Hamilton IslandTravel Guide

A gem in Australia’s crown, Hamilton Island is one of the most desirable tourist destinations ‘Down Under’. Tucked between the Queensland Coast and the Great Barrier Reef, it’s the largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays – an archipelago of 74 tropical islands.  

A place of exceptional beauty above and below the water, ‘Hamo’, as it’s affectionately known, offers an escape that blends luxury and natural beauty. 
Upmarket accommodation and fine dining combine with pristine white beaches, the bluest of waters, a horizon dotted with lush green islets and the Great Barrier Reef on its doorstep. Whether you're a diver eager to explore the coral gardens, a couple seeking a romantic getaway, or a family wanting a slice of paradise, Hamilton Island is for you. 

Explore Hamilton Island

Where to stay in Hamilton Island?

With many luxury resorts available, your tropical island experience is guaranteed to be something special. But Hamilton Island also caters for regular budgets. Here are some great choices.

Holidaying with the family? Reef View Hotel has comfortable rooms with private balconies, a heated swimming pool and free food and board for children! There’s also a restaurant and bar on-site. Located opposite Catseye Beach, eateries, shops, and activities are near by. And when you’re ready to make a splash, enjoy the complimentary kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and snorkelling gear. 

Looking for an adults-only resort for a romantic getaway? Beach Club overlooking Catseye Beach is a gorgeous, exclusive boutique hotel with a private beach. Enjoy cocktails next to the infinity pool lined with palm trees, indulge in a deluxe couples’ spa treatment, and later, let the hotel to treat you to a candlelit dinner under the stars. There’s a complimentary chauffeur service, so you can explore the island on your own schedule. You can also take advantage of complimentary access to all non-motorised sports equipment, such as paddleboards, windsurfers and snorkelling gear.  

For an uber-luxurious stay on Hamilton Island, book at qualia. This exclusive resort (no guests under the age of 16) is situated on the northern tip of Hamilton Island and offers a front-row seat to the Whitsunday Islands. Indulge in fine dining, pampering at the spa and enjoy the perks of a VIP chauffeur service and a whole team attending to your every wish and whim.

Situated between Catseye Beach and the Marina Village surrounded by a tropical garden, Palm Bungalows ticks all the boxes for solo travellers, couples or families wanting accommodation that’s a little more low-key and private. Each charming bungalow has self-catering facilities, a balcony and a hammock (a lovely tropical island touch!) The pool and beach are also close by.  

Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

  • Whiteheaven beach, Whitsunday island, Queensland.
  • Whiteheaven beach, Whitsunday island, Queensland.
    Whiteheaven beach, Whitsunday island, Queensland.
    Whiteheaven beach, Whitsunday island, Queensland.

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Hamo may be an island but there’s plenty to do, whether you’re active or laid-back. Explore the fringing reefs beneath the waves or soar overhead in a seaplane; enjoy land sports or water sports; nature or leisure. Here are some inspiration starters: 

The famous Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef and one of the Seven Natural Wonders. And when you vacation in Hamo, this bucket-list destination’s right on your doorstep! There are many ways to see it, from snorkelling and diving tours to glass-bottom boat tours. The coral gardens support an abundance of marine creatures, so look out for turtles, manta rays, and pods of dolphins at play!  
For a once-in-a-lifetime experience, see the Great Barrier Reef from above. Several operators offer private scenic flights by helicopter or seaplane where you can also view the iconic Heart Reef – coral that has naturally shaped a heart. This is the only way to see the Heart Reef because of its protected status.

Get close to fascinating Aussie wildlife like kangaroos, koalas, dingoes, wombats and pademelons (mini kangas) at the Hamilton Island Wildlife Centre on the resort side of the island. Many other critters live here, from crocs and snakes to parrots. A popular venue with children and adults alike, there’s also a lovely café on-site. 

A five-minute boat ride from Hamo will get you to the ultra-private Dent Island, where you can tee off on Australia’s only 18-hole championship course. While golf certainly tops the agenda here, you can also kayak over the nearby fringing reefs or opt for an exciting deep-sea fishing excursion.  

Each year, during a week in August, excitement runs high as the Hamilton Island Race officially kicks off. It’s Australia’s largest offshore regatta, and if you’re a sailing enthusiast and you happen to be visiting at this time, it’s an experience not to be missed. But if sailing's not for you, plenty of bolt-on events will keep you entertained, including fashion shows and celebrity chef dinners.  

Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Flights to Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island food and drink

While there’s a strong emphasis on fresh seafood across Hamilton Island, you'll find other menu options and various cuisines. From fine dining to casual, there’s an eatery for you!  

Coca Chu overlooking Catseye Beach specialises in a wide selection of Vietnamese and Thai cuisine inspired by Southeast Asian street food. The menu is made to be shared, and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun. We recommend the seafood platter, sesame chicken stir-fry, or the Massaman curry, but there are also meat-free options. Oh, and the cocktails are legendary! Open daily from 5:30pm to 9pm, it’s the ideal spot for sundowners, followed by dinner.  

Want to dine among the yachting elite? The Hamilton Island Yacht Club, an architectural wonder facing the Whitsunday Islands, is home to the award-winning Bommie Restaurant. Pairing breathtaking ocean views with contemporary Australian cuisine, fine wine and a vibey atmosphere, it’s no wonder people come here to celebrate special occasions – or simply to be seen. 

Sometimes, a quick and tasty takeaway really hits the spot. And for fresh seafood to go, there’s nowhere better than Popeye’s Takeaway. Situated next door to Bob’s Bakery, this authentic little takeaway serves the most delicious grilled or battered fish and chips and baskets of prawn cutlets and squid rings.  

