Hamilton Island’s population – about 4800 people, including visitors – rises to about 5600 people during its annual raceweek, leaving but tumbleweeds in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.
Guests flocking to the Oatley family’s paradise on the pristine waters off tropical north Queensland include HRH Prince Frederik of Denmark (but not his Tasmania-born wife, Mary), Terry Biviano and her husband, former NRL great Anthony Minichiello, and billionaire James Packer’s niece,Francesca Packer Barham, who told Fairfax Media the event was big on her social calender.
“It’s always such a fun week, filled with great people, great food and Hamilton is just too beautiful for words. I love the Oatley family, they’re such wonderful hosts,” she said.
“It’s definitely a highlight of my calendar.”
It’s Packer Barham’s third time at the exclusive Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, which she says “is a perfect way to kick off summer”.
Just back from Aspen, Colorado, where she had celebrated Erica Packer’s 40th birthday, “Chessie”, as she is known to her closest friends, kicked back with a cocktail with her publicist and friend, Roxy Jacenko, and Nicky Oatley, granddaughter of the late Bob Oatley and brand manager for the stunning Hamilton Island on the Whitsundays.
Despite the 22-year-old heiress being the eldest grandchild of the late Kerry Packer, she wants to carve out her own way on life.
“I’m heading back to London to complete my design diploma and working on my psychology degree by correspondence,” she said of her plans for the rest of the year. “There’s more crossover than you might think.”
Despite being billed to attend, Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark skipped on heading to the homeland with her husband, preferring to stay in Europe and help twins Princess Josephine and Prince Vincent, 6, settle into school.
Back in the heart of winter in the Harbour City, over green juice and air-kissing, online store The Iconic hosted a breakfast to announce it would add another 150 brands to its Premium Boutique.
Guests including PE Nation’s Pip Edwards and Camilla and Marc director Marc Freeman mingled together with former David Jones fashion boss and The Iconic’s new adviser, Donna Player, at Nour Restaurant in Surry Hills.
First-world issues were the main topics of discussion, with many commenting on how the site’s black bag has replaced the excitement of a Net-A-Porter black box landing on your desk or your doorstep, while another was overhead mentioning how spending the weekend being wined and dined at Hamilton Island “was exhausting”.
Models Erin Holland, Lauren Vickers and Lucy Blay helped launch Chandon S’s vintage Chic Easy (a modern take on the speakeasy) at the Tramsheds, Harold Park, on Tuesday.
Scheduled stops include Melbourne (October 7 and 8), Sydney (October 14 and 15), the Gold Coast (October 28 and 29) and Perth (November 4 and 5).