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Popular Destinations near Hamilton Island
Favourite Cities and Hotels in Australia

Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays, off the coast of north-eastern Australia. With gorgeous, palm tree-fringed beaches, quality restaurants and a relaxed vibe that is enhanced by the absence of traffic (hire a golf buggy to get around), Hamilton Island is perfect for both relaxing and playing.

Hamilton Island was the first stop on Oprah Winfrey’s Australian visit and she was blown away by the nearby Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach. And if you thought Oprah had the best job in the world, you obviously missed Hamilton Island’s ‘Best Job in the World’ promotion. One lucky guy got to live here (and get paid a stack of money for writing a weekly blog about sites like Coral Cove and Escape Beach). Come and be envious…

10. Hamilton Island Golf Club Actually situated on nearby Dent Island for those playing at home.

5. Passage Peak With so much water around, it can be easy to miss the beauty on the island itself, so why not hike to the highest point?

9. Go-Karting On the outdoor track, this is even more fun than the golf buggies!

4. Hamilton Island Wildlife Park Bounce with a kangaroo or cuddle with a koala. Breakfast with the animals here is a real treat.

8. Mangrove Flat This mangrove ecosystem is teeming with birds and marine life.

3. Catseye Beach Relax on a beachside lounge or partake in the many water sports, including windsurfing.

7. Resort Lookout Offers a great view of the main resort area, but be careful around the steep cliff faces.

2. Sailing Many beautiful coastlines make up the Whitsunday Islands – see how many you can visit.

6. Scuba Diving With the Great Barrier Reef on your doorstep, how will you decide where to jump in?

1. Whitehaven Beach Mile after mile of shimmering white sand, accompanied by crystal-clear water.

Taking place in May, the Hilly Half Marathon’s name gives you a clue about what you will come up against on the course.

In June, the Hamilton Island Cup attracts over 2,000 canoeing enthusiasts to compete in Australia’s foremost outrigger canoeing event.

The yachting festival Hamilton Island Race Week takes place in August. Over 100 yachts take to the water.

Every November the Hamilton Island Triathlon will see you swimming, riding and running. Or maybe just watching.

Throughout the year at changing intervals there is also the Great Barrier Feast, where you can watch culinary legends cook you a meal. The Australian Ballet also visits the island once a year.

April to June sees the best weather – warm temperatures and little chance of rain.

The most popular period is from October to December when the average temp is 28ºC (82ºF).

Summer can be very hot and is also peak jellyfish season. Full-body suits are available for snorkelers to avoid getting stung.

Visit our partner page Hamilton Island hotels by Hotel.com

As cars are banned for public use on the island, the easiest way to get around is to hire a golf buggy – so much fun!

A shuttle bus will also transport you to the main areas of the island, but we’ve all travelled on a bus before so our vote still goes to the golf buggy.

If you are only looking to relax around your hotel and the nearby beaches, a leisurely island stroll is perfect.

Hamilton Island Hotels

HotelClub

Hamilton Island Rundown

Hamilton Island, or ‘Hammo’ as it is affectionately known, is the personification of all the best bits about Australia. It’s the busiest and most popular of the 74 Whitsunday Islands off Queensland, and a part of the Great Barrier Reef -one of the seven great wonders of the world. You won’t be short of ideas for things to do here - from snorkelling and scuba diving around the reef, showing the world your aptitude for water sports, or maybe just lazing around showing off your aptitude for doing absolutely nothing – the choice is yours. You can recharge your batteries at the Spa Wumurdaylin – or stock up on designer wear at Qualia Boutique. ... Read more »

Hamilton Island is home to some of the most expensive real estate in Australia, with new developments cropping up everywhere - including the Great Barrier Reef Yacht Club, and some high rises. Privately owned by Rosemount Wines family, the Oatleys, the island has its own airport making it a main gateway for getting out to the reef and to the other islands.

Hamilton Island was one of the film locations for Muriel’s Wedding. But once you arrive, you’ll work out - quicker than you can say ‘Porpoise Spit’ - that Hamilton Island, unlike Muriel, is not terrible at all.

Hamilton's Island Top 10

10. Quad Bike Tours are a fun way to experience Hamilton Island’s forests with scenic trails and excellent photo ops.

5. Hamilton Island Wildlife Park Enjoy a barbecue breakfast with koalas. You get sausages, they only get gum leaves.

9. Hamilton Island Watersports is the place to head for if you like your fun water based, for cruises and fab activities including parasailing and speed boat adventures. On Front Street, Marina Village.

