Looking for a dream holiday destination in Australia? Hamilton Island will be the perfect place for you!
Islands are the most sought after when it comes to vacation destination ideas. Everyone loves the ocean and there are so many things to do on an island holiday. So, if you are looking for a lovely island for your next trip, look no further.
Hamilton Island is one of the most popular and beautiful destinations in the Whitsundays which include as many as 74 islands. It is dreamy and amazing; it is the stuff picture postcards are made up of! There are so many things to do on Hamilton Island and so much to see!
If you want to enjoy a relaxing holiday in a stunning environment, there is no better place in Australia! More of the sporty kind? That works too! There are several activities in Hamilton Island as well which will keep you busy for days at end.
What more would you need if you have a great island with breath-taking views and loads of fun stuff to do for a holiday?
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Where is Hamilton Island?
Hamilton Island lies in the very core of the Great Barrier Reef, as a part of the Whitsundays. It is located 887 kilometres north of Brisbane & 512 kilometres south of Cairns. It is a mere 16-kilometre distance from the Queensland coast.
The nearest coastal town is Airlie Beach.
How to get to Hamilton Island
You can fly from any major city in Australia directly to Hamilton Island airport (Great Barrier Reef Airport). To find the best deals, use Skyscanner. It will compare all prices and will find you the best one.
You can also choose to fly to Airlie Beach, take a shuttle from the airport to the marina and take a ferry from there.
Finally, you can drive to Airlie Beach and hop on the ferry.
Things to do in Hamilton Island
The main reason to go on holiday on Hamilton Island is to see the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach. This is definitely something you should do and we will get back to that but there is also a lot to see on Hamilton Island itself.
Before you go off to see what the Whitsundays have to offer, let’s explore the best Hamilton Island attractions.
If you are wondering what to do on Hamilton Island, we are here to help!
Photo credit: Hamilton Island
Go for spas
You can enjoy spa days at the island and pick from the great variety of spas that operate on Hamilton Island. Spa Wumurdaylin and Spa qualia are the most noteworthy of the spas in operation. You must book the spa slots in advance to avoid waiting and wasting time.
Biking, buggying and off-roading
You can hire the vehicle of choice from the vehicle rental service, your hotel/resort or online and ride around the island in it. This can be a great way to explore the island at your pace and enjoy the natural environs and blue filled scenic views. For a better experience, carry water because the days can get hot. Finally, just have fun! It’s so much fun going around Hamilton Island with a buggy. This is one of the most engaging Hamilton island daily activities.
There is an 18-hole golf course on the island and all visitors can participate in an amateur level or professional contest that happens on the island every year in October and November. You can book a spot in advance giving 50% of the charges as advance.
If you want more information, check out Hamilton Island Golf club‘s official website.
Bowling and Go Karting
If you are looking for a fun activity, head to Bowling Alley. This 9-pin, glow-in-the-dark bowling centre is a great thing to do with kids on Hamilton Island. Another option is to try Go-Karting on the track at Hamilton Island’s Palm Valley, where you can race at 45 km/h high speeds. There are double karts as well. For both, wear closed-toe shoes. No bookings are required, you can just arrive and begin.
Bushwalking and hiking on Hamilton Island
No matter which island you choose, going hiking is one of the best things to do in the Whitsundays.
When it comes to walks on Hamilton Island, you will be provided with a great number of options. Make sure you pick a trail according to your level of fitness and the weather conditions. As usual, if you are walking on your own, let someone or your hotel know (better safe than sorry). That having been said, there is nothing to be overly concerned about. Hikes on Hamilton Island are fairly easy compared to the one you will find in the Outback for example.
A few options are Saddle Junction, Hideaway Bay and Passage Peak. They are a great way to explore the island and discover some hidden gems such as Coral Cove and Escape Beach.
Photo Credit: Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island is heaven for trail walkers!
Hamilton Island Wildlife Park
If you want to discover the wildlife on Hamilton island, you should head to Hamiton Island Wildlife park. They organise activities every day! If you are on holidays with children, that can be a very fun thing to do.
You can take guided tours with expert keepers and enjoy watching and feeding some Australian marsupials. You can see snakes, lizards, koalas and kangaroos at the park. The location is over to the resort side. You can contact the Hamilton Island Wildlife desk for more details or go on a nature escape day trip.
