Hamilton Island holiday, Day 6

This is post 6 out of a series of 8 posts (the full list is at the end of this post).

Breakfast at the Marina Deli
This morning, we went to the marina in search of breakfast. We decided to try a light breakfast at the Marina Deli. This is the view from our table in the annex section of the Marina Deli (yes, more buggies!).

The view from our table

Jac ordered a toasted ham and cheese croissant.

Ham and cheese croissant

It was more hammy than cheesy but Jac said it tasted pretty good. It was just how a croissant should be at its best – flaky, buttery and served warm.

Ham and cheese croissant innards

We thought it was a good idea to have something healthy, so we splashed out again on a couple of fresh juices. I had another Deli Delish (watermelon, pineapple and apple). Jac skipped the gingery juice this time and had a Beetiful (beetroot, apple and carrot).

Two more fresh juices

I ordered a Marina Muffin, which has in it bacon, egg, cheese and a choice of tomato or barbecue sauce (I chose barbecue). I’d kind of expected a McMuffin-like sandwich i.e. made with an English muffin, and was somewhat mystified by the toasted sandwich that was presented to me – apparently, this is the Marina Muffin! I presume they’d run out of muffins and just made it with bread, which I didn’t mind that much about – it was a pretty nice toasted sandwich. But still, you’d think it would be worth mentioning!

Marina muffin - which turned out to be a toasted sandwich

The white bread was lightly toasted to a pleasing chewiness, with a double layer of bacon, layered in the order bacon, egg, bacon,then topped off with melted cheese.

Bacon, egg and cheese toasted sandwich innards

After breaky, we took a walk around the marina, and I took a few more photos.

Marina view

This boat is the Denison Star. When we booked our accommodation, a dinner cruise for two (worth AU$120 per person) was thrown in as part of the deal, and I’d been really looking forward to it. As soon as we got to the island, I made our booking so we wouldn’t miss out, and tonight was the night! Standing here by the boat, we got to sneak a peek at the menu, which was on display – and I began to feel even more excited!

The Denison Star

A late morning tea – bakery goodies
Later that morning, we met up with Pattycakes (Jac’s mum), J (the bride K’s mum, maker of the wedding cakes) and Savannah (Jac’s niece) and had a look around the souvenir shops*. Jac and I invited the ‘gals’ back to our apartment for a late morning tea. She and I dropped by the bakery on the way back and picked up few sweet things to share. This was the custard tart. The custard was soft, light and smooth, and very good.

Custard tart

Jac loves a good jam donut. I liked that the sugar was sprinkled on thickly.

Jam donut

I wanted to get another icing-drizzled bun, just like the one I’d enjoyed on our first night, but they gave me one with a blob of icing on top instead. I thought this bun wasn’t as soft the one I ate the other night – it definitely didn’t taste as fresh.

Iced bun

We also got a vanilla slice. This was very tricky to cut for sharing! The custard was the same soft silky custard as what was in the custard tart. I can never decide which I love best about the vanilla slice – the thick wedge of cold, smooth custard, or the sugary sweet icing that’s on top. I just can’t eat vanilla slice without ending up with sticky fingers!

Vanilla slice

Afternoon walk – tide out at the beach
That afternoon, we went for a walk on the beach. We were quite thrilled to see that the tide was out – could we walk out to the little island?

The beach

The little island

The island

The at its deepest, the water was somewhere between ankle and shin-deep, and Jac walked all the way up to the island. I followed, but the sand got increasingly sludgy the closer I got, and as I trudged along,my feet began to sink in a slightly alarming way. So this is as close as I got. Jac wanted to climb over the rocks and actually stand on the island, but thought the better of it. She did see a colony of crabs crawling around on the island, which may have put her off.

The island

It was a fluffy cloud kind of day. :)

Fluffy white clouds

The sun was pretty warm, and we really felt like a swim after our walk. Luckily, right across the beach was another pool – the Bougainvillea Pool. There’s a water feature in the centre of the pool, where the water is at its deepest.

The Bougainvillea Pool

The Bougainvillea Pool

I only had a short dip in the pool. I left Jac still swimming and took this photo of someone parasailing across the water.


