Five star luxury at the Qualia Spa – Sandy Kaye experiences the newest retreat on Hamilton Island


Hamilton Island: As I step off the flight on a warm sunny morning in late spring, I am greeted by a glass of champagne and an awaiting limousine. I am definitely in the mood for the days that lay ahead as they ought to be a deliciously re-energizing break from the monotony of my daily grind.

As the limo swings around a bend, two massive timber gates open simultaneously in welcome. Qualia lays stretched out before me. This is Australia’s newest luxury resort and the complex sits perched on a hill top overlooking the calm blue waters surrounding Hamilton Island on Queensland’s picturesque Whitsunday coast.

Owned by veteran Australian yachtie Bob Oakley of Wild Oats XI fame, the secluded 6 star resort is all about relaxation and stimulating the senses – and as I am guided to the reception area to take in the panoramic view below me, my senses almost explode. Qualia and its surrounds are simply breathtaking.
I’m handed keys to the little electric golf buggy that will become my mode of transport on the island and I’m given a quick rundown on the resort and all it offers. There’s a magnificent beachside pool at Pebble Beach where one can partake in a myriad of water sports and enjoy casual dining, a range of tantalising spa treatments to indulge in, and meditation and yoga sessions available in the purpose built atrium at the highest point and centre of the island.

Guests in relaxation mode are greatly encouraged to unwind and focus on the wellbeing of mind and body here. His and hers pampering includes anti-stress, anti-ageing, detoxifying and cleansing treatments with the signature treatment ‘Bularri Yarrul’, a hot stone massage using 300 million year old stones and aromatherapy treatments using unique essential Australian oils.

Surrounded by the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, Qualia puts a great many pursuits within easy reach. Adventure seekers can try sea kayaking and bush-walking; alternatively guests can charter a private yacht with their own chef for the day and explore deserted beaches and coves. Private helicopter tours are also available and range from 10-minute flights to full day excursions.

As I unlock the door to my assigned room I am dumbstruck by the sheer luxury and stylishness confronting me. Architecturally superb, each of the 60 pavilions, as they’re called, is freestanding and measures four times the size of an average hotel room. Equipped with floor to ceiling windows providing stunning 360 degree views of the bays below, these one bedroom homes also feature sundecks and either private plunge pools or outdoor showers. If only one could live here forever!

Qualia’s heart is undoubtedly the award winning architect Chris Beckingham’s cliff top “Long Pavilion” – where the dining room, bar, lounge and library merge. The feel inside this huge space is uniquely Australian luxury and simply heavenly. It is elegant yet casual and relaxed- a place where fine textures and beautiful stone sit hand in hand with eucalyptus.

Mealtime here in the Long Pavilion is a choice of indoor or al fresco dining and consists of clean, fresh, local produce which is prepared with a strong French influence that is simply delicious. I find menu choices very difficult to make and vow to sample as many different items as time will permit. My head swims too with some of the world’s finest wines on offer and an endless list of exotic sounding cocktails promising readiness in an instant.

If you get the chance, you must come to Qualia. It is certainly Australia’s answer to world class luxury and definitely worth the visit. Try to arrange a pavilion with a plunge pool for which you can expect to pay around 800 pounds per night. That’s pretty much all you’ll spend daily, other than on alcohol, treatments and perhaps sight-seeing escapades, because the tariff includes all meals, non-alcoholic beverages, transfers and the electric golf buggy.

To avail yourself of the Qualia experience, you need to be over the age of 18 with a love of luxury and a passion for adventure. While your travel agent ought to be able to provide you with all the information you need to make the necessary arrangements, you’d be well advised to check out the website too: You know you deserve it!


Tea Tree Oil Family Healing Kit giveaway


The new Australian Tea Tree range is the first to harness the multi-functional healing powers of Tea Tree Oil, which can be used to tackle everything from sunburn to ear infections.

Grown from sustainable crop in New South Wales, every drop of Australian Tea Tree Oil is batch tested to ensure that it exceeds worldwide industry standards. The company’s strong environmental policies demand the natural environment from which the oil originates is maintained to keep the impact on the plantation to a minimum

we have five family healing kits to give away. Each one is worth £30. If you would like one of these kits please email us with your name and address and “Tea Tree” in the email header to This offer closes on the 30 August 2008. Please note that no money substitute is offered and the Editor’s decision is final.

About the Family Holiday Healing Kits

Kits come in a colourful, striped wash bag that is fully lined and made from ethical Indian Fairtrade Cotton, £15 (38cm high x 28cm wide)

Organic Tea Tree Soothing Lip Balm – SPF 18, £2.49 for 5.7ml

Australian Tea Tree Lip Balm combines the healing antiseptic properties of Tea Tree Oil with the moisturising benefits of Shea Butter and Vitamin E to promote soft kissable lips. A built-in SPF 18 sunscreen also provides effective protection from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.