During the tour, you will get to enjoy a breakfast with koalas and discover some off-the-beaten-path places on the island.
Swim with turtles
Speaking of wildlife, you can enjoy swimming with the Turtles just a short distance from Hamilton island Catseye beach while snorkelling around the island. From November to May stinger suits are included in the tour price. As a general thing, it’s pretty safe to snorkel near Hamilton Island but it’s always recommended to wear a wetsuit! The tour happens around the fringing reefs and they are not far from the island. You must bring towels and a change of clothes.
You can enjoy some instructed yoga practice or endurance activities like races and triathlons that happen around the year. The island tourism offers packages for stay and meals for the event attendees and you can get some good deals for running marathons or your yoga trips.
Hamilton Island tours & day trips
Hamilton Island is located in the heart of the Whitsundays. This means that you can go on day trips (or multi-day trips) to explore the rest of the archipelago and the Great Barrier Reef!
If you are looking for the best Hamilton Island tours, you’ve come to the right place!
Before we get started, please note that all tours from Hamilton island are pretty luxurious. If you are looking for amazing tours with high-end service, they will be absolutely perfect for you!
No matter what, visiting Whitehaven Beach is a must-do during your holidays on Hamilton Island! It’s one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and there are simply no words that can explain how stunning it is!
There is no ferry going to Whitehaven Beach which means that you will have to go on a tour from Hamilton Island. You can choose between a cruise and a flight to Whitehaven Beach.
They are both great options as they offer different ways to see and experience Whitehaven Beach.
If you opt for a cruise, you will get to go snorkelling and hiking. If you choose a flight, you will see the breath-taking aerial views of Whitehaven Beach and relax of the beach (made of 98% of silica which means super white and soft).
Here are the best Hamilton Island tours to Whitehaven beach:
– Half-day trip: you will leave from Hamilton Island on board of a beautiful catamaran and spend some time on Whitehaven Beach. You will also get to walk up to Hill Inlet lookout for incredible views. This tour is great if you don’t have too much time and want to make the best of Whitehaven beach. Click here for more information and see the latest prices.
– Day cruise: if you can, I’d highly recommend using a full day to visit Whitehaven Beach. It’s such a beautiful place, you won’t regret it! You will be leaving from the marina and head to Whitehaven Beach where you can relax and enjoy the beautiful crystal-clear waters. After that, you will be heading to Chalkies beach where you can snorkel! Click here for more info and see the prices.
– Helicopter Flight: you will be flying aboard a helicopter for 20 mins. During this time, you will see incredible views of Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet (the swirly part). Seeing Whitehaven from the sky is an amazing experience. That’s how you understand how big and pretty it actually is. You will be picked up for free from your hotel. It’s a great way to see Whitehaven, the only shame about it is that you don’t get to walk on it. However, you can choose to book both a flight and a cruise to get to do everything. That’s what I did and it was well worth it. Click here to see the latest prices.
– Seaplane flight: this one is perfect to make the best of both worlds as you will be flying above Whitehaven and Hill Inlet before to land on the island and spend 75 minutes on the beach. Unlike the helicopter flight, you get to experience Whitehaven from both the air and the land which is pretty awesome. Prices and information are available here.
Great Barrier Reef
No trip to the Whitsundays would be complete without seeing the Great Barrier Reef. This amazing ecosystem is the largest coral reef in the world. It’s so unique that even when you see it from your own eyes, you will find it hard to believe anything can be that beautiful.
There are several ways you can experience the great barrier reef: snorkelling, diving and flying.
If you love water activities and want to see the coral up close, you should prioritise a diving trip or a cruise.
If you’d like to see how big and magnificent the reef is, a scenic flight will be better!
Here are the best Hamilton Island tours to the Great Barrier Reef:
– Diving & snorkelling day trip to Reefworld: you will be on board of a catamaran that will bring you to the pontoon at Reefworld. From there you can go snorkelling or diving in the heart of the reef. Lunch and equipment are provided so you can just relax and enjoy your day. For more information and see the latest prices, click here.
