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Hamilton Island – Audi Hamilton Island Race Week


©Kara Rosenlund

I’m very lucky that I’m invited to work on Hamilton Island regularly; last week I was invited up to capture all the excitement, glamorous events and anticipation of Audi Hamilton Island Race Week – an annual week long regatta where yachties, spectators and racegoers from all around the globe embark on Hamilton Island to race and soak up the atmosphere…. whenever I pack my bags I always know I’m in for such a great time up on the island….


 … when I fly I always pack a bit of work to do on the plane, however when I fly to Hamilton Island I never do this too many distractions out the window… I can always guarantee that somehow a bubbling conversation is always ignited with the stranger next to me….the flights are always filled with such great atmosphere….I think it’s because it’s a really easy destination to get to and who doesn’t love palm trees, sunshine and the fragrance of coconut oil…


… Coming in over the islands…. the colour of the water gives me goosebumps every time….


…. I hit the ground running, checking into The Beach Club, a quick glance out to the swimming pool, ohmy,  see you soon pool…. quick outfit change and I then made my way to the first of many luxe events to cover for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week….

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… First up was the Charles Heidsieck / Mr Porter Champagne Lunch, a three course menu by qualia’s executive chef Alastair Waddell in the Long Pavilion of qualia overlooking the perfect blue waters of the ocean and taking in the balmy Queensland sunshine….

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… The place cards – I squealed with delight to the see this little anchor, it was designed by my friend – artist James Gordon… clever man Jimmy!


… The soiree then moved from The Long Pavilion down to qualia’s Pebble Beach for a more relaxed pool party afternoon vibe….

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….Yes, if I was stranded on an island I too would want to have my travel trunk full of Charles Heidsieck, the finest champagne in the world with me….

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…. This is Jimmy Niggles… I met him at lunch; he has been growing his beard for four years in a pursuit to raise awareness and conversation for having regular skin checkups. This all came about when Jimmy lost a dear friend of his to melanoma, so long story short Jimmy has taken it upon himself to spread the word to have regular skin check ups through his ‘conversation starter’ of a beard it worked for me, I started a chat with him based on his beard….. this is his website too – beard or no beard, I think what Jimmy is doing is pure good – what a dude!



…. Ah, the beautiful folk having a grand time….

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…. Then as the sun went down the party kept rolling loooong into the evening….


…. Come day break my room was bathed in glorious morning golden light……


… Took my new nautical espadrilles out for a spin….have to fit in you know, ‘When in Rome…..’


…. The extremely comfortable room at The Beach Club….. also known as home for the next three days….


…. Accompanied by the best croissants this side of Paris……

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… After breakfast I decided to head down to the marina to have a look around and see what was kicking down there…. it was here I ran into my soon to be new friend Ian – a yachtie… I was chatting to Ian and I said how I really wanted to get out onto a boat to shoot things from a different perspective… Ian said, ‘Well, Kara – Can you swim?’ – me – ‘Yes’…… Ian – ‘Do you get seasick?’…… um….. silence…me – ‘uh.. No, never’ ….. I lied, I soooo lied, I get sea sick on a pontoon let alone a boat. Ian – ‘Well, I have a boat, why don’t you come out with us?’….. me – ‘Great…..great… what are the chances’….

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…. ah the kindness of strangers, so this was me for the next few hours….. aboard the stunning Mista Gybe….hoping that in fact that maybe my seasickness had just always been in my head….


… Before we set off from the marina there was a lot of discussion and finger pointing about this little booklet with maps…. I was trying very hard to stay out of everyones way boats are small you know and stay hydrated I googled sea sickness and apparently water is the key, I was guzzling the water like nothing else….. when all of a sudden I started hearing the words ‘Race’, ….. ‘Start time’…. ‘Race’…. race? What race I thought? It then hit me like a hammer – we were about to compete in one of the races for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week….. I’m not sure why this didn’t occur to me sooner I think the Mr Charles ‘Champagne’ Heidsieck may have had something to do with my fuzziness from the night before…..

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…. So this was us for the next four or so hours, in the no motor/no spinnaker division….. due to my complete lack of sweet sailing skills and knowledge I thought to myself that this race might be a bit of a dud if we have no motor….and no spinnaker… whats going to happen? …… lucky I didn’t voice my thoughts like a fool…..there was so much action happening on this little boat…. words I hadn’t heard before though quickly got a handle on what was happening when they were shouted out ‘tacking and gybing and booms and goosenecks and sheets i know what you are thinking, not those sheets, there were no bedsheets onboard’ and moving from one side to the other side …. it was very exciting and exhilarating; there really was no time to feel seasick…. thank goodness, must of been all the water I drank….

