When Nick and I decided to go somewhere original for our honeymoon, we picked Australia and decided to spend two weeks there. The first week we spent exploring Sydney and then took a flight out to the Outback to spend some time in Uluru. Depsite how amazing those parts of the trip were, we saved the best part of our honeymoon for the last week.
Hayman Island underwent a major remodeling after Cycle Debbie hit in 2017 and was previously a One & Only resort. Intercontinental now owns Hayman and made massive updates to make this exclusive resort a luxurious retreat.
We booked our stay about 6 months before Hayman was set to reopen. Naturally, we were a little bit nervous about this because we didn’t know if the resort would have teething issues and would live up to our expectations.
There are multiple options to arrive at Hayman. You can take a seaplane, travel via helicopter, or take a luxury yacht to make your way to the island from Hamilton Island’s Great Barrier Reef Airport. We opted for the relaxing boat ride!
After arriving at the airport, staff greeted us and took our bags for us so we didn’t have to worry about carrying anything onto the yacht.
When we hopped on, we immediately knew we made a stellar choice to spend the remaining portion of our honeymoon.
Rita, one of the most hospitable people we met on the island, greeted us with sparking wine and canapes. We had our own couch on the back of the yacht and were already living the high life!
The boat ride takes approximately one hour from Hamilton Island and is a perfect transition to this land of serenity.
Enjoy the warm breeze while being treated to unlimited sparking wine. There is also sunscreen provided for you on board, for those like us who definitely would burn otherwise!
Arriving at the island is pretty neat, too – as many resort workers line up and do “The Hayman Wave” to officially greet you on your journey. We were definitely feeling pretty good at this point due to all of the sparkling wine we had (thanks, Rita)…but still opted for the full tour of the resort by a guide. Each guest/group received their own tour guide to get a lay of the land.
After the tour, we were escorted to what would be our little slice of paradise for the following 6 days.
The suite was exquisite and quite frankly the best hotel room either of us have ever been in. Every room was outfitted with a state of the art lighting system, which was also set up on the in-room iPad. You can control everything from the fan, the blinds, awnings, and lights from anywhere in the room. Fancy stuff!
On our dining room table, a welcome treat was left for us along with water bottles, complimentary water, and some information about our room.
The Kitchen Area
Everything was fully stocked with glassware and a decked out mini bar. There were also snacks to purchase but we were warned not to leave our sliding glass door open, or else the cockatoos may steal our food. Cheeky little buggers!
The living room
Beautifully decorated with pillows was a large couch, which was also quite comfortable. There was a coffee table and a couple of chairs, making it look like a photo straight out of a home magazine! We had a sliding glass door that led to our private balcony. The balcony itself was huge and had a stunning view of palm trees, the beach, and the resort itself.
The Bedroom and Bathroom
Can you say amazing? Our bedroom was huge and was also equipped with a sliding glass door, of course! We received chocolates on our pillows each day during the evening turn down service. Yummy!
The bathroom area had two sinks (which was PERFECT for us), a walk-in closet, and a soaking tub with a “telephone” faucet. This tub was one of my favorite parts of this bathroom! Taking a nice hot bath, washing my hair, and being able to have cold water massage my scalp with this faucet was amazing. Such a special treat that I did not expect!
There was also a little bowl filled with bath salts that was an added treat to my bath each night. We accidentally broke the bowl two days before we left and wrote a little note apologizing and they simply put a new bowl out with fresh bath salts!
After we unpacked and enjoyed some time out on the balcony, we took it easy and had dinner at the Italian restaurant: Amici.
The setting was adorned with fairy lights and had a very romantic and rustic feel to it. This would become one of our favorite dinner spots, as we ate there 3 of our 6 nights on the island!
Their pasta bolognese was the best I have ever had and the brushetta bread was scrumptious!
Exploring the island…
The first morning we went to breakfast at Pacific, which had the best breakfast buffet we’ve ever had. There was a chef to create omelets, fresh fruit with an industrial sized juicer, pastries, hot foods, and pretty much anything you could ever want for breakfast!
I am not a huge breakfast fan but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grab as many fresh kiwi as I wanted…and to create a delicious juice concoction!
We spent the remainder of the first day relaxing on the beach with some cocktails, just soaking in the fact that we felt like we were the only ones on the island! In reality, the resort was at about 60% occupancy but the way that it is set up makes you feel like you have the place pretty much to yourself. Walking along the beach we saw many snails and little creatures moving along in the sand. We even saw a few snails switching out shells. A very neat sight to see!
What is really interesting is that the tides here in the Great Barrier Reef are some of the most extreme in the world.
The sunset on the beach was filled with beautiful colors and the palm trees swaying in the dusk truly made it feel like the paradise that it was.
The Infinity Pool
Arguably my favorite place on the resort was at the luxurious infinity pool. There are cabanas on both sides of the pool, which overlook the beautiful ice blue water. The pool itself is divided into a warm, shallow area and a cool, deeper area. There is also a plunge pool off to the right of the cooler side!
We spent most of our days down here when we weren’t off on an excursion!
Spending the day relaxing in the cabana, then once it got too hot, taking a dip in the pool without even having to take two steps was simply wonderful. I was so happy that the pool lived up to my expectations since I’m not gonna lie – I was definitely was stalking Instagram photos in the months leading up to the trip…
The first photo in the gallery below is actually of the pool underwater – taken on our Olympus TG 4 camera!
The infinity pool was right next to Bam Bam – an asian fusion restaurant, which was our favorite place to eat during our time at Hayman. Ben, one of the servers, was so kind to us and told us how he just had moved to Hayman from Fiji! That was a trend with all team members of the resort staff, everyone was just so nice and hospitable to us!