4. Coral Cove Just a short walk from the Palm Valley entrance, a peaceful and relaxing beach with great views of Lindeman Island.

8. H2O Sportz is an internationally recognised dive company – for scuba divers and snorkelers – with top class tuition.

3. Hamilton Island Air Get a helicopter or seaplane tour of the Whitsunday Islands – unmissable.

7. Escape Beach Does what it says on the tin. Clear waters lap white sandy shores. Need we say more?

2. Bushwalking. Explore the island and find the best picnic spots. Resort Lookout is an excellent intro and starts at the eastern end of Whitsunday Apartments.

6. Eugelia National Park Act like David Bellamy in the lush green rainforests just south of the Whitsundays.

1. Whitehaven Island is home to Whitehaven Beach. You couldn’t dream up sand this white. Take your sunglasses.

Hamilton Island History

  • Coalface Experience – You can get a glimpse of how coal mining was done back in the early days.
  • Ngaro Cultural Site – The Ngaros are an ancient tribe; their art still adorns the caves.
  • 246 Kent Street – An iconic building in Hamilton Island built by J H Bliss, a renowned watchmaker.
  • Anzac Square War Memorial – Dedicated to Australia’s military heritage.
  • Australian Workers Heritage Centre – This heritage centre commemorates the diligence of the Australians.

Hamilton Island Art & Culture

  • Great Barrier Feast – Taste the culinary creations of world-renowned chefs in this gourmet food and wine series midway through December to the middle of January.
  • Jungara Aboriginal Art Gallery – Learn about aboriginal art in this awe-inspiring gallery of Hamilton Island.
  • Australian Ballet – Be astounded with the wonderful performance of the Australian Ballet in Qualia.
  • David Oliver & Peter Eastway Photography Course – For those who have a third eye, you can enhance it with this workshop.
  • Foots Artworks – You can see how the items are actually made and appreciate the hard work given to each ornament.

Hamilton Island Shopping

  • Trader Pete’s – Shopping for souvenirs will not be a hassle if you locate this shop.
  • Australia the Gift Shop – If you are on a tight budget, take time to visit here for reasonably priced souvenirs.
  • Hamilton Island General Store – This is the answer to all your holiday needs. It has almost everything you need.
  • Tropical Beach Hut – Are you looking for some extreme finds? It has a myriad of quirky beach-themed wares and art.
  • Colour Me Crazy – Items purchased here are truly one of a kind, especially the eclectic sets of clothing and jewellery.

Gay & Lesbian Hamilton Island 

  • Qualia – A gay- and lesbian-friendly hotel in Hamilton Island. 
  • Panorama11 – A two-bedroom, gay- and lesbian-friendly apartment overlooking the beautiful beach.
  • Shine Nightclub – A famous gay and lesbian venue in Hamilton Island.
  • GuyZ Sauna & Spa – Located on Victoria Street, this is a gay-friendly spa with private rooms.
  • Hamilton Island Beach Club – One of Hamilton's gay- and lesbian-friendly accommodations.

Hamilton Island Outdoor

  • Great Barrier Reef – A scenic flight over the Great Barrier Reef is a magical experience. 
  • Hamilton Island Wildlife Park – You probably own a kangaroo plush toy; now you can actually cuddle the real thing. 
  • Safari Tours – Explore the land and the wildlife on this eco-friendly tour. 
  • Hamilton Island Beaches – It’s not every day that you get to see humpback whales up close. Season runs from June to September.
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  • Whitehaven Beach – You’ll never see another beach as pristine as this. 

Hamilton Island Sport

  • Book a court for a round of squash at The Sports Club.
  • Challenge yourself to a round on the world-class, par-71, 18-hole championship course of Hamilton Island Golf Club.
  • Join kayak tours and snorkel at Dent Island.
  • Don't miss snorkelling or scuba diving in the otherworldly coral canyons of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Wind surf along the white sand shores of Catseye Beach.

Hamilton Island Local

Hamilton Island is unique within the Whitsundays because it has numerous resort areas to explore and all of them are just a few minutes apart by golf buggy.