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…. these were the boats in a different division – with spinnakers…. they really pick up a lot of speed and they are so graceful to watch on the water….


 …. I then came back on land for a quick frock swap and traded my sea legs for some high heels and headed straight to qualia’s Pebble Beach for the highly anticipated Net-a-Porter fashion parade and cocktail party…..

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….. The infinity pool at Pebble Beach was converted into a catwalk for the Net-a-Porter show and looked so impressive with all the blues of the ocean and the pool….


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… trays and trays of pretty lychee martini’s…..


…. the DJ spinning some tracks to get the party started…..

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… meanwhile backstage it was all stations go with models – including Nicole Trunfio in hair and makeup…


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…. the sun setting on Pebble Beach…. beach sunsets – it doesn’t get much better does it?…..

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… then things went dark and very exciting as the girls came out and walked around the pool in this seasons ‘lust-have’ resort looks….

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… Next up on the fabulous agenda was the ‘Paspaley Pearl Luncheon’ back at Pebble Beach, pool-side at qualia, celebrating the pearling family and their world class Australian South Sea pearls…. accompanied by a spectacular three course lunch again presented by Alastair Waddell

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… Loved all the summery details and the colour combinations…the Paspaley yellow sure does pop and is such a joyous colour!….


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…. All aspects of the lunch celebrated the pearl – even down to using the exquisite pearl meat extensively throughout the menu…


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…. All the while girls floated about in the pool on swans with Paspaley parasols and pearls, smiling and having a great time…. it was infectious!… was such a happy and fun lunch….. the whole party atmosphere felt very ‘Slim Aarons’


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….. like all the good things in life the afternoon came to a close far too early….


…. On my last day I woke on sunrise and headed down to Catseye beach for a morning swim….

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… It was just magic….. immersed in the most beautiful aqua blue….. and sparking sunshine as I floated about…


….. Couldn’t resist having a flip through the new Hamilton Island Luxe Guide… I love these little pocket guides…… plus one of my shots made the cover… chuffed!……


…. Then headed down to the marina once again to grab a coffee and read Mr Porter newspaper while dangling my feet off the jetty…. cheap thrills….

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…. to keep things exciting and since I had proved I had my sea legs, I was invited aboard Andiamo…. the luxury one of a kind cruiser owned by the Oatley family, who also own Hamilton Island…..

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… We sailed in amongst one of the last races of Race Week….. taking in all of the timeless nature of sailing and watching humpback whales breach….

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… Our chic striped gang on Andiamo…..

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….. Then before I knew it Audi Hamilton Island Race Week had drawn to a close and it was time for me to leave the island paradise behind….. home bound…..


…. til next time beautiful water…

K x

Roadtrip – The Northern Territory


 ©Kara Rosenlund

Thought I would share my latest road trip with you, straight down the centre of the Northern Territory, Australia…. I couldn’t believe how fast and dramatic the landscape changed along the three day journey….. I have always wanted to visit the NT and of course Uluru, though flying into Alice Springs and driving out just didn’t feel right for me, I wanted a longer journey which made the reward – being Uluru, feel deserved….. If you have the chance to make the trip I would strongly recommend the drive from Darwin. There is just something silencing about a road trip; you set off with your head ablaze with city stresses and before long the landscape dissolves all the pressures….today’s post is a lengthy one, make yourself a cuppa and settle in….


 … I arrived in Darwin and was welcomed by the winter heat in the air… I was keen to hit the road, so I headed straight out of Darwin down the Stuart Highway to Katherine for the night…. watching the landscape change in the light as I drove…



 … passed many a ‘road train’ on the highway; some of the longest I have ever seen with numerous dogs – dogs is trucker talk for trailers – impressed? Some empty, some full of cattle. I found the truck drivers to be very considerate on the road, indicating and waving when it was safe to overtake and giving a friendly ‘Hoy’ hello when passing in the opposite direction, in actual fact there was so much ‘hoying’ happening on the highway my index fingers were feeling the strain of the kindness….




 …. what I love most about road tripping is when you see something you want to take a shot of or take a closer look at you just can pull over – hence this herd of curious brahman lining the highway in parts…. 




 … driving into Katherine on dusk; the ghost gums almost glowed against the back burnt scrub…



… and then on to Tennant Creek…. old gems like these make my heart sing; original old establishments lost in time…


 … back on the road for sunrise…. watching the electric colours of the dry grass alight whizz by, framed by the car window….






