Top 6 Things to Do on Hamilton Island
Hamilton Island, one of the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays just off the Queensland coast, is one of Australia’s most popular tourism destinations. If you haven’t been to Hamilton Island before, here are six things not to miss. Between kayaking, sunset cocktails and more, you may wish you never had to leave.
1. Visit Whitehaven Beach
First on anyone’s bucket list is Whitehaven Beach -- and for good reason too. It was voted Australia’s #1 beach in TripAdvisor’s Travellers’ Choice Awards. To get there you’ll need to join a cruise, charter a boat, or get on a seaplane or helicopter. The 30-minute boat trip from Hamilton Island is well worth the journey -- you’ll be rewarded with views of a brilliant white strip stretching over seven kilometres. The sand is so pure, even geologists aren’t quite sure how it got that way, and it doesn’t retain heat, so you can walk barefoot along the beach no matter how hot the weather.
2. Dine with a view of the water
Whether you’re looking for a long, casual lunch or dinner with fine wine, Hamilton Island offers a world of choice for foodies. Situated in the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, the island's signature restaurant Bommie is the go-to for modern Australian fine dining, featuring an array of fresh, locally sourced produce. Fans of south-east Asian cuisine should dine at coca chu, overlooking Catseye Beach. Executive Chef Adam Woodfield helms the kitchen, serving up dishes like steamed pork belly buns with hoi sin sauce and Sichuan pickled cucumber with relaxed Australian flair. Check out the menu here. Did we mention that kids stay and eat for free if you're staying at these hotels? The deal applies to children up to 12 years of age dining with their parents at selected partner restaurants.
3. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
Getting up close and personal with the world’s largest coral reef -- one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of the World” -- is a must-do on the bucket list. Did you know that the Great Barrier Reef is Earth’s only living organism visible from space? Snorkel and dive tours from Hamilton Island let you explore the pristine waters, marine life and coral formations.
Water-based activities don’t stop there. You can also go on a cruise, sail a yacht, or simply lounge by one of the many island pools. If you're staying at the Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows, or any rental from Hamilton Island Holiday Homes, all non-motorised sports are complimentary -- a perfect opportunity to hone your paddle boarding or kayaking skills.
4. Drive a buggy like Oprah
Buggies are the main mode of transport on Hamilton Island, and hiring one is a great (and fun!) way to get out and about and explore at your own pace. Even Oprah Winfrey drove one around the island when she visited in 2010. You could take one on a "Buggy Rally," an app-based challenge that gets you to tour the island while responding to trivia. Each correct answer to a question leads you to a new point of interest on the circuit. Buggies can be hired on an hourly, half-day or daily basis. They’re easy to drive and manoeuvre, but you must be at least 21 years old and hold a current driver’s license.
5. Get pampered with native Australian products
Holidays are the perfect time to relax and unwind -- why not get a massage or facial at one of the island’s luxurious day spas? Spa Wumurdaylin uses organic Australian native plants, pure essential oils and no artificial fragrances, so you know you are in good hands. The menu includes body cocoon wraps, facials, massage and body treatments; if you’d like to pre-book, you can do so online.
6. Sip on a cold martini as the sun goes down
You can’t beat sunset cocktails whilst on Hamilton Island. Pick a bar, make an order and let nature do the rest. Perched on a hilltop, One Tree Hill Lookout has some of the best views over the Whitsundays and is a great spot to end your day. Another favourite is Bommie Deck, an outdoor bar located along the water's edge of the Marina. It’s perfect for turtle spotting; keep an eye out and you may see one swim by. Or maybe you would prefer to experience a sunset cruise. This one includes a cocktail, appetisers and a three-course dinner; there’s even a viewing deck for stargazing after your meal. Ready to book a holiday to Hamilton Island? Check out this offer including four nights at the Reef View Hotel with breakfast and free 48-hour buggy hire.