop ceviche followed by fresh market fish, garden leaves and crunchy greens is sublimely sinless at the Beach Club Restaurant. • Mariners restaurant makes a fresh wakame and pickled-ginger tuna poke bowl that will crank up your protein and fermented-probiotic count. • Breakfast at qualia’s Long Pavilion is a cornucopia of fresh fruit, protein and deliciously good virtue. • Do Dent Island yoga in the morning for the chia smoothies, detox juice and the island’s only avocado smash. • Progress from a lush quinoa salad to the clean and fresh cold seafood platter at Pebble Beach at qualia. • Hit the fruit and veg at IGA supermarket near the marina for perfect picnic produce. About the Author 'REEF Magazine – Hamilton Island & the Great Barrier Reef' is a magazine that showcases all that Hamilton Island has to offer, from events, to an exciting array of activities, attractions and more. You can pick up your complimentary copy of 'REEF Magazine' at any Hamilton Island hotel, and you can also access some of our feature articles right here on The Island Blog.