Taylor Swift makes fans' wildest dreams come true on Hamo
WHEN Sienna and Aisja Thompson (10 and 12), Jett and Lizzie Slater (10 and 13) and Mitch Lloyd (14), took a holiday from the Gold Coast to Hamilton Island this week, little did they know they'd be meeting superstar Taylor Swift.
The former country singer turned pop princess arrived on the island on Tuesday for a vacation with her family and the entire 125 cast and crew of her 1989 world tour.
When the five young friends discovered she would also be singing at a private concert for just 100 people as part of Nova's Red Room series, they were determined to track her down.
Lizzie and Jett's mum Anne Slater said they'd been monitoring the news all week.
"And every day they've worked out what they were going to say and what they were going to do," she said.
Set for Thursday night, island sources say the concert, a collaboration between Nova, Qantas and Hamilton Island, was originally scheduled to take place at a venue on Catseye Beach, but was moved to the island's prestigious yacht club.
As the sun went down on the yacht club last night, a select few lucky competition winners, flown to the island by Nova and Qantas, mingled with the artist affectionately known as "Tay Tay", ahead of her intimate, acoustic concert.
Unaccompanied by any of her band, Taylor Swift played piano and guitar and sang four songs - Into the Woods, Out of the Woods, Wildest Dreams and Shake it Off.
Meanwhile outside, security personnel patrolled the water and the yacht club perimeter.
Undeterred the five tenacious Gold Coast friends stood with home-made posters among a small crowd that had gathered at the turn-off to luxury resort qualia from the island's Front Street.
People young and old waited for hours and the crowd had diminished somewhat when the pop-diva's mini-van finally appeared.
Fully expecting it to carry on up the hill, there was utter amazement when it stopped and Tay Tay, wearing a white lace short suit and high heels, stepped out.
"When she came out, the crowd went crazy - she is so nice," Sienna said.
"We'd waited for a few hours trying to see her, but as soon as she came out to see everyone it was all worth it," Mitch said.
"It was a rush of excitement - I'm glad I was part of it," Jett added.
Brimming with all the self-confidence of a woman who had an audience of 76,000 captivated at her Sydney concert on Saturday, Taylor Swift marched straight up to the crowd and started taking "selfies" with people, one by one.
Standing side by side with her idol, Aisja found her "pretty tall" and Lizzie said it was "just amazing".
Even more amazing was when the five friends went skipping off, photos in phones, to find another Gold Coast holidaymaker, Helen Threadgold, waiting at the bus stop.
Ms Threadgold had been standing patiently with the rest of the crowd, but decided to go home to her family when it seemed the singer wasn't likely to appear. When the children told her she might still be in with a chance, she ran back as fast as she could and was thrilled by what happened next.
"(It was) very exciting," she said.
"My voice went very high when I said, 'hello, nice to meet you Taylor'. She had time for each and everyone there.
"Yes, she really is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside."
In just a few more moments it was all over.
Taylor Swift is believed to have then been whisked to her private jet, which took off into the night sky for Brisbane, where she will play another concert this Saturday.
Shortly afterwards, a passenger plane, thought to be bearing her band and crew departed the island as well.
Taking to her Instagram account earlier in her stay, "Tay Tay" thanked Hamilton Island for all the memories.
"So stoked to be able to take my band and crew on a vacation at the end of a long and wonderful tour," she wrote.
"For all their hard work, they really deserve it.
"Thank you to Hamilton Island for taking such great care of 125 of the people who work tirelessly to make sure the 1989 World Tour stage gets built, the lights are on, the costumes are made, the guitars are tuned and the show goes on."
So stoked to be able to take my band and crew on a vacation at the end of a long and wonderful tour. For all their hard work this year, they really deserve it. Thank you to Hamilton Island for taking such great care of 125 of the people who work tirelessly to make sure the 1989 World Tour stage gets built, the lights are on, the costumes are made, the guitars are tuned, and the show goes on. Aussie press, I love your enthusiasm but my birthday isn't for 2 weeks and it'll be a quiet one this year. Let's take it down a notch:)
And for the media, who had thought she might be celebrating her birthday in the Whitsundays complete with star DJ boyfriend Calvin Harris and an A-List of "gal pals", Taylor had this to say:
"Aussie press, I love your enthusiasm but my birthday isn't for two weeks and it'll be a quiet one this year.
"Let's take it down a notch."
While on Hamilton Island, Taylor and her family and friends visited Whitehaven Beach, held "Willy" the koala at Hamilton Island Wildlife and posted for photographs on Instagram and Twitter at the luxury qualia resort.