Hamilton Island is part of Queensland’s amazingly scenic Whitsunday Islands, which are roughly halfway between Brisbane and Cairns. Both Jetstar and Virgin fly there direct from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. We paid $150 each way from Sydney on a promotional deal.
Catamaran on Catseye Beach
There are two basic accommodation options if you are planning a Hamilton Island Holiday, you can stay at a hotel or resort, or rent a holiday house. I recommend the Reef View Hotel if you can find a good deal, the balcony rooms overlooking Catseye Beach are spectacular.
If you are planning to stay on the island for more than a few nights or with more than a few people, a holiday house or apartment might be better suited. These are usually cheaper and roomier, but often further away from the main beach or harbour area.
When shopping around for a holiday residence I suggest booking one that comes with its own golf buggy, which is the main way to get around the island, apart from mini buses and walking.
Catseye Bay Beach
There are many attractions on and near Hamilton Island. Catseye Bay is the main beach on the island, and features many activities including snorkelling on the reef just of the beach, kayaking, and sailing a catamaran.
The main resort pool, which is a good size and has a wet bar you need to swim to, appears to be open to all beachgoers.
Away from the beach, the Marina is the where most of the restaurants and shops are. You can walk from the beach or jump on the free shuttle bus if your legs are tired from swimming.
Storm near Henning Island
There are some great day trips available from Hamilton Island. The Great Barrier Reef is not too far away, around 45 minutes by fast boat. Quicksilver has a platform anchored directly on the reef which makes for an interesting day out.
Activities including snorkelling, and scuba diving are available, as well as glass bottom boat and submarine rides all give you close up views of the colourful reef and semi tame fish, including large resident gropers.
There is also a day trip run out to Whitehaven beach, renowned for its clean white sands. The world famous beach is on uninhabited Whitsunday island, a short boat ride from the marina.
Both trips include delicious buffet lunches.
If you are like me and prefer to explore places outside of tours, one option that might appeal is to rent a fishing boat. We hired a small boat for four hours and headed north to Henning Island. On the way we saw a large turtle, and a pod of dolphins in the distance, but had no luck with the fish.
Our luck deteriorated further when we reached Henning, a small National Park island you can camp on. The steering rod on our boat broke, so we were actually stranded on a deserted island for a few hours until someone came out and repaired it for us.
They were nice enough to extend our rental period for the rest of the day, so we motored over to the channel between Whitsunday and Hamilton Island and fished the fast moving water as it run out with the tide.
We thoroughly enjoyed our Hamilton Island holiday, and would recommend it as a holiday destination, especially if you can find a cheap travel deal which are common during the off season.
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