From Beach To Bush: Your Definitive Guide To Hamilton Island
Everything you need to know about one of Australia's best islands.
Hamilton Island. The name breathes escape and laid back adventure. It’s one of the most stunning destinations on earth, and it’s right here waiting for us to experience it in our own backyard. For decades, Hamilton Island has been considered the jewel of the Whitsundays: a tropical haven like no other. And while you might think it’s all piña coladas and sunbathing here – and these are definitely a couple of prime possibilities – there’s a lot more to the place than that.
Here’s our definitive Hamilton Island guide on the best things to do, from snorkelling and surfing, to sailing and beyond (and a decent dose of beach lazing in between)
If we had you at “beach lazing”, you may as well relish in what you love best. Go in for one of Hamilton’s smoothest beachside experiences at Catseye, the island’s go-to golden strip. It’s calm, turquoise waters take sunsets to a new level – the perfect spot for snorkelling, swimming, and gentle relaxation under the gaze of the glorious Queensland sun.
Hamilton Island Buggy Rally
Ensconced in bushland and girt by coral reef, Hamilton Island is a car-free reserve, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get around by engine power. To mix up those epicurean jaunts by the beachside, consider exploring Hamilton by golf buggy, rentable from the island’s on-site Sports Club.
If you’re keen to up the ante a little, the Club also runs a daily Buggy Rally (more “scavenger hunt” than off-road thrill ride). In teams of four, a series of questions will take you to all corners of the island, an ideal way to explore everything it has to offer. As a bonus incentive, first, second and third place receive prizes the following morning.
It wouldn’t be a Hamilton Island guide without talking about sports in the water.
Watersport lovers unite! If nothing else, Hamilton is a water activity wonderland. Whether the thrill of sea kayaking takes your fancy, stand-up paddle boarding or windsurfing, or even something more super-charged like jet skiing, this island has you covered. Slow-paced, adrenaline-fuelled, or somewhere in between, there’s an activity for all skill levels and interests on Hamilton.
Living temporarily in paradise is never complete without a solid underwater session with the tropical marine life. Offering some of the cleanest and purest waters on earth, Hamilton is the perfect spot for a little snorkelling action. An aquatic playground like no other, go at your own pace along Catseye Beach, or head for the Reef with one of the island’s all-inclusive snorkelling and diving tours.
Bushwalking Hamilton Island
As well as a stunning beach coastline, Hamilton’s inner is blessed with amazing hidden coves, elevated forest nooks and countless picnic spots. Offering a diverse mix of challenging and novice trails, throw those hiking boots on and explore the island’s wildlife, native flora and breathtaking reserves. It might be the busiest island in the Whitsundays, but a secluded trek on foot will have you believing anything but.
Passage Peak Walk
If you do happen to opt for an extended wander, make sure Passage Peak Walk is up there on your to-do list. A magnificent outdoor experience, Passage Peak isn’t the easiest of trails (largely due to its considerable climb), but its sweeping vantage over Pentecost Island and the Lindeman Group is well worth the effort.
But who wants to spend their whole trip sweating it out when they could be doing the very opposite? Luxury sailing is perhaps the best and most decadent method for experiencing the glories of Hamilton and the Whitsundays.
Save those calories and kick back in uber-luxurious style on your very own luxury sailing cruise. Numerous operators offer charter packages with a range of catamarans, yachts and cruisers – the absolute best way to see the island’s most spectacular stretches.
Hamilton Island overnight cruises
Add the gloriousness of a day’s sailing to a night under the unperturbed magnificence of the evening stars. Overnight cruises and ‘reefsleep’ experiences make for an even more romantic and intimate encounter with the Great Barrier Reef and Hamilton’s surrounding nooks. A night on the water is an unforgettable Whitsunday experience.
Swing some sticks
Stick-swingers from novice to expert will relish in a quick 9 or leisurely 18 at Hamilton Island’s world-class golf course. The work of five-time British Open winner, Peter Thomson, the elevated Hamilton links are located adjacent Dent Island and offer incredible vistas of the greater Whitsundays. This is a golf course that even non-golfers will love. (As an alternative, be sure to smash a few round ones at the adjoining driving range).
You can’t have a Hamilton Island guide without mentioning this incredible (and incredibly famous) beach. Let your imagination travel here for a minute: seven kilometres of pure, white sand, a curled coast of water so fresh, so crisp, so pure that you’re sure you must be the first to ever touch it. If the Whitsundays are what dreams are made of, then Whitehaven Beach is a dream from which you never wake.
Accessible from Hamilton by boat, seaplane or chopper, this strip has collected a mighty share of international accolades in recent years, largely for its eco-friendly treatment. Perhaps the best part of all is that your feet won’t cook when you’re walking on it – the sand’s 98% pure silica not only gives the beach its white hot glow, but it prevents retention of the sun’s heat. Did we mention that it’s also out-of-this-world beautiful?
Our Hamilton Island guide gives you just a taste of what there is to do. Given its incredible location and reputation, was there ever any question about its ability to deliver? What are you waiting for? Book those flights and charter your boats right away.
(All images: Hamilton Island unless otherwise specified)