The Secrets of Island Life Exposed

In the beautiful Whitsunday Islands of North Queensland, lies a group 74 islands in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Eight of these islands are home to tropical resorts, but only one had the highest record of sexually transmitted diseases in Australia. Hayman Island was well known as a luxuriously expensive private resort that host’s famous celebrity guests like Leonardo DiCaprio. Hayman was so exclusive that the locals of the mainland Airlie beach began developing their own versions of life on Hayman to share with passing backpackers. “The staff have to travel through underground tunnels so they aren’t seen by the guests”. These stories have built over many years, and being a local myself, I thought it was time to set the stories straight. What I discovered was the stories that were untold, the stories of the staff village, where over 450 staff worked, ate, slept, drank and lived together.

Hayman Island Resort, 2013

Hayman Island Resort, 2013


I had just booked my ticket to South America; departing in three months time but was flat broke. I realised I had to make some quick cash and seriously limit my expenses. What easier way to save money then to live on an island with no living expenses and nowhere to spend your income…or so I thought!

It was 16 hours before I had to get in the car and drive to the airport. 16hours to condense my life into a rucksack and head back to the tropics. 16 hours till I would say goodbye to cold Melbourne nights and my life as I knew it, and I was sitting on an empty rucksack watching Tommorowland video’s on YouTube chanting ‘Eat, Sleep, Rave’. Working in watersports on an island, working on my tan and driving a golf buggy to and from my office was all I was going to have to worry about for the next three months.

After enjoying a few rounds of sangria with my roommates I decided it was finally time to pack. If there is one vital lesson I learnt it’s not that you shouldn’t leave packing to the last minute, but to leave packing to your sober self, particularly when you are donating everything that doesn’t fit in your rucksack to charity. I flew into Hamilton Island where Hayman’s flash white boat ‘Sun Goddess’ was awaiting arrival of guests and new staff. The strict dress code for staff travelling to and from the island via ferry along with the ‘no tattoo’ policy had me running straight to the disabled toilet at the airport to lace my tattoos with foundation and change into more suitable clothing. However, apparently the previous night’s sangria had me envisioning a life on the tropical island wearing only bikinis and rocking the ‘no make-up, only glowing tan’ look. The make-up and appropriate clothing now belonged to charity. Strapping tape, a clean long sleeve shirt and nice skirt, I headed down the dock and boarded the super yacht bound for paradise.



I will cover my Hayman experience over 3 blogs so stay tuned, the stories are yet to come!

I’ll also just add that since working at Hayman, the resort has rebranded so these are tales of a past resort.