Passage Peak is a tough hike but getting to the top will be worth it – the views are nothing less than spectacular. It takes around an hour of hard walking from the Reef View Hotel on the north side of Hamilton Island, to the peak – Hill Top Viewing Area - and of course depends how fast you walk. If you’re feeling particularly energetic, you could attempt the 230 metre trail on mountain bike. When you get to the top, console yourself with the fact that the Reef View Hotel Pool Terrace restaurant is waiting for you at the bottom, ready to serve you a well deserved meal, or buffet breakfast if you’re an early bird. Or you can just head straight for the Reef Lounge for a cocktail.

Hamilton Island Marina is in the area known as Marina Village, or Front Street, which is where many restaurants and shops are located, as is the bank, post office, a supermarket and newsagents. Passenger ferry services are based here, with a ferry trip to Shute Harbour on the mainland around a 30 minute trip – and more than a dozen services daily. Hamilton Island Yacht Club is also located here and there’s a sumptuous ice cream parlour, Popeye’s Takeaway and the Marina Deli for your eating pleasure.

Catseye Beach is Hamilton Island’s main hub for water based fun – where a palm fringed stretch of white sand is your seaside playground. Many of the hotels are situated here including the Reef View Hotel, Whitsunday Apartments, and Palm Terraces. The Beach Club is also here. It’s worth noting that most of the swimming pools at the resorts are open for public use – unless they are the more exclusive resorts or at privately owned villas. Catseye is the main centre of nightlife too, with the Verandah Bar a great place for a long cool drink or an early evening cocktail. With the coral just a short paddle from the beach, snorkelling or scuba diving are perfectly easy to do from here. Or head out on a day trip to Reefworld for submarine rides, underwater PADI rides and snorkel safaris.

The north side of the island is home to the majority of the houses and private apartments, plus the island’s newest resort, Qualia. This is where Hamilton Island’s Sports Club is located, with a gym, tennis courts and fitness classes. Qualia is just a stone’s throw from Queensland’s coast and has two pools, a library bars and restaurants, as well as the Spa Qualia offering a range of luxurious treatments. Qualia is home to The Windward and Leeward Pavilions both offer breathtaking views of the Coral Sea.

Dent Island is to the west of Hamilton Island and home to Hamilton Island Golf Club – the only championship island golf course in Australia, but open to beginners as well as pros. The course is a par 71, 18 hole course – but it won’t be easy keeping your eye on the ball, because of the breathtaking panoramic views of the island and the Whitsundays on the way round. It’s just five minutes by ferry to golfing paradise and when you finish the 18th why not enjoy a drink or meal in the Hamilton Island Golf Clubhouse or shop for equipment in the Hamilton Island Pro Shop.

Hamilton Island – Eat & Drink

You won’t be disappointed by Hamilton Island if you like to dine out, since there are plenty of restaurants, cafes and pool bars at all the main resorts. From fine dining to takeaways, whatever takes your fancy, as well as a good few late night bars to enjoy a spot of stargazing on a warm evening. If you find you’re feeling the pinch a little (Hamilton Island is not renowned for being especially cheap) then you could always enjoy a takeaway or visit the Deli at the Marina.

Boheme’s Nightclub is perfect for a late night pick-me up (and a drink).

Bommie is the modern elegant face of fine dining at Hamilton Island Yacht Club.

Find modern Australian cuisine at the Beach Club Restaurant. Alfresco seafront dining at Hamilton Island’s Catseye Beach Club Resort.

The Steakhouse All snorkelled out? Then you deserve a steak grilled to perfection just how you like it. Located at Marina Side, Front Street. BYO wine for $15 a bottle.

Sail off into the sunset with canapés and drinks on the deck of the Denison Star which moors so you can enjoy a four course a la carte menu.

The Manta Ray Café is the place to go for gourmet pizza with a vista included, that of Hamilton Island Marina. Seafood a definite option too. One of the less expensive eateries on the island, but still around $28 a pizza!

Mariners Seafood lovers need dream no more. Local oysters, fresh fish and bounties from the sea, right in the heart of Hamilton Island’s Marina Village.

Toucan Tango Café and Bar is a chilled place to hangout, overlooking Catseye Beach. Drink, nibble and listen to jazz.

Long Pavilion at Qualia is perfect for a romantic meal overlooking the sea. Get networking though since its invitation only at this exclusive restaurant.