When you’re in the mood for Italian cuisine, book a table at Romano’s. Located at the Hamilton Island Marina, this fine-dining restaurant serves fresh seafood tagliatelle, gnocchi Bolognese, decadent tiramisu and more. It hits the sweet spot for date nights or meals with friends and family.  

Love your carbs? Bob’s Bakery has it all – flaky croissants, delicious bread and sweet treats. Load the beach basket with their sandwiches, or how about a gorgeous cake if you’re celebrating a special milestone? Find Bob’s Bakery at the Hamilton Island Marina. 

Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Hamilton Island through your eyes

Where to shop in Hamilton Island?

If you want to squeeze in some shopping on vacation, you’re in luck. Most resorts have their own boutiques, plus there are many gift shops and galleries to browse through.   

The shopping hub on the island is the Marina Village, which offers a selection of boutique stores and other retailers. Coffee and ice cream pit stops are highly recommended while shopping! 

Head to the Hamilton Island Resort Boutique if you’re after designer brands or pop in at the much-loved Trader Pete’s to pick up a few necessities. This wonderful general store also stocks souvenirs, gifts and a wide range of books and magazines.  

If you need a new beach bag or want to buy local swimwear, head to The Hut. This local outlet is well-stocked with everything from sarongs and sunscreen to watches and yes, swimwear.  
Take a break from shopping to stop by the Hamilton Art Gallery. Exhibiting a diverse collection of artworks created by Aussie artists, handcrafted jewellery and beautiful décor items are also for sale here. 

For clothing and merchandise featuring the Hamo logo, make your way to Hamilton Island Designs. You’ll also find some international brands stocked here, like Calvin Klein. 

Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Hamilton Island?

The climate of Hamilton Island is subtropical, meaning good weather year-round with clear skies and loads of sunshine. Ideal beach weather! The summer months are December, January and February, and temperatures average around 30°C (86°F). Showers arrive and leave quickly, so they shouldn’t dampen your plans.  

If you prefer cooler weather with low humidity, June is the first winter month, with temperatures around 24°C (75.2°F). July and August are also part of the winter season; while it can rain, it's not chilly. Across the three months, the maximum winter temperatures are around 23°C (73.4°F). 

So, when’s high season? With the Australian school vacations over December, this is always a popular time of year for Hamilton Island. The island is abuzz, and resort rates are high, but plenty of activities are geared towards families. Most days are hot and balmy. 

The best time to visit Hamilton Island to snap up a few deals and dodge the crowds would be low season, which runs from mid-January to March as things quieten down.  

Don't miss out. Book your flight today!

How to get around Hamilton Island

The island is car-free – what a pleasure – giving it a relaxed vacation feel every day. This makes exploring the island on foot pleasant and easy. On the resort side, you can simply walk out of your accommodation and come across some great attractions, restaurants and bars. 

If you want to see more of Hamilton Island at your own pace, scooting around on a golf buggy is a lot of fun. They're easy to drive and kitted out with headlights if you drive at night. Ask to hire one of these four-seaters when you book your accommodation Alternatively, you can pre-book one on the island’s official website.  

Despite the car-free rule, there’s one exception. The authorities have kindly made a complimentary island shuttle service available. These hop-on-hop-off vehicles travel between various shuttle stops and operate daily between 6.50am and 11pm. The Blue Shuttle is on a timed loop while the Green Shuttle runs between the Resort Centre and Marina Village. 

Let us help you organize your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

What are the best beaches in Hamilton Island?

If there’s one thing Hamo has no shortage of, it’s sun, sea and sand. A bonus is that you can combine a bush walk with your beach day as several beaches can be reached by taking the aptly named Scenic Trail. But with so many gorgeous beaches, how do you choose your spot? Easy! Here’s our shortlist of the best beaches in Hamilton Island: 

Catseye Beach is Hamo’s iconic beach, but it never feels overcrowded, even during the high season. The beach is right in front of the prominent hotels and resorts, but it's easy to get to, even if you're staying elsewhere. Picture-perfect with turquoise water, white sand and palm trees, you can explore the sand flats at low tide or go snorkelling. Hire paddleboards, windsurfers and catamarans from Hamilton Island Beach Sports or grab a sun lounger or hammock.  

As its name suggests, name suggests, this is a peaceful, hidden haven with an almost empty beach. The trail to get here is also from the Scenic Trail entrance, and it's flat, so it's easy to navigate with all your beach gear and supplies. The stunning, long stretch of sand offers an exceptional view of the Whitsunday Islands, and there's a coral reef for the snorkellers to explore.  

Coral Cove is a lovely, secluded beach on the island's southern side. To reach it, head off on a bush walk that starts at the Scenic Trail entrance off Resort Drive. From there, you'll go up the hill on a well-marked trail and through a forest before you get to the cove. Enjoy the tranquillity of the beautiful beach and have fun (and photo opportunities) on the giant wooden swing! It is a perfect picnic spot with picnic tables available, but a heads up that it becomes a shallow bay at low tide with almost all the water "washed out". Great for the kids to play and find seashells, but not so much if you came here to swim!

Picture the beach of your dreams – that's Whitehaven Beach! Although not on Hamilton Island, we've included it because it's only a 30-minute catamaran ride away. Pristine with the most incredible snow-white sand, it’s easy to see why Whitehaven has won accolades, such as the world’s top eco-friendly beach and Queensland’s cleanest.  


The current requirements for travelling to Hamilton Island

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