– 2-day cruise with Reefsuites: this tour is absolutely incredible. Basically you will go on a cruise for 2 days during which you will discover the great barrier reef. You will snorkel and enjoy a relaxing time at the reef. But the best thing about this tour is the fact that you will be sleeping in a room with glass windows! This means you will be underwater looking at the reef from your bed! All meals and sunset drinks are included. It’s a luxury tour and won’t be suitable if you are on a budget but if you can, that’s amazing! Click here for more info and see the prices.
– Combo Flight + Snorkelling: if you want to make the best of both worlds, you can opt for this tour. You will go on a 50 minutes helicopter flight during which you will see Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet. Then, you will head to Reefworld where you can snorkel and see the reef from the underwater rooms. Click here for more information and see the latest prices.
The heart reef is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most famous coral reef in the world. It was discovered in 1975 and became since a protected site. There are 2 ways to get to see the heart reef from Hamilton Island.
– Scenic flight: this 1-hour helicopter flight will take you above Whitehaven before heading to the Heart Reef. It’s a great way to see the best aerial views in the area. It’s also one of the cheapest ways to see the heart reef from Hamilton Island. Click here for more information and prices.
– Heart Island: this is a brand new experience as it only opened in 2019. You can get to see the heart reef from close if you choose to go to Heart Island. You will hop on a 30 minutes helicopter flight before landing on the pontoon and spend 90 minutes there. You will be able to go swimming (not in the reef though! it’s protected!). As it only opened recently, you will be one of the first visitors to get to try this amazing experience. Click here for more information and prices.
Restaurants in Hamilton Island
Eating is an important part of exploring a place and enjoying it. Luckily, there are great places to eat at Hamilton Island. Here are the top 3 places to eat on Hamilton island.
Hamilton Island Golf Club Restaurant and Bar
This place is the highest-rated restaurant on the island. The cuisine is Australian, and it is Vegan friendly. They also serve gluten-free options to dishes. They serve a full bar. The service is highly acclaimed too. You can do a lunch trip with a buggy tour of the island included.
Beach Club Restaurant
This nice restaurant offers the best views on the island, a rich seafood and Australian cuisine menu for the gourmands. This place serves brunch, lunch and dinner overlooking the waters. The sophisticated place is highly recommended. They serve vegan options, vegetarian meals, and gluten-free meal options too.
Please note that this restaurant is reserved for people staying at the Beach Club (prices and availability here). If it’s not your case, you will need to call them to request a table but there is no guarantee you will get it.
This restaurant is situated in the Hamilton Island Yacht club, surrounded by the colourful reef patches around. The vibe is amazing. This award-winning restaurant serves delicious Australian cuisine. They also have vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes.
This is the perfect place to go to if you want to enjoy a delicious meal, in a unique restaurant!
Accommodation in Hamilton Island
If you are looking for the best place to stay on Hamilton Island, you can read on and find a recommendation of areas to go for. This island is just about 5 square kilometres in area, hence, getting around should not be a problem. But here are the best areas to stay on Hamilton Island.
This area is great for families. It’s the perfect place to relax and enjoy the views.
A popular hotel to stay at on the resort side is the Reef View Hotel. Not only it’s an all-time favourite but it features some of the best infrastructures for families: swimming pool, beachfront, private balconies… It’s a magical place! Your little ones will love the activities!
Palm Bungalows are also very popular. You can rent your own modern bungalow with a garden and enjoy the facilities of the resort (pools…). It’s such a relaxing place, perfect for families.
Hamilton Island Marina
The marina is the happening spot on the island. You will find everything you need there. Shops, pharmacies, supermarket…
If you head towards the art gallery, you will find loads of holiday homes. They don’t have as many amenities as the establishments previously mentioned but are a great option for people who want their own space and don’t want to stay in a resort.
The Yacht Club Villa is a great option. Beautiful view, modern furniture, beautiful decor and services… it has it all!
Best time of the year to visit Hamilton Island
The best time to visit Hamilton Island is winter. This is the dry season in Queensland and you can enjoy temperatures around 24 degrees.
That having been said, Hamilton Island is a great place to visit all year round!
Holidays on Hamilton island are great for honeymooners, families and business trips. This island has a lot to do apart from visiting the Great Barrier Reef & Whitehaven. So why wait – Book your flights now and enjoy your time at Hamilton Island!
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