 … I like looking out for quirky things along the way; something unexpected, something that makes you realise that within the vast open country activity is happening…






  … then after three days of driving the colour palette of the land intensified and I realised I was in the heart of Australia, in the red desert… I had arrived…


 … I was very fortunate to stay at Longitude 131; I had always wanted to stay here, for years and years. I would see shots in magazines of the luxury tents nestled in the sand dunes of the desert and rip out the pages and stick them onto my mood boards. Their timeless nature really stayed with me, immersed in the wilderness with views of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. I had promised myself that if I ever had the chance to make the journey to Uluru I would make the most of it by staying at Longitude 131… who wouldn’t want to wake up to Uluru…


… each tent plays a visual narrative; homage to a notable pioneering Australian who has had a significant impact and challenged Australia’s vast interior; either through exploration, anthropology or indigenous rights, including Edward John Eyre, John O’Hara Bourke and William John Wills, John McDouall Stuart, Ernest Giles, William Christie Goss, Sir Sydney Kidman, John Flynn, Jane Webb, Bill Harney, Len Tuit, EJ Connellan, Ian and Lyn Conway, Peter Severin, Olive Pink and Bill King… impressive line up…



 … the interiors of the each of the tents are very considered…. lots of framed handwritten letters and paper ephemera matching the unique person of whom the tent is named. This particular tent was named after Ernest Giles, the Australian explorer…. and given the style and layout of Longitude 131 you really feel as though you are a little bit of an explorer – discovering the undiscovered…


… nothing was overlooked at Longitude 131.... even the colour palette of the furnishing and linens were indigenous of the landscape, with rust reds and burnt browns… and don’t even get me started on the tent’s fabric canopy ….. I couldn’t take my eyes off it….




 … complete with a little writing nook… where I wrote some of the post from…



… I loved how at one the tents are with the landscape; no bright colours to distract your eye; just calm colours of the area…




… I also stayed in the Pink tent; named after the illustrator, anthropologist and indigenous activist Olive Pink who lived in the Northern Territory. This is one of her hand written letters, sent with string and a wax seal no less…..  however beautiful these letters appeared they were often politically fierce…






 … upon evening turndown hot water bottles were placed under these beautiful blankets…the temperature sure does drop after sunset…


 … even a pool to cool off those desert winds…


 … after settling into Longitude 131 it was time to explore Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and get ready for sunset…




…While waiting for the light to become just right at Uluru, Longitude 131 catered at every stop with delicious local produce such as canapés of salted murray cod with pretty pink beetroot and more, indicative of the surrounding colours…


 … I wasn’t really expecting the vibrant colours of the native flora, at every turn, like a colourful carpet…. 




  … then it happened….being up so close to Uluru was such a surreal experience… I suppose when you are familiar with a particular visual through postcards and television it is easy to become nonchalant; however nothing prepared me for how I would feel in the presence of Uluru, the true emotion of it all… it took my breath away, no words. I just stood and inhaled it all, couldn’t take my eyes away for a second at the thought I would miss a subtle change in light or colour….


  … surprisingly it was actually lightly raining and there was heavy cloud cover which prevented a blazing sunset, though I was actually really happy to see a ‘cooler’ toned Uluru, with blues, magentas and purples in the shadows…  in any conditions I think Uluru comes to life… everything feels insignificant in it’s presence…


 …. then back at Longitude 131 each meal was such an opportunity to get excited… breakfast, lunch, dinner, such an array of local, greater local and seasonal produce ….


 … the Smoked Murray Cod in Paperbark was a favourite; accompanied with crispy leaves and the delightfully humble choko….


 … Hervey Bay Scallops with Sea Urchin Butter and Lavender…. so pretty…


  … have you even seen a more beautiful House Salad….  


 … the spectacular Native Plate with Davidson Plums, Lemon Myrtle Leaves, Quandongs, Reberries, Quandong Seeds and Finger Limes, on a bed of Paperbark…  



 … I really wanted to see Uluru and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) by air to really understand the full scale of the area and the park… the aerial gives another dimension to the vastness….



… Kata Tjuta…


 … then on the last day I decided to visit one last time and capture Uluru in full sun before I left…




…. the aerials going over the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales were like nothing I had seen before…. so graphic and almost illustrated….. rivers and waterholes beneath….. so beautiful….

… and then before I knew it I was back at home, missing the NT badly.

K x

Print Sales Launch


©Kara Rosenlund

I’m extremely happy to announce that I have made available a small selection of my favourite recent photographs available for purchase…. including the above print a personal favourite  ‘Wild Horses’…. which is about to be hung in my hallway at home.

If you are interested head on over to my shop click here. They are available in two sizes – 20x30in and 11x14in, signed and handled by me, unframed for easy postage and printed on archival rag paper.


K x