It’s not too often we get a glimpse into the dreamy after-wedding world of lovely couples, but when we do it’s relaxing, loved-up, and in some cases, a much-needed downtime to process many emotions, good and bad. Michaela Cook (a.k.a. Australian singer-songwriter MICKS) and her new husband Jake’s magical Hayman Island honeymoon wasn’t what the two had originally planned, but life happens and they recreated their honeymoon to be exactly what they needed. And it made them closer than ever. Read all about their real honeymoon story…

Where did you go on your honeymoon, how long were you away, and when?

We traveled to Hayman Island in Queensland, Australia for three magical nights and four days. When we returned to our home city of Brisbane, Australia, we went to our beachside apartment in Broadbeach, Gold Coast for the following week.

Why did you choose your honeymoon destination?

We originally had a four-week honeymoon booked for Japan, however, my dad passed away two weeks before my wedding, so we canceled our long trip. My sister had travel plans as well that overlapped our trip and we canceled ours to stay in town to look after my mum. Although our honeymoon was not the original plan, it was incredible, and a major bucket list destination ticked off for me. My husband surprised me with booking the trip, which I thought would be impossible only having a few weeks to find accommodation and flights etc!

Why did these locations appeal to you? What kind of honeymoon were you after?

After the previous few weeks, I just needed a destination where I could switch off and relax, and not feel guilty ‘making the most’ of the destination I was in but also not be too far away from home in case my mum needed me. There is PLENTY to do on Hayman Island but there is also a focus on relaxing, and that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I feel most calm by the water, which is exactly where our hotel room was.

Tell us about where you stayed?

We stayed at the Intercontinental Hayman Island, which is an exclusive luxury resort and the only accommodation on the Island. It is positioned on the beach and has everything you could think of that you would need to enjoy your stay.

What did you love about your accommodation? What special features did it have that you adored?

The pool and recreation centre were my favourite! For most of our trip, we spent our days under pool cabanas and reading by the water. By day three, I was getting a bit restless, and we went to explore the recreation centre which had every type of game (even arcade ones!) you could think of. I played squash for the first time and absolutely loved it.

Did your accommodation have any “honeymoon only” specials or sweet surprises?

We were so lucky to be given a bottle of Champagne on arrival and a resort gift card by my family friends as a wedding gift. Unfortunately, we booked our trip very late which meant we were unable to book any spa treatments (top tip: pre-book anything you want to do on a vacation even if you don’t think you need to!!).

Did you do any fun activities or take any adventures?

I have been very lucky to do a lot of media/TV work in the Whitsunday’s region (where Hayman Island is located) which included a lot of iconic adventure activities like snorkeling, seaplane tours, jet boats, etc. so I actually opted for an activity-free vacation. My husband and I have a joke that we are very much ‘land animals’ and try to avoid water travel as much as possible, so it worked out perfectly for us!

What about tours? Any that you loved?

We did a personal ‘food tour’ of all the resort’s restaurants. We are big foodies and made sure we tried everything that was on offer. Each restaurant had a different cuisine and theme!

Now onto the good stuff! Did you have any standout meals? Amazing experiences with food that you must recommend?

At the resort, our favourite was the seafood buffet – the abundance of fresh seafood was insane and tasted so fresh! I also loved the poolside bistro and bar, which offered a variety of classic lunch meals and snacks. The nachos were huge and their take on a ‘Southside’ cocktail was delicious. We frequent Broadbeach regularly and made a distinct effort to try ‘new’ restaurants and continued our honeymoon food tour onto the Gold Coast! I loved Social Eating House (and so does Blake Lively) and Light Years was a wonderful Pan-Asian restaurant.

Were there any other “honeymoon-only” surprises you received?

Once we were on the Gold Coast, my Husband surprised me with a deluxe day spa experience at the iconic Halcyon House spa just out of Byron Bay. We indulged in a 90-minute couples’ package and stopped at a French restaurant on the way home called, Tweed River House. We didn’t have a booking and were lucky to be both seated and pleasantly surprised by the location and food. He also took me to many new restaurants and shopping at Pacific Fair where I was finally able to acquire the Celine Triomphe Metal Frame sunglasses in gold! A major benefit of traveling locally for your honeymoon is pardoning the money you would have spent on airfares and accommodation on acDviDes, hospitality, and shopping!

Do you have any top tips to share for those planning their honeymoons?

After planning and experiencing two completely different honeymoon vibes, I would choose the second one (Hayman Island and the Gold Coast) again in a heartbeat! Maybe our circumstances were just different pre-wedding, but it was two weeks of connecting and relaxing with each other that I’m not sure we would have experienced if we were traveling across Japan.

Highlights? Low lights? Any regrets?

Not one regret and I am so thankful to my husband for providing a space where I could equal parts relax, connect, experience, and grieve.

Any recommendations specific to the locations?

The Gold Coast has so much to offer beyond beaches and nightlife. The city has transformed over the last few years to be a hospitality and leisure hub, and I can never recommend the desDnaDon high enough. Next time you visit, make sure you add: Social EaDng House, Light Years, Tweed River House, Tommy’s Italian, Rick Shores, The Tropic, and MexiCali to your food bucket lists! We also love hiring a tennis court at GCA Tennis Academy in Miami, it’s well-priced and a good way to get fun exercise before a long lunch or dinner!

Favourite moment of your honeymoon?

Laughing together late at night and not worrying about sleep with a responsibility-free next day. I enjoy my time the most when I feel connected to the people I am with and I can honestly say I have never emotionally, spiritually, or physically connected with anyone more than my husband on our honeymoon. I really think it has set our first year of marriage up with the foundation of being a team and we will be able to tackle any challenges that might present themselves. It made me fall in love with him all over again and I am so happy to be in this new chapter together.

Please share your honeymoon vendors with us:

Accommodation: Intercontinental Hayman Island and personal residence in Broadbeach Gold Coast.

Activities: relaxing, eating, reading, shopping, exploring, and a day spa experience.

Restaurants & Food: Intercontinental Hayman Island in-house restaurants and on the Gold Coast: Social Eating House, Light Years, Tweed River House, Tommy’s Italian, The Paddock, O’Bagel, and No Name Lane.