Tea Tree Pure Essential Oil, £3.99 for 10ml or £7.39 for 25ml

Australian Tea Tree Pure Essential Oil is guaranteed to be of the highest quality, over and above industry standards. It is batch tested to ensure that it conforms to their strict guidelines and is the perfect addition to the modern medicine cabinet. It can be used for general first aid to treat cuts, burns, insect bites, rashes etc.

Organic Tea Tree Antiseptic Cream, £3.99 for 50ml

Australian Tea Tree Antiseptic Cream provides soothing protection for the skin without causing irritation. The non-greasy formulation is easily absorbed by the skin and has a wide variety of applications – perfect for gentle relief from cuts and grazes.

Tea Tree Antiseptic Spray, £4.49 for 30ml

Australian Tea Tree Antiseptic Spray is a non-greasy formula that combines the antibacterial properties of Tea Tree with soothing Aloe Vera, moisturising Coconut Oil and healing Vitamin E. It comes in a pump-action spray – perfect for gentle first-aid application on the go.

How to use the Australian Tea Tree products

For several hundred years, the Aborigines have used the natural antiseptic, germicidal and anti-fungal properties of tea tree oil to treat common ailments on the move. Word soon spread to the Western world and in 1920s tea tree was proved to be at least ten times stronger than the traditionally used antiseptic of the time – carbolic.

A trusted healing aid for many years, now its multi-functional healing powers can be found in the new Australian Tea Tree range providing the ideal holiday treatment

Bathe in a lukewarm bath with five drops of neat Australian Tea Tree Pure Essential Oil which has mild anesthetic properties that help to reduce pain and inflammation. Apply Australian Tea Tree Antiseptic Spray or soothing Australian Organic Tea Tree Antiseptic Cream directly onto the skin to provide further relief and to help reduce infection.

Protect your lips from the affects of the sun with Australian Organic Tea Tree Lip Balm which combines the healing antiseptic properties of tea tree oil with the moisturising benefits of Shea Butter and Vitamin E with a built-in SPF 18 sunscreen.

Insect bites and stings
Apply Australian Organic Tea Tree Antiseptic Cream or Australian Tea Tree Antiseptic Spray liberally to the affected areas to relieve itching and reduce inflammation. Australian Tea Tree Pure Essential Oil can also be used as an insect repellent – a few drops added to water to clean table tops, floors etc can help keep mozzies at bay.

Over traveled ‘trainer’ feet
Benefit from the anti-fungal properties of tea tree which will help banish the bugs that lead to athletes’ foot and smelly feet by bathing your feet in warm water with a few drops of Australian Tea Tree Pure Essential Oil. A few drops sprinkled into trainers or a spritz of Australian Tea Tree Antiseptic Spray will freshen them up and help kill bacteria on inner soles.

Ear infection
Ear infections are commonly caused by bacteria in hotel swimming pools. Benefit from the antiseptic properties of tea tree by adding three drops of Australian Tea Tree Pure Essential Oil to warmed (not hot) olive or almond oil and apply into the ear with a stopper of cotton wool to stop it running out.

Minor cuts and grazes
Use five to ten drops of Australian Tea Tree Pure Essential Oil as a natural antiseptic in a small bowl of warm water to clean the affected area and apply Australian Organic Tea Tree Antiseptic Cream to soothe and provide a natural barrier to germs. Use Australian Tea Tree Antiseptic Spray for the on-the-go cleansing and protection against infection.

Nappy rash
Heat can make nappy rash worse. Add two drops of Australian Tea Tree Pure Essential Oil to half a pint of warm water and use as a skin wash to soothe nappy rash while allowing the skin to breathe as much as possible without a nappy.

The Australian Tea Tree range is available from Holland & Barrett, selected health food stores and all good pharmacies. For nearest stockist details please call 0870 850 7114.


Green is the new black – first totally organic makeup brand launches in UK


London: After years of expansion internationally, NVEY Make-up (pronounced na-vay) from Down Under launches the latest in true organic make-up but without sacrificing the ultimate in colour technology.

NVEY ECO has been created through six years of stringent research, testing and access to the expertise that comes with 46 years of experience in the beauty industry, and with the launch of the new ECO Organic Make-up line, NVEY is now positioned at the cutting edge of the colour cosmetics sector.

NVEY ECO explodes the myth that going green reduces the performance and application of make-up, with the development of unique production methods that retain the organic profile, while delivering the high performance colour and long lasting characteristics that NVEY Make-up is known for internationally.

The high performance characteristics are achieved without the use of chemical ingredients such as parabens, petrochemicals or synthetic fragrances, and ECO comes with a guarantee that the brand is not tested on animals. Manufactured in Australia, Nvey Eco is made with the most natural organic ingredients with high colour value pigments to make the application of a professional look easy to achieve.

To buy online to go