A recurring theme of our visit to Hamilton Island – breathtaking views of the blue ocean at every turn, including airport pickup!

As we trolleyed up the hills and to our vacation home for the rest of the week, the views just kept getting better and better.  Here’s the view from our balcony… Seriously!

We took full advantage of the island atmosphere and sights and sounds.  This is us, sipping wine and overlooking that view above.  Multiply by 4 and you pretty much have a sense of our trip to Hamilton Island!

These birds, beautiful at first sight, were a staple of our trip.  Dave and Cathy laughed that they had spent hours down on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria vying for a picture of these elegant white cockatoos, only to have them literally storming our balcony for stray crumbs (and books – this one hurled my book off the table, and nearly off the 3rd story balcony!)  More cockatoos here.

Another frequent visitor to our balcony was the kookaburra.  The kookaburra is a quintessential Aussie bird, but I’ve spotted only one (fleetingly) before in nature.

Our kookaburra sat on the tree trunk right at the end of our balcony for hours.  And these birds definitely have the most interesting bird call at dusk – their call, often likened to human laughter, sounds more like a monkey cacaw to me.

Of course, a key part of our trip to Hamilton Island was the surrounding waters.  HI is famous for visiting yacht owners and sailors, and this weekend was no different.

In fact, it was Hamilton Island Race week, so there was an abundance of beautiful gleaming white sailboats docked at harbor.

And of course, no trip to Queensland would be complete without a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef.  We piled on board and set out for the outer reef for one of our days at Hamilton, a bumpy adventure through the rough and tumble waves….

This reef experience was much different than the first — different time of year, different weather.  But it was amazing in its own way, and especially the views along the way as we wound our way outside of the islands and into the open waters.

A mother humpback whale and her baby, splashing in the waves (baby tail pictured here).

All in all, a gorgeous island, where a seriously relaxing time was had by all.

More pictures here.