28 AUG - 2022
Having family on a tropical island sure has its benefits.
When I was 17 my dad packed up and headed for paradise, namely Hamilton Island, Australia - not to be mistaken as Hamilton, New Zealand. Every holiday I would jump on a plane and spend a week lazing by the pool and trying (as best as one very pasty girl could) to get a tan.
One holiday, I even boarded the plane 4 hours after my school ball, full makeup and all. And there was that time I upgraded myself to Business Class, got a little drunk in the Brisbane lounge with a rugby team and left my passport on the plane!
Anyway, Hamilton Island became like a second home to me. I’ve explored all the resort pools, taste tested the various cuisines and been lucky enough to head out on many of the boat tours, thanks to Dad’s job. The island almost feels like a little something out of a movie. Everyone drives golf buggies, you hardly see staff (they have their own staff bar and hidden accommodation) and it’s a surreal level of picturesque.
Hamilton Island sits in the clearest water, with white sandy beaches, endless swimming options and the perfect location to visit The Great Barrier Reef.
As a self appointed Hamo-expert I’ve compiled the best hit list for your next trip to Queensland.
Catseye Beach Watersports
I was always lucky enough to have private accomodation with dad, but over my many trips, I toured around the different hotels on the island. I think it’s safe to say that nothing comes cheap on a luxury island, but it sure is worth it.
If budget is no option, always opt for Qualia. The adults only resort sits at the far end of the island. Each private villa has a small plunge pool and looks out over the Whitsundays. You seriously can’t beat it.
If you’re tossing up between a classic resort hotel (Reef View Hotel) or hiring private AirBnb style accommodation, it’s important to note that there is a ‘Main Pool’ area available to everyone on the island, regardless of their accomodation!
Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef
It’s not a trip to the Whitsundays without a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. On the trip out to a snorkelling site, you’ll pass by all the islands within the Whitsundays, which is just incredible! You can’t beat the incredible sea life you’ll swim with - even after going a few times, I still catch something new!
For those with the budget, you can helicopter out to the reef and enjoy your own luxury pontoon to snorkel from - super lush!
Walk up Passage Peak
If you’re visiting in summer - beware of the semi-unfit GF who will complain the entire way up (spoiler alert, that was me). Start the walk early and follow the trail to the highest point of the island to catch the best view back across Catseye Beach.
Eat at Cocachu
My dad’s lovely partner took me here the first time I visited, and from then on out, Cocachu became a regular on my to-do list. To be honest, the food on the island can be a bit meh, (as with most resorts) but this Asian fusion restaurant always hits the mark. Book early and ask for a table on the waterfront for the best sunset views.
Long Lunch at Dent Island
Even if you’re not into golf, don’t miss taking a trip to Dent Island. The degustation lunch with a golf course tour is high on my list of interesting dining experiences. Your day will be full of incredible vistas and local fine dining. My tip: order a cocktail when you arrive so you can take it on your golf course tour!
Sunset Cocktail Sailing
Can you tell all my holidays circle around the best places to eat and drink? Explore Group hosts sunset catamaran sails with all beverages included in the price and they’re paired with the best cheese & fruit platter. You could say it’s a little romantic.
The jewel in the Whitsundays crown. If you’ve ever pictured a beach with the softest white sand - Whitehaven is it. A few different tours take you out for a beach day and snorkelling. I am biased and deem Explore Group’s catamaran trip to be the best. It's a little more boutique than the bigger boats that make the trip!
'- Hamilton Island has an open liquor licence! So you can take a few bottles of wine, pick up some cheese & crackers from the local supermarket and head to the Main Pool for the afternoon.
- Take your drivers licence and hire a golf buggy. As the only private transport, you’ll want to jump on your buggy and tour the island!
- Be prepared for the cost. The whole island is just one giant resort, so wherever you go, be prepared for inflated prices. To save a little dough, you can always shop at the Aldi Supermarket.
- Golf buggy hires can get expensive. I was lucky to have one at my own disposal, but to save on the cost, group together the days you will want to explore the island or head further than the resort to the beach.