Hamilton Island for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week (or #AHIRW in hashtag land), where everyone who’s anyone converged this week… is Audi’s premier sailing event on the Great Barrier Reef and has become one of the highlights of the Aussie luxe social calendar. From beachfront lunches at qualia hosted by Charles Heidsieck and MR PORTER, to the poolside fashion show by NET-A-PORTER this event attracts the leaders of fashion & design… and of course Australia’s sailing elite.
AUDI KYLIE KWONG DINNER – PEBBLE BEACH RESTAURANT QUALIA
It was off to Pebble Beach restaurant at qualia the first night and the scene was set… one long, chic table for the Audi Kylie Kwong dinner. Kylie happens to be an Audi Ambassador – along with Collette Dinnigan and her dashing husband Bradley Cocks who were also at the dinner. I had the good fortune of sitting next to in-demand Sydney architect Nick Tobias who was giving me insider tips for my up coming trip to Puglia, (Nick is also a member of the Style Council for MR PORTER) and global-roaming journalist, author and editor Mitchell Oakley Smith impressed who me with his sartorial elegance (I voted Mitchell as best dressed at this event!). Opposite were seated the Stenmark twins, Zac and Jordan who are now jet-setting around the world modeling for the likes of Tom Ford. The boys impressed me with their down to earth honesty and subtle Aussie humour. Not only are they blessed with perfect faces and charismatic smiles, they are the nicest guys you could meet… the perfect role models for young Australia.
Needless to say Kylie’s dinner was delicious with her dim sum starters my favourite and I washed it all down with a delicious Oatley Sauvignon Blanc… naturally!
The next day I fronted up to Long Pavilion at qualia for the hottest ticket of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week – The Charles Heidsieck / MR PORTER lunch. They were all there – television darling Melissa Doyle, Australian fashion icon Collette Dinnigan, Hotel Insider Bradley Cocks and my new bestie Thomas Staunton – he of the chic concierge company Managing Luxury. I was perfectly seated front and centre at Actor Tim Draxl’s table (he MC’d the event) and we enjoyed a delicious three course lunch all washed down with three very special Charles Heidsieck vintages. My favourite was the silky smooth Blanc des Millenaires 1995.
Lunch effortlessly turned into drinks poolside, down beside Pebble Beach Restaurant where I enjoyed the view… perfectly poised beside the pop-up champagne bar (Charles Heidsieck of course) with Georgina Safe, National Fashion Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald along with other assorted funsters and the ever stylish Oatley family (and owners of Hamilton island) who generously opened the bar and picked up the tab!
We lined up for our special MR PORTER gift, a pair of Riviera boat shoes (very fitting – I chose navy and red of course!) and afterwards we mingled with fun fashionistas and models till the sun went down. I called it a night after a deliciously funny dinner at coca chu. (And thank you to Audi who supplied chic E-tron taxis to get us home every night!)
CRUISE ON ANDIAMO
Thursday I was up early for a whirl through the Whitsundays to watch the start of one of the races on Sandy Oatley’s luxury cruiser Andiamo. I chatted NET-A-PORTER style tips with Kei Chen, head of marketing for NET-A-PORTER Asia-Pacific who had flown in for that evening’s NET-A-PORTER runway show, Channel Seven’s Sunrise Executive Producer Michael Pell and I swapped grooming tips and Shelly Horton… Chief Columnist of Life & Style and Channel 7 Morning Show regular, kept everyone entertained with her infectious wit. We were even lucky enough (as if on queue) to spot a whale from our luxury posi while we sipped Mimosas (topped up with Charles Heidsieck of course).
Next up on the blog the NET-A-PORTER runway show!
* Some photos from the Charles Heidsieck lunch credited to photographer Belinda Rolland