What to pack for a weekend away in the Whitsundays

Nikki ParkinsonFashion 62 Comments

I took this photo of iconic Whitehaven Beach about 18 months ago.

Whitehaven Beach Whitsundays Queensland

I was on a blogger trip and it was my first time in Queensland’s Whitsundays.

Not only could I not believe it was my first time visiting this part of my home state but I knew then and there that I would be back.

And that I had to share this magic spot with Mr SY.

That sharing starts tomorrow. Thanks to Tourism Queensland and Tourism Whitsundays, we are flying to Hamilton Island for two days and nights of sailing in these waters.

On Sunday night we have treated ourselves to one night at Qualia Resort on Hamilton Island.

It is our 10th wedding anniversary so we figured if there were ever a time to splash out, it was now.

To keep the romance well and truly alive, my blogging mate BabyMac and her husband are also on board ;).

My First World thoughts have once again turned the very important question of what to pack for a weekend away.

I figure, the more I do of these “what to pack” posts, the better I’ll become at only stuffing into a suitcase the things I really will wear.

I’m pleased to report that my packing planning for the recent Problogger conference paid off. I wore every thing in my suitcase. Well, almost. BabyMac wore my Sacha Drake jumpsuit I’d packed as a backup, so that technically still counts, surely!

7 tips for an island holiday wardrobe

1. The emphasis will be very much on casual in the wardrobe department. Casual can still be smart and if that’s the focus you have then you’ll have items that can take you from boat to bar in a flash. Soft pants or shorts and tops will work in and around the boat.

2. Pack items that don’t require ironing and don’t take up a whole lot of space. The boat we’re on will be on the larger side but it won’t be the same as spreading out in a hotel room. This will be my greatest challenge.

What to pack for a weekend away on an island

1. Blue Bungalow kaftan $59 | 2. Havaianas $29.99 | 3. Blue Bungalow bag $29.95 | 4. Metalicus top $129.95 | 5. Metalicus pants $129.95 | 6. Capriosca one-piece $100 @ Sequins and Sand | 7. Frankie 4 Footwear sneakers $219.95 | 8. Kooringal hat $27.99 @ Sequins and Sand

3. Most of the daytime hours will be spent on deck and swimming. A hat, sunglasses, a couple of swimsuits and cover-ups are a must.

4. Flat footwear is the go. I can just imagine Mr SY’s reaction should I attempt to walk around a boat in heels. I may sneak in a pair of blinged up wedges for dinner at Qualia. Maybe.

5. Pack something resort fancy if you are dining out somewhere fancy. Or just because. Of COURSE I’ll be trotting out a kaftan or two.

What to wear on an island weekend away - evening


1. Camilla dress $469 @ Zambezee Boutique | 2. Samantha Wills earrings $140 | 3. Colette Hayman clutch $19.95 | 4. Adorne ring $10 | 5. Misano sandals $79.95 @ The Iconic

6. Have a light knit on hand to protect from the wind and keep warm when the sun goes down. It’s already warming up in Queensland but the evenings still have a mild chill in the air – especially if you’re on a boat.

7. Keep your beauty kit to a minimum but don’t forget the SPF 30+.  I may be getting spray-tanned up later today but I’m not kidding myself – my winter white skin needs protection at the best of times, let alone when I’m out on the water.

So tell me, have you got any beach/resort/island getaways coming up? What are your essentials and tips?

PS. I’m taking the day off from the blog tomorrow. Will be back Monday with a special take on Model and Me. You can follow along with our weekend on Instagram.

Comments 62

  1. I adore your holiday style and I’m green with envy at your holiday destination. We have a long weekend here in Perth and hubby has a rare couple of days off and I’m planning a resort style staycation at the very least.

  2. Thanks for this well timed post. My husband and I are taking our 4 year old to the Gold Coast and Brisban next month. Not quite as romantic but a holiday in the sun no less! Can you add anything to this post to cover a couple of days of theme park visits and weekending in Brisbane? What will the weather be like in three more weeks? Any survival tips?

