As a part of the beautiful Whitsundays, and right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island is a one of a kind holiday destination. The island is a haven of natural beauty, featuring crystal clear waters, pristine white beaches, and a kaleidoscope of coral and marine life. It is one of these places that manage to instantly capture their visitors in a state of ultimate relaxation and contentment, that the time is just flying by. So many people aren’t doing too much exploring and honestly, they’d probably still have a great time just laying at the beach all day long soaking up the sun. But let me tell you that there is so much more to Hamilton Island and it’s surroundings, so many things you definitely should not miss out on!
Here’s a guide to the Top 10 things you must do on Hamilton Island:
1.Visit Whitehaven Beach
If you have read any of my other entries dealing with Whitehaven Beach you will already know how much I love this place! The crystal clear aqua waters and pleasantly cool pristine silica sand, the sand banks out in the water looking like a swirl of aquamarin and white and the beautiful fish and baby sharks floating through the waters. For me this is the epitome of paradise and it is a definite must-do for everyone lucky enough to visit the Whitsunday Islands!
2. See the sunrise at Passage Peak
So after the first must-do, that admittedly is not exactly one of the cheapest activities, let me go on with another absolute must-do, that in contrast won’t cost you anything -but sweat and tears on the way up. Just joking, actually it is a pretty moderate hike, with heaps of pretty views. If you save it up until your day of departure though and then have to get out of bed at 4 am after a huge night out to climb up there in the rain (the only time it rained during our whole stay as well) then we are talking about a whole new level of challenge. I know what I am talking about, cause that it is exactly what we did haha. Absolutely worth it though! The view, especially with the illumination of the sun rising above the ocean was just incredible. Also you get a much better imagination of the whole scheme of the Whitsunday Islands from up there, as you realise how many little islands there are all around.
3. Spend a day at one of the secluded beaches
On the way back from Passage Peak, you do pretty much (with a little bit of attention you can spot it though the trees) pass a beautiful secluded beach called Hideaway Bay. It is quite small and you have to make it over a few rocks before you get to the nicer sandy ground in the ocean, but it is very pretty and pristine and with a bit of luck you should be the only people around. Have a look around in the water as well, as usually you can spot little reef sharks in the shallow banks of the ocean. We have spotted some on the right end of the beach near the big rocks.
4. Go snorkeling with the turtles
The corals and marine life around the Whitsundays are part of the Great Barrier Reef and are simply amazing and the best thing about it is: If you are staying at Hamilton Island you can easily access a beautiful reef from the main beach. Just hire some snorkel gear at the Beach hut and swim out for a few hundred meters and there you are, right in the middle of it. Pretty fish, colourful corals and even turtles! Of course you will need some patience and maybe a little bit of luck to spot them, but the chances are on your side.
5. Spoil yourself with a nice dinner at the Marina
After all the hiking and snorkeling it is time to relax a bit and grand yourself a nice dinner. No better place to go than the Hamilton Island Marina. It’s not only where all the super expensive Yachts are anchored and the shopping is done, it also is the place where everything is happening at night and when the sun sets it evolves a very elegant and romantic atmosphere, with lots of restaurants and bars and even a nightclub. There definitely are a lot of great spots at the Marina but my absolute favourite was the Mariners Seafood Restaurant. If delicious food, perfect service, a great atmosphere and stunning views at the Marina and the sunset are what you are looking for this should be your choice.
6.Take your buggy on a scenic drive around the island
Another free opportunity that you should not miss is taking your buggy for a drive. All accommodation on Hamilton Island comes with a buggy that you can use as your own means of transport as much as you want. Make the most of it! Take it on a to to explore all the roads of the island – even, or especially the ones you do not know where they are leading to. There is so much to find, like a tiny little island school or a very storybook-like chapel on the top of a hill. And then there is the views, just beautiful, especially from up at One Tree Hill.
7. Enjoy drinks with a view at the One Tree Hill Bar
And now that you have already made it up to this amazing place, make sure that you make the most of it and get yourself a drink at the One Tree Hill Bar. A very special place right on the edge of the hill with breathtaking views over Catseye Beach and the ocean. Drinks are very yummy as well: The Apple Mojito and the Iced Berry Tea Cocktail were so good!
8. Hire some watersport equipment at Catseye Beach
Enough of the relaxation for now? Then you should definitely go down to the Beach Hut located at the western end of Catseye Beach and rent some of their watersports equipment. This includes catamarans, windsurf boards, stand up paddle boards and snorkeling gear. We have rented both the SPB’s and the catamarans several times and it always was so much fun! The catamarans are quite easy to handle after you have figured out how to navigate around, which makes it very relaxing to just cruise around and enjoy the sunshine and beautiful views from the water. The stand up paddle boards were my favourites though, they are a fair bit more challenging, engaging your whole body when you steer the paddle through the water (especially when speeding up a bit). But it definitely is a very nice way to workout, as the breeze and the splashing cool water makes it perfectly enjoyable. It’s a great way to get a good tan as well!
9. Participate at the activities and win lots of free stuff
Hamilton Island has a lot of weekly activities going on to keep it’s guests entertained, such as a Bowling and a Pool competition, a Buggy Rally and several Bingo evenings. These events are usually quite fun, but the best part of it is that there is a large chance to win prizes, starting from meal vouchers for the Hamilton Island restaurants up to activities like sunset kayak tours or ATV adventures for 2 people, valued around 150 AU$. Not bad, huh?
10. Visit the pool bar for happy hour
If you are getting a bit “thirsty” after a day spend at the beach, you should consider making the short way over to the Dolphin Pool (western side of Catseye Beach) and spoil yourself with a delicious cocktail from the pool bar. They are usually pretty expensive so try to get there between 3 and 4 pm for Happy Hour!