It's been a while since I explored northern Queensland and I am actually dying to go back. How dreamy would it be to visit Hamilton Island, one of the Whitsunday Islands that sits close to the Great Barrier Reef?

This post comes from Brian and Kris from Gadsventure, who have been visiting Hamilton Island for years. Their family of 6 loves to travel and camp, and they educate their kids through exploration and experience. Actually pretty enviable and inspirational to see them homeschooling their kids from the road. Enjoy!

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Why Now Is The Best Time To Visit Hamilton Island

The weather is dreamy and tropical, the water is the perfect refreshing temperature and the spring time vibe is chilled.

The island is easily accessible from the North Queensland mainland via Airlie Beach, and even has its own airport which links you to the rest of Australia.

This incredibly beautiful place will appeal to absolutely everyone. And the coolest part about it is the fact that it is affordable too!

Hamilton is one of those rare islands where you can really slow down and enjoy the Pacific Ocean vista from the swim up pool bar and sip a cocktail while you plan your next activity. The pace is super relaxed or super fun, whatever your style.

We are lucky enough to be locals who visit Hamilton Island regularly, so we have a great insight into the place from all angles.

Read on to discover why Hamilton Island should be at the top of your destination list.


8 Reasons Why You Need To Visit Hamilton Island

1. Hamilton Island Truly Caters To Everyone

One of my favourite things about Hamilton Island is that no matter who you are, you can find your place in the sun.

From the swankiest 5-star Qualia Resort and the spectacular architecturally designed Hamilton Island Yacht Club all the way to the resort-style Palm Bungalows, self-contained Frangipani Beach Apartments, studio Reef View Hotel rooms and everything in between, every accommodation style can be found here.

Rent an entire private house with 300-degree Passage views for a group of friends or extended family, or a stylish self-contained villa with a golf buggy and a pool, or enjoy the privacy of a studio in the Resort towers for that romantic weekend away.

2. The Spectacular Resort Inclusions

As a frequent traveller, I absolutely adore getting added value.

With that in mind you can’t go past resort accommodation that includes deals like kids under 12 eat free! That is such a great saving, especially if you are anything like me, and travel with a bunch of kids. Many of the different accomodation styles also include a free golf buggy for use too! More on the golf buggies later…

Resort stays will usually come with a free ferry transfer from the mainland so make sure you check all your inclusions before paying for unnecessary tickets. Free valet transfers from the airport or ferry terminals to your resort or apartment are usually included too.


3. The New Supermarket

A recent addition to the Island village is the fantastic new IGA and bottle shop which makes self-catering a breeze and with prices not much different from the mainland, you no longer have to bring everything with you.

This truly goes a long way of making a famous place like Hamilton Island more affordable for everyone.

4. The Drinking And Dining

The dining opportunities on the Island are plentiful and there are some famous cocktails with a view just waiting to meet you up on One-Tree Hill!

Visit the poolside bar for a quick low-key snack and swimming up for a tasty beverage beachside is definitely a Hamilton Island highlight. Don't forget your Hamilton Island Lanyard for the kids-eat-free deal.

Hopefully you have time to sample the amazing food at some of the places below:

  • Beach Club Restaurant
  • Coca Chu
  • Manta Ray
  • Marina Tavern
  • Pool Terrace
  • Romanos
  • Sails
  • Tako

Phone ahead for group bookings and reservations, especially important during holidays.

For cheaper more budget options or a tasty lunch on the go, you can head down to the marina area and grab some traditional fish and chips from Popeye's, a crusty pie from Bob's Bakery, a hot coffee from the Marina Cafe and Takeaway or an ice cream from the Island’s popular Ice cream Parlour.

5. It’s So Easy To Get There

The modern and fully equipped facility at Hamilton Island’s Great Barrier Reef Airport (HTI) handles daily direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns, operated by Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Qantas.

Prices start at around $600 return from Sydney and take under 3 hours each way. Alternatively, flying into nearby Proserpine airport (PPP) with Tiger Airways may be a cheaper option.

We recently spent 5 days on the Island with family and friends. For us, Hamilton Island is only a short distance away so we opted to drive to Airlie Beach, park the car and catch the ferry across. Our apartment rental this time included a golf buggy and valet transfers but not the ferry.

The ferry from Port of Airlie costs A$62 for an adult and A$40 dollars for a child one way. Infants under 4 are free and tickets can be booked online or can be purchased at the terminal on the day of departure. The boats are big enough that you should always get a ticket on the day except on popular holidays.

With hourly departures, the ferry is super convenient and is a stunning 90 minute cruise through the azure waters of the Whitsunday Islands to get to your ultimate holiday destination. Unless the weather is windy, the waters of the passage are fairly calm and the big catamaran glides effortlessly and quite smoothly along. There is a bar on the boat for refreshments and toilet facilities too.


