Places in the heart: Michelle Bridges

Romance and a ''serious dose of decadence'' is what personal trainer Michelle Bridges looks forward to each time she holidays on Queensland's Hayman Island.

Write this down – 20.0500° S, 148.8833° E. When the world feels mad and you need to get to a saner place, take these co-ordinates to a helicopter pilot and demand she/he takes you there. You will arrive at Hayman. There are few places in the world that don't require a full name to be used for people to know where they are and what to expect when you get there. Hayman is one of them. I first went to Hayman in 2000, when my now husband, Billy, was romancing the pants off me (I'm speaking metaphorically, of course).

The fact he is now my husband should tell you that the island was a pretty good choice for a five-day getaway.

From the moment you sip that first glass of champagne, you know you are about to be dealt a serious dose of decadence. To which I say, Bring. It. On. The restaurants offer a range of dining experiences, not just different cuisines, and being a bit of a foodie I like to be titillated by variety in menus, décor and vibe.

Of course it's not humanly possible to talk about Hayman without mentioning the Great Barrier Reef, conveniently on your doorstep. The marine life, the coral and the ocean are akin to something out of a Pixar animation. But the big thing for me is the romance of the place, and I'm picking that it has made a significant contribution to Australia's population growth.

I also learnt to paraglide while I was there. After floating over the deep blue and being gobsmacked by the views, we powered to shore on the back of a speed boat.  With Billy beside me and a towel wrapped around me to protect me from the spray, I think it was then that a little bit of Hayman found its way into my heart.

This series of articles produced with support from Tourism Australia.

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