View of the beach from the Bougainvillea Pool

Coconut trees

It was happy hour at the Bougainvillea Bar and so we decided to have a drink. On the left: Jac’s Fruit Tingle cocktail – Vodka, Blue Curacao, Parfait Amore, lemonade and raspberry cordial. On the right: My Pine-Lime Splice mocktail – fresh pineapple, pineapple juice, lime cordial and fresh cream. My favourite ice cream of all time is a Pine Lime Splice – and I was thrilled like you wouldn’t believe because this mocktail tasted exactly like one! It was sweet, it was tangy, it was creamy, it was cold, it was refreshing, it was amazing! I did feel gluggy after all that cream, but it was totally worth it. After we finished our drinks, it was time to head back to the apartment and get ready to go out for our dinner cruise.

Happy hour at the Bougainvillea Pool

Cruise and Dine on the Denison Star
We arrived at the marina at 5:15pm, and the boat set off promptly at 5:30pm. As soon as we got onboard, we all were presented with a freshly made complimentary pina colada.

Complimentary pina colada

As the skipper started the boat, the first round of canapes was served – bruschetta on cucumber rounds, which tasted very refreshing.

Canapes - bruschetta on cucumber

This was the view as the boat set off.

The view as our boat set off

The second round of canapes was served – this was a seared scallop with shredded wakame and a blob of Japanese mayo, served in a Chinese spoon. The soft scallop combined deliciously well with the creamy mayonnaise, and I detected a hint of something else – sesame oil, perhaps?

Canape - seared scallop with wakame and Japanese mayo

Sunset view from the Denison Star

We moved to the boat’s bow, where another couple took photos of Jac and me using my camera, and I took photos of them using their camera. (No, none of us did the “I’m King of the World!” pose!)

On the Denison Star

Jac ordered a cocktail called a Denison Sunset – strawberry liqueur, pineapple liqueur, pineapple juice and lemonade.

Cocktail - Denison Sunset

The boat cruised along gently on the water, at a speed between 5 and 7 knots. Our skipper had introduced himself earlier as Adam, the ship’s skipper, bartender, waiter and dishwasher. It was Adam who made the pina coladas when we first came onboard, and later when we sat down in the dining room, he took our order and opened our bottle of wine. And after the dinner plates had been cleared, we saw him cheerfully washing dishes in the kitchen!

Sunset on the Denison Star

Anyway, as we cruised along, Adam gave us a little commentary over the loudspeaker, telling us about the history of the island, pointing out the different Whitsunday islands that we passed, and so on. It was great to be able to see the Whitsunday islands from out in middle of the ocean. I thought Adam sounded just like Diver Dan from the TV series Seachange (hopefully some of you have seen that series and will know what Diver Dan sounds like :)).

So very green

Views from the Denison Star

There were birds nesting on this island.

Views from the Denison Star

Views from the Denison Star

View from the Denison Star

Usually, the tables in the dining room are set for four, and you are encouraged to sit with another couple so it’s a social sort of evening. A table reserved for two costs a little extra, and I’d been quite prepared to pay the additional fee. I didn’t feel like being a social butterfly – that’s just me. We’d spent time with friends and family, which normally wouldn’t happen on one of our holidays away, and so I kind of wanted Jac all to myself this evening (no offence intended to any family members who may be reading this! :)). As it turned out, there were only about half a dozen couples including us on the cruise that night, so we got to have our own table for no extra charge.

This was the view from our window as we sat at our table. This is one of my favourite photos from the entire holiday.

View from our dinner table

Shortly after we sat at our table, we were served warm crusty sour dough bread. It was very dark in the dining room, so I was forced to use the flash for the photos of dinner. Although I hate photographs taken with the flash, I am so glad I took these photos as it was a fantastic meal, and I’d have been very disappointed if I couldn’t share it with you guys.

Crusty sour dough bread, served warmed

The bread was served with a couple of dips – olive oil with balsamic vinegar, and homemade hommus. I’m not a big fan of hommus, but this was really tasty! We wouldn’t normally order wine by the bottle, but it came free, as part of the deal, so we chose a bottle of sparkling white wine. I even had a little, as part of the occasion! :)

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and homemade hommus

For her starter, Jac chose the Thai style mussels, served in a coconut, lemongrass and coriander broth with steamed rice. The broth was magnificently drinkable – rich, flavoursome and fragrant. The mussels were plump and really quite large. Jac didn’t eat all the rice as she didn’t want to fill up on it, so I eagerly helped finish it off, drinking up the last of that gorgeous broth.