6. Golf Buggies

This is the coolest gimmick at Hamilton Island! Uniquely, apart from the few staff vehicles operating on the island, and the environmentally friendly shuttle bus, everybody cruises around in these groovy electric powered golf buggies.

This really adds an extra element of fun to your stay here. If you’ve got nothing better to do, just go for a spin on your special little cart and find a good time somewhere. You can go anywhere on the island unless signed otherwise so it is a great opportunity to explore the place and check out the water views from every angle.

Just don’t forget to charge them up overnight, and remember that they will be de-activated by security if you are out after 2am. Normal drink-driving rules still apply.

Since 2018, baby carseats are now a legal requirement for passengers younger than 4 years. Feel free to BYO – normal carseats are compatible for golf buggy use.

Otherwise your accommodation agent or valet will organise hire. If your cart isn’t included in your stay, you will need to book one in advance as they all book out in busy periods or during cruise ship visits.


Photo credit: @jeremygawne

7. There Is So Much Entertainment!

There is so much to do on this brilliant island, you and your family will never be bored. Or you could also relax and do absolutely nothing at all.

Poolside Bliss

Just spread out your stripy resort towel in a prime position and unwind. There are plenty of prime spots by Bougainvillea pool, Main pool, Sails pool, Reef View Hotel pool, or your private villa onsite pool to enjoy.

The big deep pool in front of the resort actually used to have dolphins in it in the old days, and you would watch them play and frolic while you had lunch but obviously, times have changed and this is no longer appropriate.


After your poolside relaxation session, get yourself some real down time at one of the Island’s luxurious spas. Spa Wumurdaylin and Spa Qualia are highly recommended sumptuous experiences.


Check out some of the beautiful boutique island stores and get decked out in your favourite resort wear fashion brands or browse some fresh home decor, island style of course.


There are some decent walks for all fitness levels around Hamilton Island that take you to magnificent lookouts and secluded beaches. Just remember to pack some water and tell someone where you are going.


Enjoy a cruise out to the surrounding islands and explore all the natural beauty they have to offer, visit Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet and Whitsunday Peak. Take a trip out to Heart Reef or go snorkelling, there are a million ways to explore the magical Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef from Hamilton Island.


Non-motorised water sports are included in most resort bookings. These include:

  • Catamaran sailing
  • Kayaking
  • Windsurfing
  • Standup paddle boarding
  • Snorkeling
  • Jetryder tours
  • Parasailing
  • Jetski tours
  • Tube riding

Check out all the rental gear and water sports lessons over at Catseye Beach on the Eastern side of the island.

More fun for all ages that can be found on Hamilton Island:

  • Go-karting
  • Quad bike hire
  • Wildlife Park
  • Mini golf
  • 9-pin Bowling
  • Arcade games
  • Shopping

Kids Club

If all this is too much and the kids are starting to drive you crazy you can always just leave them at the Clownfish Club and have some kid-free relaxation time by the pool. The kid’s club caters to kids of all ages from 6 weeks to 14 years old and has a huge range of fun activities to keep them occupied.

8. Golf at Dent Island

Dent Island is a world-class golf course which is only a short island hop away from Hamilton Island Marina on a boat and is literally shaped like a giant golf ball.

Enjoy commanding views from every hole on this challenging and rewarding course while navigating the winding paths around the 18 holes all the way to the best club house in the world.

Tee-off times need to be booked in advance but the fees are so worth it, even if you’re not a golfer like me. You can just visit the clubhouse for lunch as an alternative. If you bring your own clubs it only costs A$110 for 9 holes or A$160 for 18 including transfers and buggy hire. Golf club hire is A$40 extra.

Pro tip: Bring plenty of spare balls. Unless you are Tiger Woods, chances are you will lose a few on the steep cliffs and deep ocean fissures you aim to dodge along the way.


When To Visit Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island and the Whitsunday Islands in North Queensland is a great place to visit year round but is especially perfect in the cooler months between April and October. The water is blue and refreshing, the temperature is perfect for lying in the sunshine making it an ideal escape from Australia’s southern states.

During the summer months you may encounter venomous jellyfish such as box and irukandji and so have to approach water sports with caution and wear full length body ‘stinger’ suits for protection.

Summer is also when cyclones and inclement weather may occur thanks to Hamilton’s Island tropical location so to avoid your plans going awry, aim for the middle of the year instead.

Whether you are a couple looking for a romantic getaway, a group of friends on a world tour, a family with kids of any ages, or on the hunt for the perfect place for a location wedding, a honeymoon, baby moon or birthday party, there is something for you at Hamilton Island.

Put it on your ‘to-visit’ list today!

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