Ticket To Paradise: Real filming locations on the Whitsundays

George Clooney and Julia Roberts spent six weeks living on Hamilton Island while filming the new romantic comedy, Ticket to Paradise.

(Yes, it’s supposed to be Bali but it was filmed in Queensland). And for anyone within their orbit, from deckhands, waiters and concierges to those that worked closely with the A-list stars, the consensus was that the superstars loved their time in Queensland and fit right in with the relaxed lifestyle.

Whether driving the golf buggy down to the local IGA (George and with wife, Amal were known to go for a spin to get all the essentials), a round of golf over on Dent Island, or a sunset drink at the yacht club, here’s where they spent time when offset. 

It’s supposed to be Bali but it was filmed in Queensland
It’s supposed to be Bali but it was filmed in Queensland

A luxury home base

Best buddies need to be side-by-side, George and Julia were neighbours on the northern end of Hamilton Island. Tucked away right next door to qualia resort are two of the most luxurious properties on the isle, and they are both available for holiday rental.

It’s said that while Julia and George were neighbours, Julia would pop over the fence for dinner with George, his wife Amal and five-year-old twins Ella and Alexander. It’s a tough choice which of the properties is the pick.

On Coral Sea Avenue, the seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom Papillon is by the same architect that designed qualia, Chris Beckingham, and features an infinity edge swimming pool, ornamental water features, manicured gardens, and a gymnasium. Right next door is the gated sanctuary named Aquila featuring two king sized bedroom suites, a private villa, a kid’s haven and a yoga deck by the bay.

Inside Aquila Hamilton Island
Inside Aquila Hamilton Island

Qualia spa

Many of the key scenes in the movie were filmed at qualia, and the luxury five-star resort served as home base for some of the crew. With easy access, Clooney and Roberts could enjoy all that the resort offered.

Anyone who has entered the gates and driven through the gardens full of heliconias and gardenias will know the immediate feeling of relaxation. The resort’s spa takes that mood up a notch. They’ve effectively used a clay-themed colour palate with bamboo and stone to blend in with the natural surroundings. 

There’s a menu of treatments using organic Australian-made products, there’s even a signature scent made into a candle by Maison Balzac. The treatments, some known as journeys, can involve surrendering to an indulgent three hours of being pampered. 

bath at sunrise at Windward Pavilion, Qualia
Bath at sunrise at Windward Pavilion, Qualia

A luxury vessel

Not just a nautical toy for the Clooneys to take in all that the Whitsundays offer (white beaches! Diving amongst the coral! Turquoise waters!) there was a very practical reason why the luxury yacht Alani was hired, it served as George’s daily transportation to the various filming locations around the islands.

The 82-foot Sunseeker can host 35 guests for a day charter and can sleep 6 for overnight charters. Onboard is a waterslide, paddle boards, snorkelling equipment and beach toys. Based at Hamilton Island, the vessel is available to be chartered.

The luxury yacht Alani was hired during filming
The luxury yacht Alani was hired during filming

View from above

Julia’s preferred mode of transport across to filming locations such as Haslewood Island and Long Island was a twin-engine helicopter. Taking to the sky is a more scenic way to view 

Hamilton Island, The Great Barrier Reef and the surrounding Whitsundays islands.

 Helicopter flights provide many a photographic opportunity and you’ll fly low enough to be able to spot turtles, manta rays and sharks.  Opt for the 60-minute scenic flight taking in Heart Reef, a favourite for marriage proposals.

Julia’s preferred mode of transport was a twin-engine helicopter
Julia’s preferred mode of transport was a twin-engine helicopter

A round of golf

You can lose as many as 10 golf balls into the surrounding waters during a round at Hamilton Island Golf Course on Dent Island, luckily there’s a golf buggy that drives around selling golf balls (and sausage rolls) in case the supply dwindles. 

It’s said George Clooney was a regular here at this impressive 18-hole championship course, designed by five-time British Open champion golfer Peter Thomson. Like Hamilton Island, it is owned by the Oatley family and is just a 10-minute ferry away. George and Amal would head to the Clubhouse for lunch where the menu features local and seasonal produce and exceptional wines, including those from Robert Oatley Vineyards.

Hamilton Island Golf course
Hamilton Island Golf course

Kid’s Clownfish Club

While George was on set and Amal was working remotely as a practising barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, five-year-old twins Ella and Alexander were having the time of their lives on at least one occasion at Hamilton Island’s Clownfish Club.

The island’s childcare centre keeps the kids happy with baking bonanzas, art classes, animal-themed activities and the opportunity to make alien monster slime. For those a little older staying on Hamilton Island, there are water sports, as well as a mini quad bike adventure course in Palm Valley suitable for ages 6 and above. And a glow-in-the-dark bowling alley is open day and night for family entertainment. 

The Ticket to Paradise wrap party was held at the Hamilton Island Yacht Club
The Ticket to Paradise wrap party was held at the Hamilton Island Yacht Club

Hamilton Island Yacht Club

After filming, the cast and crew got together for Ticket to Paradise wrap party held on the Bommie Deck at the ‘Opera House of Queensland’, the Hamilton Island Yacht Club

Designed by Australian architect Walter Barda alongside famed yachtsman Iain Murray, what better setting than this to see the sunset (it’s also superb for turtle spotting in the waters below) and bid farewell to a spectacular time in the Whitsundays.

This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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