Enjoy a long lunch at Sails Restaurant at Catseye Beach. Family friendly beachside dining at this popular Hamilton Island diner.

Hamilton's Island Events

Outrigger Cup This yearly event takes place in June or July and takes place for the most part at Catseye Beach, Hamilton Island. Outrigging is a Hawaiian sport using canoes, if you didn’t know.

Big4 Adventure Whitsunday’s Sports Carnival Sailing, tennis, and soccer for the young and young at heart. Just a short trip from Hamilton Island in June.

Hamilton Island Race Week takes place in August. Hello Sailor! Yacht eye candy to droll over with billion dollar super yachts alongside small rented boats. This is the island’s premier event.

Whitehaven Day is the day the Yachts descend on Whitehaven Beach at the annual beach party – a Hamilton Island August event which should not upon any account be missed.

The annual Hilly Half Marathon takes place in May if you’re up for a challenge. Prizes and a kid’s fun run at this Hamilton Island based event.

The Great Barrier Feast Food & Wine Series Join celebrity chefs and step up your knowledge of haute cuisine at this Hamilton Island based food extravaganza during June and July.

The Australian Ballet comes to Hamilton Island, to Qualia in fact, during July and November at the Pas de Deux in Paradise events.

Fuji Hamilton Island Triathlon & Ocean Swim features three challenging events over eight days in November – join in the fun at the triathlon workshop too.

SB3 World Championships – Hamilton Island and the nearby Whitsunday waterways host the championships which feature Laser SB3’s or one-design Sports Yachts, captained by some of the best sailors in the world.

For a truly exceptional experience make sure to visit Hamilton Island during July to September to catch sight of the annual migration of the whales – awe-inspiring stuff.

When To Go

With its location just off the coast of North Queensland, Hamilton Island is probably best to visit during the dry season which runs from May to October.

Hamilton Island enjoys a year round tropical climate with temperatures throughout the year on average around 27.4 ͦC – with summer highs of 30°C or so. Winter temperatures are still warm at 23°C on average.

The rainiest time of year is February – which is also one of the ‘stinger seasons’ when the sea is full of jelly fish – although you can wear a stinger suit, this out of season time is not ideal.

What To Miss

Nearby Hook Island is home to the Coral Observatory – this was the project of a local businessman who wanted to build an underwater coral viewing station. Unfortunately he blew up the coral bed during the process. Today the observatory is not up to much, with fogged up windows just 30 cm wide for your ‘viewing pleasure’. Snorkelling is by far the better option if you are venturing here from Hamilton Island.

Hiring a buggy – prices start at $85 a day so try to book accommodation which includes the use of a one – you need a drivers licence to operate these – so don’t forget to bring it.

Feeding the cockatoos – these Hamilton Island inhabitants have delicate digestive systems which can’t cope with our food – also make sure to keep doors and windows closed to stop them nicking your stuff.

Getting Around

Getting to Hamilton Island is a breeze with direct flights from Sydney (two hours), Melbourne (three hours) and from Brisbane and Cairns just an hour. Passenger only ferries are another option – cars are barred from the island other than for trade.

Most transport needs are met with by a fleet of resident golf buggies which are available for rent (and often included in vacation packages).

There is also a public shuttle bus which travels between all the main destinations on the island, including the airport and most accommodation areas. The island is actually only 7 km long so walking is another option.


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The Lowdown on the Whitsunday Islands

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Whitsunday Apartments Hamilton Island
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3.9
out of 510 Reviews
14 Resort Drive Hamilton Island QLD 4803

Situated on the resort side of the picturesque Hamilton Island and overlooking the Coral Sea, Whitsunday Apartments Ha... More hotel details

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Reef View Hotel Hamilton Island
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12 Resort Drive Hamilton Island QLD 4803

Reef View Hotel Hamilton Island is light and airy resort with 386 rooms decorated in natural colours with muted sea bl... More hotel details

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Palm Bungalows Hamilton Island
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1 Hamilton Island Hamilton Island QLD 4803

The Palm Bungalows on Hamilton Island are delightful freestanding A-frame cabins set in lush tropical gardens. The tra... More hotel details

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Beach Club Hamilton Island
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9 Resort Drive Hamilton Island QLD 4803

The Beach Club on Hamilton Island is an intimate boutique hotel enclosed in tropical gardens and situated right on Cat... More hotel details

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