Thai style mussels in a coconut, lemongrass and coriander broth with steamed rice

My starter was sea scallops seared in pesto basil butter, served with angel hair pasta and sundried tomatoes. I think I enjoyed the textures of this dish as much as I did its flavours. The scallops were cooked to perfection and beautifully delicate. I felt compelled to eat the scallops as slowly as I could bear to, just to savour their softness and deliciousness. I rolled each scallop in the sauce on the plate before eating – I didn’t leave a single drop of sauce on that plate! The finely sliced sundried tomatoes, the angel hair pasta and even the simple garnish of snow pea sprouts with those tiny round leaves were all perfect accompaniments to the scallops – each one delicate, but with its own texture and flavour.

Sea scallops seared in pesto basil butter with angel hair pasta and sundried tomatoes

Jac ordered the Tasmanian salmon, served on mashed potato with asparagus, cherry tomatoes and bearnaise sauce. The crispy skin crackled tantalisingly as Jac cut into the fish – I was secretly drooling with a mild case of dish envy! I can’t believe Jac doesn’t actually like eating fish skin, no matter how golden-brown or crispy or perfect it is! She gave the crispy salmon skin to me!

Tasmanian salmon on mashed potato with asparagus, cherry tomatoes and bearnaise sauce

Back to my mention of dish envy – often, when dining out, I have a really hard time deciding what to order. And so, having agonised over the menu in the first place (this usually frustrates Jac, who always seems to make her decision annoyingly quickly :)), when our dishes arrive and we start eating, I often find myself thinking that I should’ve ordered the dish that Jac’s ordered. It’s so frustrating! Heheheh. Anyway, back to our dinner…

I went against my normal practice of ordering seafood or chicken for my main course, and chose the 200 g eye fillet steak medium, which was served with creamy horseradish mashed potato, green beans, sauteed spinach and Cafe de Paris butter. Unlike my lamb rump from the Steakhouse, this piece of meat was cooked perfectly and was absolutely tender, requiring a minimum of effort to cut with my knife. I must admit I’d never eaten Cafe de Paris butter before – as I ate it, I tasted a distinct, delicious flavour. What was it? I thought and thought as I ate, and then realised what it was – anchovies! Yum!

200g eye fillet steak, creamy horseradish potato mash, beans, sauteed spinach, with cafe de Paris butter

Dessert was served on a single plate for us to share. Jac was very excited when she realised it included panacotta. She ate panacotta for the first time last year and fell in love with it. On the plate we had vanilla bean panacotta and Kahlua bread and butter pudding with raspberry coulis. You could see the tiny black specks of vanilla in the-smooth-as-marble panacotta, and the bread and butter pudding was soft and custardy. The coulis was quite tart and went very well with the two sweet puddings.

Vanilla bean panacotta, Kahlua bread and butter pudding, raspberry coulis

It was a lovely, relaxing evening. The service was impeccable – the best for the whole holiday (and overall Jac and I thought the service on Hamilton Island was great), the staff friendly, the food fantastic. AU$120 per person includes a complimentary cocktail upon arrival, canapes and dinner, with a free bottle of AU$30 wine (you could select from a white, red or sparkling). You pay for any additional drinks. The only thing I missed was having a cup of tea to wash down my dessert – no tea/coffee was offered.

If you’re a foodie and ever visit Hamilton Island, I’d highly recommend the dinner cruise on the Denison Star. Again, no, I’m not getting any referral fee! (My friend E, who will be visiting Hamilton Island soon, if you guys get a chance, you should go on a dinner cruise! I reckon you’d really enjoy it!) Visit the Cruise Indigo website for more details about Cruise and Dine and about the Denison Star itself.

*Whenever we go away for holidays, we make sure to buy at least one souvenir magnet, which goes straight onto the fridge when we get home. :)

The full list of Hamilton Island holiday posts, in reading order

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