There’s more to Hamilton Island than sand and sun
As much as Hamilton Island’s glorious beaches and bluer-than-blue water deserve all the praise they get, there’s so much more to the destination than that.
In fact, you could spend months there and struggle to run out of things to do. Don’t believe it? Why not take up the challenge? There’s never been a better excuse to take a decent chunk of time off work.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, if your obligations mean that, like most mere mortals, you can only manage a bite-sized vacation in the Whitsunday Islands, here are some top tips.
You’ll discover that Queensland’s Hamilton Island offers something for everyone, from beach bums who want to kick back with a novel, moving only to receive a massage, to adventure junkies who yearn to sail the high seas.
Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet Lookout
Hamilton-Island – Offshore view
Hamilton-Island – Onshore view
Hamilton Island – View of the Marina
Getting around Hamilton Island on Golf Buggy
Getting up close and personal with Nemo
There are two ways to do boost your chance of meeting the world’s most famous fish. First of all, strap yourself into a snorkel and dive into the nearest crystal clear water. Hamilton is surrounded by its very own reef, so bountiful coral gardens are never more than a few metres away. What’s more, locals and visitors have been hand-feeding the sea life for more than two decades now. Populations are thriving and you’re pretty much guaranteed to find yourself lost in a veritable rainbow of colours.
Great Barrier Reef – Underwater Fishes
Great Barrier Reef – Turtle
Flynn Reef Great Barrier Reef – Tridacna gigas – Giant clam
But, for an even bigger adventure, you’ll need to travel a little further. The outer part of Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef is reachable via several methods, each of which offers a unique experience. These include boat, plane, helicopter and semi-submersible. You can even board an underwater platform, meaning you can enjoy a stunning view of the underwater world while staying snug and dry.
Helicopter tour over Great Barrier Reef
Getting out on the water
Seeing the outer reef is just one good reason to get out on the water. Other options includes windsurfing, kayaking or take a sailing adventure. There’s just something so liberating about travelling according to the breeze, without any need for an engine. Plus, if you discover that cruising on a yacht is the best thing since sliced bread, you’ll be able to enrol in a go-to-whoa learn to sail course. The best news? At the end of it, you’ll have the opportunity to skipper your very own vessel on a multi-day bare boat charter.
Hamilton Island kayaking, Windsurfing Stand up Paddleboard
Hamilton Island – Yacht, Sailing and Boating Trips
Hamilton Island – View from onboard
If, however, manning the sails and braving the unpredictable ocean on your own sounds rather intimidating, kick back and let someone else do the work for you. For an easy, picturesque full-day tour there’s the Banjo Paterson, while a more high-speed experience is offered on the Adrenalin Rush, a 36-foot catamaran. If you happen to be visiting in the final week of August, you’ll be lucky enough to witness Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, Australia’s biggest yachting regatta conducted offshore.
Getting in on the action
Does sailing sound way too slow-paced for you? Are you more of an action freak or adrenaline junky? Take a speedy, exhilarating ride around the island via jet ski. Tours are conducted several times a day, giving you the chance to feel a motor beneath your feet while hearing some funny, interesting tales about local history, geography and wildlife. Wondering how you’ll be able to hear your tour guide above all the noise? Everyone receives his/her own set of headphones.
Playing sports on-land
Hamilton Island offers a diverse array of sports and recreational activities, both indoors and outdoors. There’s a mini-golf course that’s great for kids, as well as a target sports complex, a go kart track, a sports club equipped with gyms and tennis courts, and a ten pin bowling alley. For an amazing grown-ups’ golfing experience, take a quick boat ride to nearby Dent Island, where you’ll find a par-71 course of just over six kilometres in length.
There’s every chance that your Hamilton Island getaway is all about taking a moment or two out from the stresses and strains of the workplace. Spending some time in such a beautiful natural environment is bound to work wonders, but to take relaxation to a new height, a spa treatment is highly recommended. Hamilton offers both independent full-service day spas and those connected to high-end resorts. There’s no better way to finish off a day at the beach than with a body cocoon wrap, an aromatherapy massage, a luxurious bath soak or a full-body exfoliation. And for a complete mind-body-spirit rejuvenation, how about yoga classes, right on the beach? Enjoy stretching, meditating and relaxing while utterly immersed in the natural elements.
Walking with the wildlife
While we’re on the topic of exercise, Hamilton Island offers several excellent hiking trails. One of the most popular is the Passage Peak Walk. This takes you to the island’s very highest point. Not only will you get a good workout, you’ll also be rewarded with stunning views of the area, including its hill inlet and surrounding reef. What’s more, local wildlife frequents Passage Peak on a regular basis, so you can expect to have curious kangaroos, shy wallabies, giggling kookaburras and raucous cockatoos for company.
Rainbow Lorikeet in a Coral Tree
If that’s not enough, how about eating breakfast with Blinky Bill? At Hamilton Island’s Koala Gallery, you can not only learn all about the cutest non-relations to the bear in Australia, but also enjoy some toast and tea with them, too.
Hamilton Island Koalas
Explore your creative side
The daily demands of work and family mean that we don’t always find time to enjoy the release of the creative process. Even if you’ve never painted a picture, played an instrument or written a story before, you can get arty in Queensland. Hamilton Island is home to an artist-in-residence who spends time developing their work, as well as providing weekly art classes for interested guests. Both adults are children are catered for and you’re free to take your masterpiece home with you to show off your new-found talent to your friends.