  3. HI Nikki, Happy 10th anniversary! Hope you have a wonderful time!
    Thanks for the packing tips as we are off to Fiji in late November. Hope to pack light but the makeup bag takes up the most space! I will have to cull and cull again before we leave!

  4. read this with interest, as we are heading to Airlie Beach next week…with caravan in tow! still need to pack light soooo…I think I need to go shopping!

  5. I’d add in a hat that will stay on in a breeze! We have a sailing boat and it’s my number one item together with a lightweight sailing top to cover up your arms. Love the nautical look and plan on taking that across into swimmers this year. Hope you have a great time.

      1. Going to quaila for my birthday what should I pack whitsundays.
        Evening wear. I have a crochet white dress long that I love do think it’s suitable? Or too overtop

  6. A scarf!! Used as sun protection it will cover your neck and glam up a tank or tee on the water. You can also wipe away sweat, sand or happy tears with it. Have a glorious mini break.

  7. Happy Anniversary and enjoy the beautiful Whitsundays. I would love to stay at Qualia resort someday, in the meantime I’ll ooh and ahh over your Instagram photos. Have fun! x

  8. hi nikki, I am back from gorgeous queensland today … oh dear we will miss the weather! … on the sunshine coast cotton tree etc … lovely! this time we explored and loved Brisbane too, where we spent the last few days … a living city with the festival on … ab/fab! we had a delicious and memorable lunch at stoke house south bank … we caught the city cats … loved it all! … enjoy your trip to the whitsundays … a very beautiful destination! … white haven beach … that sand is amazing! … love m:)X

  9. Loving this info… will keep in the memory bank. Ordered an I Allure kaftan yesterday on special… so hope I’m not disappointed when it comes in the mail.. trying to get a few things together for our first family cruise in December! Have a great weekend!

  10. Happy Anniversary!
    Your packing looks perfect for your trip. As a chronic overpacker, I’m trying to recall what I actually wore for our three nights at qualia. While I know I wore my Camilla kaftan and blingy sandals, as we were in a pavilion with our own pool (YAY!), I honestly lived in my swimmers and a cover-up. Even when we ventured out of the resort (to the bakery and ice cream shop in “town” for lunch- hot tip!) or One Tree Hill for sunset, I believe I pulled shorts over the top of my swimmers- so unlike me!
    I think the one thing I’d advise is the resort is very casual- even for dinner. So there is honestly no need to pack your heels at all.

    1. Oh thanks Johanne! I’d eliminated the heels for the sort this morning. And yes, when I looked at everything on the bed, I thought that the cover-up over swimsuits was going to be the thing. Thanks for confirming. Have just got light pants for getting there and evening on the boat.

  11. No I think you have everything covered though maybe add a pashmina in to your bag, I found that they are great over a dress or around shoulders and take up no space at all.I love everything you have packed I really want another camilla a short one next time!Have a wonderful time Nikki can’t wait to see your Instagram pics and Happy tenth wedding anniversary to you both Xx

  12. Happy Anniversary!

    I’m on a budget too (mostly, lol), and I use the items that I can’t afford as inspiration to find something similar that I can afford. It’s all about the look and the ideas for me – makes me shop smarter and I end up with less wardrobe ‘duds’. Doesn’t matter how cheap or how expensive if you a) don’t like them or b) never wear them.

    Have a wonderful time.

  13. Congratulations firstly.
    Could you please do a review with pics after the weekend?
    I’m thinking it would be a nice spot for my own anniversary next year. I have the Camilla kaftan for swanning around, will just need some lovely metallic sandals like you featured and I have, courtesy of you, really taken on board Samanta Wills rings and earrings.

