Hamilton Island, located in the Whitsundays off the coast of Queensland in Australia. This island is at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and the gateway to all the Whitsunday Islands, where days can be spent adventuring through the uninhabited islands above ground, getting up close to the exquisite coral reefs underwater or simply taking in the sunshine while sipping cocktails by the pool. If you plan on visiting the Great Barrier Reef or the Whitsunday Islands, here is a quick guide to Hamilton Island featuring the best attractions, what to eat, where to stay and what to do.
When To Go
The climate on Hamilton Island is a great all year round, with a tropical climate reaching a high temperature average of 30C in Summer and average low of 18C in winter. While the weather stays warm year long, the best time to visit would be from May til November where the temperature is more moderate while you should try to avoid both the wet season from December until February and school holidays.
What To Eat & Drink
Drink: Wild Oats or Rosemount wine, Hamilton Island is currently owned by the Oatley family who are most famous for making their fortunes from their famous wineries, you will be able to find these wines at most restaurants on the Island. Alternatively, cocktails are a must on any visit to the island, starting with $10 All Day Cocktails at One Tree Hill followed by the Margarita of the day at Tako or taking in the uninterrupted views from the Bommie Deck.
Eat: For such a small island there is a huge range of choice for incredible cuisine on the island, but the newest restaurant to open is one close to my heart, Tako. A Mexican-style eatery with a fusion of Japanese and Korean cuisines, this place has not only the flavourings that you expect from great Mexican, but a fresh twist. With guacamole and salsa paired with the cocktail of the day, any night will be off to a great start.
Where To Stay
There are two main options on Hamilton Island, staying as a guest of the hotel resort or in privately owned apartments and holidays. If you are looking for the all inclusive holiday then the resort hotels will offer great deals inclusive of some activities on the island with a great location, adjacent to the main beach. But if you are looking for something a bit more freedom, then a holiday home is probably more your style, plus they are likely to come with free use of a Golf Buggy during your stay. While in Hamilton, I chose to stay at Shorelines 15, which offered great views over Henning and Whitsunday Island’s.
Beaches and Pools
The best places on Hamilton Island to take a dip or enjoy the sunset are not just the beaches, but also the resort pools. Here are the top places to take a dip and unwind.
Main Pool & Island Bar: is the island’s swim up bar, located next to Catseye Beach. A prefect place to catch some rays and grab some cocktails without even leaving the pool.
Catseye Beach: is the main beach of Hamilton Island and it’s where all the water activities take place, from stand-up paddle boarding to windsurfing, snorkelling and even a turtle discovery tour. Great for a day of activity with friends or family and relaxing on the beach.
Hideaway Bay: is a secluded bay located just a light 15 minute bush walk from the main road. Hideaway Bay will give you piece and quiet away from the crowds while being able to take in the views you might catch from Catseye Beach. Hideaway Bay is perfect for a little picnic or meditation spot.
Getting around: Buggy’s
Hiring a Golf Buggy for your trip to Hamilton Island will not only save you time heading to different poolside or beach activities but they are so fun to drive! From the moment you arrive on the island, the speed of the Golf Buggy’s will automatically put you into holiday mode. Top tip: driving the buggy’s at night time around the island will help you spot some local wildlife including possums and wallabies!
Must Visit: One Tree Hill
If there is one place that you must visit on the island, then it’s One Tree Hill! With clear views all day and throughout sunset of the Whitsunday islands it’s a prefect vantage point to relax and unwind with cocktails. I could definitely not get sick of the views. Consider starting the day with coffee on the picnic tables, followed by cocktails at sunset!
Must Do: Sunset Cruise on the Denison Star
Sunset and resort holidays go hand in hand, so this is not the only sunset activity I will recommend while staying on Hamilton. Boarding the Denison Star is a first class experience in both service and degustation dining, I recommend the Seafood Platter! As you set out, you will be treated to cocktails with incredible views of the sunset as you travel amongst the Whitsunday Islands. Later on, when it’s darker you will get a clear view of the constellations in the sky and may even spot some local sea life off the back of the boat.
Day trip: Whitehaven Beach
Whitehaven Beach is often listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in not only Australia but the world. Located on Whitsunday Island, a national park, it takes a leisurely couple of hours to get to the beach where there is plenty to do on the pure white silica shores, from bushwalks throughout the uninhabited island’s to snorkelling amongst wildlife.
Check out more of what to expect on a day trip to Whitehaven Beach here.