Spread the love
It was music to my ears! Queensland finally opened up their border to allow us to travel for a short holiday to Hamilton Island. We spent a blissful five days luxuriating on Hamilton Island just prior to Christmas and enjoyed every minute of it.
Not being able to travel overseas or to most states within Australia had taken its toll on us. We felt like prisoners in our own town. Constant lockdowns and different Covid rules in different states of Australia made it impossible to plan a holiday. Our only consolation was a couple of short trips in our caravan within our own state.
I was absolutely delighted to be able to take this planned holiday that involved a special birthday celebration for a close friend. For me Hamilton Island ticked all the boxes.
The astonishing Whitsunday Islands are located off the central coast of Queensland 1,120 kilometres north of Brisbane and 630 kilometres south of Cairns. Airlie Beach is the closest town, with Proserpine and Bowen to the south and north respectively.
There are a total of 74 islands within the Whitsunday group located right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. It is renowned as being a yachtsman’s paradise, offering perfect sailing conditions, and is brimming with coral reefs, a wide variety of tropical marine life and white-sanded pristine beaches.
Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island in The Whitsundays. It is around 27 kilometres offshore from the town of Airlie Beach.
The quickest and easiest way to reach Hamilton Island is direct by air with regular flights from most Australian capital cities arriving daily. Hamilton island has its own airport so this is why this place is so popular for those desiring a tropical island escape.
Otherwise you can fly into Proserpine Airport, shuttle to Airlie Beach and catch the ferry to Hamilton island. The ferries take one hour to reach the island and this is a great way to see some of the other beautiful islands that make up The Whitsundays. Alternatively you can drive to Airlie Beach to catch a ferry or private boat charter, or even a helicopter flight to Hamilton Island.
Once you arrive at the island there is a shuttle bus service from the airport to your accommodation. Getting around the island during your stay is also very easy. You can either hire a golf buggy or catch the regular mini-bus that circulates around the island at 10 minute intervals. Otherwise it is very walking-friendly with paved pathways everywhere.
One of the great things about the island is that it is relatively self-sufficient. It has its own airport, an IGA Supermarket, bottle shop, large bakery, take away food outlets, cafes, restaurants, childcare centre, school, police station, medical centre, tavern, Yacht Club, golf course, bowling alley, hairdresser/beauty salon, laundromat, golf buggy hire, marina, chapel, and a post office/bank.
So once you arrive on the island there is no need to go to the mainland for anything really. It is all here.
For water sports enthusiasts, it all happens out of the marina precinct. From here you can book a tour on a jet ski, speed boat, yacht, dive boat, fishing charter or hire your own dinghy.
If lounging around one of the many swimming pools at the resorts or at Catseye Beach doesn’t appeal, the choices are numerous. Hamilton Island is a great place to do absolutely nothing, but it is also a great place to participate in loads of fantastic activities.
During our stay on the island you could say that we did fifty-fifty. We did a lot of lounging around, but also managed to prise ourselves from our sun lounges to experience some of the activities on the island. Here’s my top ten things to do on Hamilton Island:
If you’re a golfer then a round of golf at nearby Dent Island at the Hamilton Island Golf Course is mandatory. The course is spectacularly located with panoramic Whitsundays views and a par 71 18-hole championship golf course. Return ferry transfers from the marina and a golf buggy is included in the cost of your round.
Another wonderful experience for the romantics at heart is spending a night out indulging in a Barrier Reef Reefsleep Experience.
For those wanting to witness the wondrous Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef from above, get aboard a scenic flight in a seaplane or helicopter.
There are a wide variety of options of places to stay on Hamilton Island. These vary from hotels, resorts, villas, holiday apartments, holiday homes to bungalows. Depending on whether it is the low or high season, accommodation is fairly expensive starting from $351 upwards per night.
My advice is to look out for accommodation package deals, avoid high peak times and consider sharing a self-catering holiday home or unit with a group of friends or family to make it more affordable. Check out Hamilton Island’s own website for holiday accommodation deals HERE
I’ve also seen accommodation packages offered through Luxury Escapes, so make sure you check them out too.
During our recent visit we stayed at the Reef View Hotel. Although the high-rise tower is looking a little dated, the interior and facilities within the hotel are of a good standard. The hotel rooms are massive. They are probably the most spacious hotel rooms I’ve ever stayed in. All rooms have a view over Catseye Beach and tropical landscaped gardens.
Our room had two queen-size beds, a small dining table with chairs, two large lounge chairs, plenty of wardrobe and cupboard space, big balcony with outdoor furniture, a large bathroom with separate toilet, vanity, bath and roomy shower.
The location is ideal. We only had to walk a short distance to the beach, shops, swimming pools (we had access to four of them), watercraft hire, cafe, restaurants, Wildlife Park, Day Spa, Medical Centre and walking tracks entrance. Otherwise you can hire a golf buggy for a daily fee, or jump on the shuttle bus that runs between the hotel and the marina, (where the majority of shops and restaurants are located).
Some of the facilities that the Reef View Hotel offers are: tennis courts, fitness centre, sauna, mini golf, Pool Terrace Restaurant and Reef Lounge Bar. A daily buffet breakfast was included in our accommodation and it was always packed with plenty of tasty food options, including a variety of healthy choices.
We enjoyed a long wholesome breakfast buffet each morning and most days grabbed a light snack and cold drink from one of the poolside kiosks to sustain us for the day. On other days we strolled over to the marina precinct and had take-away fish and chips, a light meal at the tavern, or a freshly made wrap or sandwich from the bakery. There are shaded picnic tables surrounding the marina where you can sit to eat and drink. It’s actually a great spot to spy some of the luxury yachts and contemplate who owns them!
For dinner we tried somewhere different each night, including:
I think what impressed me the most about Hamilton Island was the lush tropical greenness with beautiful red-flowering Poinciana trees in full bloom for summer. Tall coconut palms fringe the beach and provide some shade for sunbakers. Everywhere there are lovely tropical gardens that are well maintained by the staff.
The majority of the island is covered in native vegetation, and the coast is fringed by remarkable coral reefs. Walking tours offer up-close sightings of koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and kookaburras. The trails that lead up to Passage Peak on the eastern side of the island, afford sensational views of the surrounding islands.
I certainly felt a world away from all the stress and what’s been happening in our country over the past two years. It was the perfect type of battery recharge that I needed and a holiday destination that I would highly recommend to everyone. Couples, families and elderly people alike, would all enjoy a tropical island escape to Hamilton Island.
For more information about sailing the Whitsunday Islands read my previous post HERE
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.