During the day, we had drinks at Bam Bam while relaxing in our cabanas and on most days, we ate lunch there, too.
Then each night, we would take a stroll back after dinner to take a peek at the stunning Infinity Pool at night.
Things To Do
There are SO many excursions to choose from on the island. Whether you want to be in the water, on jet skis, whisked off to the private Whitehaven beach, or even taken on a seaplane adventure…there are endless options on Hayman Island!
Introduction to Scuba Diving
We decided to do an Intro to Scuba Diving course, in which we went out to Hook Island to a little gem of an area called Buttefly Bay. We did a half day adventure but there is also an option for a full day!
We, alongside 5 others, were in the scuba group. I was a bit nervous since I had never been scuba diving before but Taylor, our guide, made sure we all felt at ease.
We started with learning the hand signals and basic techniques on board the boat.
Then we were split into two groups. The first group (which we ended up becoming friends with, went snorkeling first while Nick and I and one other couple went into the water with our instructors. We first had to do a quick test to ensure we remembered what we learned before actually going under water. We had to clear our masks underwater, equalize, and show we knew how to recover our regulator if we lost it. But I held on to that puppy for dear life while underwater to be sure I didn’t have to deal with that!
Once we went underwater, we saw amazing fish and the most beautiful coral! I mean, better than the cruises we have been on. But I guess it IS the Great Barrier Reef, amirite?!
I did make a few mistakes in which I either was too low or popped myself up to the surface too fast by pressing my vest inflater but Taylor helped me each time and was very patient.
First time scuba diving: Success.
After we were done with our dive, the other group went and we then snorkeled for a while. Definitely a must-do excursion if you will be visiting Hayman!
And if you aren’t a snorkeler or someone who wants to try diving, there are plenty of other tours you can do!
There were a few sunset tours to choose from, ranging from an expensive private charter tour to a group cruise, which is what we opted for.
We boarded a luxury yacht and we offered beer, wine, or soft drinks. Nick and I arrived a bit early, so we chatted with Captain Danny for a bit while waiting for the rest of the guests to arrive.
While we had a bit of a cloudy day, it was still a great excursion and our guide Andi gave us a lot of information about the island and the boat itself, since they brought it from Perth (I believe) around the time Hayman was scheduled to reopen! She also told us about the cyclone and what it was like to be on island during that time.
The fact that the staff is so open to answering any questions that guests have was pretty cool – since I always am curious about the life of the locals!
Blue Pearl Bay
During the last few days of our time at Hayman, we decided we wanted to do one more snorkeling adventure so we booked the Blue Pearl Bay escapade.
This excursion is a bit more “self-guided” in which you are dropped off at the Bay (with safety gear such as a phone and vinegar for jellyfish stings) and you snorkel for about two hours before being picked back up.
This bay is a “coral beach” meaning it is very rocky and there is no sand. The Adventure Desk did warn us of this so we were prepared but it was still painful coming in and out of the water once we took our flippers off.
Summer is the start of stinger season in Australia. The jellyfish to watch are for are the size of a fingernail, called Irukandji’s, and are among the most venomous in the world. There are also Box Jellyfish, which can be deadly.
So we were clad in full body stinger suits!
On Island Activities
The really cool thing about this island is that even if you don’t want to physically leave the resort, there are complimentary activities right on the beach during high tide! The hours of operation are listed each day by the activities desk near the beach and if you see the safety boat out, they are open!
Some of the complimentary activities included: Catamarans, Pedal Boards, Paddleboards, Kayaks, Canoes, and Windsurfers.
Pretty much everyday we tried something new. Nick tried his hand at sailing a catamaran and looked like an old pro by the time we left the island.
I tried paddleboarding for the first time and absolutely loved it – and took the advice of a fellow guest to look at the horizon, not down…which really helped! And on one of the windier days, I took a kayak out on the water.
So fun and a great way to spend the morning before the tides went out!
Yes, I have a whole section of this review to talk about the cockatoos on the island. A new fact to us was that wild cockatoos are all over Australia. The ones on the island had a yellow crest and as referenced at the beginning of the post…well, they sure are cheeky little buggers.
Anytime we opened the doors to go out to our balcony – they swooped in to say hello. Moreso “I want your food.” But they were still comical.
At one point, we had SEVEN on our balcony, so we thought it funny to take a quick snapshot of me and my “bird posse.”
And they don’t stop at trying to get into your room. No, no. They hang around the restaurants, too. One morning, Nick and I were having breakfast at Pacific and at the table behind us, a cockatoo was rummaging through the plates that some folks left behind.
He didn’t find anything he wanted, so he took the lid off of a bowl and grabbed a sugar cube, then flew off! A crazy thing to see, I tell ya!
The Iconic Hayman Pool
One final area we had to check out was on the far side of the resort, home of the Hayman Pool. This pool is shaped like a hexagon and there is a walkway that guests can swim under! Some of the rooms on this side of the resort have ladders that let you dive right on into the pool! There was a bar/restaurant here called Aqua. We were not as impressed with it compared to Bam Bam.
A Fond Farewell
When it was time to end our honeymoon, we took another luxury transfer back to Hamilton Island and jetted off in style – with more wine and canapes, of course!
Until We Meet Again
Our honeymoon at Hayman was beyond incredible. The most hospitable staff, amazing food, and such incredible experiences that we will never forget. Out of all of the vacations we have ever taken (and we love to travel), this was hands down our favorite.
We made a promise to ourselves that we will certainly be coming back and are hoping to make it back for our 5th Anniversary!