    1. I will do Cheekie – for sure! The weather is looking good so pics will be hopefully showcase that! We decided on this rather than overseas as it was too tricky to organise a longer stay away with our youngest. I also kicked myself last year for not ever having visited this part of Australia before – and it’s less than two hours by plane for me! Camillas are made for swanning and I’ll be swanning 😉

  14. Oh my god Nikki, what a lovely collection of things! Quite perfect for Hamilton Island. I am going to check out the SW earrings – they are stunning. And the Capriosca cossie – I like it a lot. Enjoy your weekend away – and happy anniversary to you both. We’re heading to Hamilton Island at end November. This post has got me excited. Have fun!

  15. How exciting! Enjoy your weekend away! I’ve been to the Whitsundays 3 times. I’ve never stayed at Hamilton Island but would love to go there and Hayman Island. I’ve sailed around the Whitsundays too. Maybe take some ginger tablets if you get seasick. The islands can help protect and keep the choppiness to a minimum but I do remember feeling a bit green when we sailed out in the open water outside of the islands to get to the best snorkelling area. Have a fab time. Looking forward to seeing your photos. 🙂

  16. Happy Anniversary! That photo is just beautiful. Must go there one day. We are heading to Thailand later in the year. I’ve already got my toiletries packed, and packing clothes in my mind. Some great suggestions here, but I will be dressing much more casually, like sarongs/haviannas style 🙂

  17. Hi Nikki, I’m heading to the Hamilton Island next week. I have never had a spray tan before and would love one for my holiday. I have fair skin and I’m worried what it will look like. Any suggestions on where to go, product and colour would be really appreciated !! Thanks

    1. Hi Hayley, I have fair skin and always ask for Light. I had a tan a few weeks ago and it was the brand Naked Tan and I’ve also had success with the Aviva spray tan colours in salons. Do a Google on both these to find a salon in your area. They are both 2 hour tans which means you can shower more quickly.

  18. I love your style but really wish you’d put up some more affordable pieces. I don’t even bother clicking through to the blog most of the time because I always know that the look will be unattainable. Sorry not trying to be a negative Nancy I love your page and like I said love your style just hoping that maybe you can do style on a budget, for me I feel extremely guilty if I buy anything for myself that costs more than $50 but I still like to look good.

    1. Emsy, I just bought a nice pair of sandal that are quite blingy from Spendless shoes for $29.95, not quite as nice as the ones on Nikki’s post but I’m happy with them. Nikki does offer more budget friendly suggestions too, so make sure you read everyday!

    2. Everyone has different ideas of what budget shopping is Emsy – I aim to cover off on all budgets. I’ve also been unfollowed for featuring budget clothes made overseas in sweatshops. I’m never going to please all people with every post but in the above suggestions I’ve got things priced from $10 and up. Use the ideas as inspiration to find similar pieces (if you like them) in stores where you normally shop.

      1. I realise you can’t cater to everyone, I just thought this blog was for the average mum. If you can afford to spend over $400 on a freaking kaftan or $130 on what looks like a t-shirt then of course your going to be stylish. The real challenge is being stylish while sticking to a budget. And I wasn’t asking for every post to be budget but maybe include a dress or top or something that the average person could pick up from target.

        1. This blog is for ALL women – mums, women without kids, women who work, stay at home mums, grandmas – that’s why I do include a variety of price points as what one person considers to be a budget piece, others think are too expensive. Conversely, some would find $130 a budget piece. I’ve included things under $50 and there is a Blue Bungalow kaftan above that is $59. That’s all I can keep doing – offering bits of every budget – in the hope that you’ll use it as inspiration when you shop. Not necessarily to buy what is featured.

    3. Emsy it can feel disheartening when you see something you love but is out of your price bracket. Nikki’s given other options but when I see something I really want, sometimes a way of getting there is to let all your family know, so if you have a birthday or Xmas thing coming up they can all contribute. Otherwise, use it as inspiration – there are heaps out there to choose from!

  19. Happy Wedding Anniversary. Love your holiday style. So envious. I honestly can’t remember the last time we had an island holiday or any real holiday. We were all set to head to Bali because it’s cheap and accessible from Perth but hubbies work had other ideas and posted him to sea.

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