Long are the days gone of Ansett aircraft & the connection of Mr Keith Williams to Hamilton Island. The days of sitting next to Runway 14 & 32 at HTI, YBHM on the south western side, are long gone. You needed to enter past the airport threshold to get on the side of the old target shooting range to get the best pictures. Or stay at the threshold at the alarming gate to see a 767 screaming at your camera lens !!
I still remember buggying around the island, seeing Barry Sheene’s motorcycle collection, walking past the yachts at the marina & treking up the hills to see Passage Peak views of the surrounding Whitsundays. I remember watching a Rugby League Grand Final at the Yacht Club. I more foundly remember family holidays with the ADAMs (abbreviation for my children’s christian names … in birth order!) kids staying at the fabulous Frangipani Apartment we would rent. I remember Samson, the Island barge, delivering supplies from the Airlie Beach supermarket for our weekly stays.
At Ansett’s demise, the Whitsundays lost their domestic airline & the Whitsundays tourist boom looked not as so rosy for the future. The five star Hayman Island, built by Sir Reginald Ansett, would suffer as a holiday location, like the many other surrounding island resorts in the Whitsundays. Hayman Island has just recently been relaunched as One&Only Hayman Island in July 2014.
In 2001 Hamilton Island Enterprises purchased the airport from Ansett Airlines and Bankers Trust. Airlines Jetstar, Qantas Link and Virgin Blue (Australia) would start flying into the Island.
On Wednesday July 2, 2014 Qantas commenced direct Sydney to Hamilton Island flights, the first services to the resort island in nearly a decade. The Sydney sectors are operated by a 737-838 (BSI with registration VH-XZK on launch day).
This Friday 28th November 2014, Qantas return with direct Brisbane to Hamilton Island flights operated by Qantaslink Dash8-400s & thankfully I will be on board for a three day adventure !
The Dash8-400 series, known as the Q400, is a great aircraft. Seventy Four seats in a 2-2 seating arrangement. The Q400 is the fastest turbo props of any airline in regional Australia (*QF Fleet), with an average Cruise Speed of 667km/h (414mph), 160 kms/h faster than the -300 & compared to 737s average cruise of 853km/h (530mph). My regular Q400 to Wagga Wagga is now so quick thanks to the -400. The Q400 does Sydney to Wagga Wagga gate to gate normally in an hour!
It is quite poignant that the launch of the Brisbane Hamilton Island service is the week after RetroRoo arrives. The week of her arrival, Wednesday 19th November, or is it him ?, named Mr James Strong, was a fabulous week of celebration. With my sectors over this week, I was able to enjoy fabulous (as always) Qantas Lounge #Retro food to precurse the always fabulous inflight Qantas food & service. I was able to grab a picture of the menu during the week.
This week will see me travel to Brisbane on Thursday on a trusted Qantas 767 … every chance I can get to fly the retiring girls. Friday morning I will await the mid Friday morning flight from Brisbane Qantas Domestic Terminal. We will cruise up the coast of Queensland, past the Sunshine Coast & Rockhampton, & across the coastline into the the Coral Sea to make approach to Hamilton island. The inbound views will be fantastic as we swoop over the surrounding islands to approach the Aerodrome.
What awaits me in recollections & in new images, only time will tell. In any case, the glorious views will be the same … relived to refresh. The hills will still be there … to exercise on & the buggy will as much fun to drive over hill & dale.
And close by will be Whitehaven Beach, pristine silica sand that stretches over seven kilometres along Whitsunday Island. Pick an island & visit any of the 74 Islands of Whitsundays that are just a short boat or plane ride away. Or cruise back to the mainland at Shute Harbour, to Airlie Beach, to the vibrant nightlife scene bursting with pubs and clubs.
Hamilton island here I come & so excited to be on the Brisbane inaugural departure … thanks Qantas 🙂
(All thoughts, comments & opinions are the author’s own & not authorised by any Third Party)