Whether you’re on your honeymoon or holidaying with family, Hamilton Island is the perfect holiday destination not too far from home.
Located in the heart of the Whitsunday Islands off the Queensland coast, Hamilton Island is home to a fantastic selection of holiday accommodation, restaurants, boutiques, natural wonders and activities.
My husband and I first visited the island about five years ago on our honeymoon and recently returned for a proper family holiday with our son.
While both trips were for different reasons the end results were the same – we had memorable holidays on a beautiful island with minimal effort. To make it even easier for you, I wanted to share a few tips and recommendations from both of our trips.
Flights: Both times we flew with Virgin Australia from Canberra to Hamilton Island via Sydney. With a travel time of about an hour between Canberra and Sydney and 2 hours 20 minutes between Sydney and Hamilton Island, it’s a very easy trip.
- Couple trip in 2013: When we first flew to Hamilton Island the only option was Virgin Australia; Qantas didn’t start direct flights until 2014. We flew back from Proserpine Airport on the mainland because we ended the trip with a few days in Airlie Beach.
- Family trip in 2018: Not only were the flights affordable but we had great experiences on all four flights with staff who were very helpful and made our son’s first flights easier than I could have ever hoped. We upgraded to Economy X on the return flight for not much extra, to get the benefit of a bit more leg room and closer seats to the front of the plane so we could easily disembark (which was useful when Aidan decided to fall asleep on me as we were landing).
Accommodation: Hamilton Island offers quite a mix of accommodation options, but for both trips we chose to hire a self-contained townhouse. We went for holiday homes over the hotels and resort to get a bit more space, the benefit of a kitchen and a laundry, and for the included golf buggy which is the primary mode of transportation on the island.
- Couple trip in 2013: We stayed in one of the Shorelines Apartments on our honeymoon, which is on the Marina side of the island, which means incredible sunsets every night. The apartment was a fantastic multi-level two-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse with a full kitchen and a laundry, as well as two balconies. We really enjoy our apartment and loved the benefit of having a buggy to explore the island.
- Family trip in 2018: We decided to stick with a holiday home for this trip and booked a two-storey two-bedroom, three-bathroom townhouse in the Pinnacle Apartments complex. The apartments also looked west but sits higher up the hill, within walking distance of the One Tree Hill bar and incredible views over the entire island. The living space was all one level and huge, which was great for travelling with a toddler. There was also a massive spa bath in the master bedroom and a laundry. We got a buggy with the apartment and hired a care seat for our son for just $60 for the entire 10-day trip.
Swimming: You are spoilt for choice when it comes to swimming options on the island. Most accommodation options offer private pools, but there are also some massive resort pools right by Catseye Beach that are open to everyone.
- Couple trip in 2013: Shorelines Apartments doesn’t have a pool on-site but guests are able to use the infinity pool at The Edge apartments next door. We also spent quite a bit of time in the main resort pool, which has a swim-up bar and lots of deck chairs.
- Family trip in 2018: We had a small pool at the Pinnacle Apartments, but we also loved swimming in the tropical resort pool further along the beach, near the Whitsunday Apartments. It was perfect for families and also has a bar and deck close by and is just a few steps from the sandy beach.
Eating: On both trips to Hamilton Island we were impressed by the quality of the restaurants and cafes. You can find the full list of food and wine offerings here but I also wanted to share our favourites.
- Couple trip in 2013: We had beautiful meals at coca chu, Romano’s, and Bommie Restaurant at the Yacht Club. Coca Chu offers South East Asian cuisine while looking over Catseye Beach and we had a memorable lobster entrée and ribs. Romano’s is a lovely Italian restaurant on the marina with a deck sitting over the water and a very solid cocktail list. Our dinner at Bommie Restaurant was actually a wedding gift from my in-laws and it was such an incredible experience; the food, wine and ambiance is just exceptional and the location the water across to Dent Island is just perfect.
- Family trip in 2018: We enjoyed some rare family dinners out on this trip thanks to the accommodating nature of most of the restaurants and cafes on the island. They are really set up for families as well as couples and there are generally lots of high chairs, early opening hours, kids menus and even crayons and colouring books if needed. We especially loved our dinners at Manta Ray and the new Mexican restaurant Tako, which both overlook the Marina. We also made the most of the island’s bakery for coffees and treats and the fish and chip shop for easy dinner options when needed. We celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary a little early with another special dinner Bommie Restaurant.
Activities: The island is set up to offer a range of activities for when you can be bothered to get out of the pool or off the beach.
- Couple trip in 2013: We had a laugh go-karting on our honeymoon (slightly competitive but still good fun); took a half-day boat trip to see Whitehaven Beach; held a koala at the wildlife park (which is probably the only really overpriced and underwhelming attraction); and took a plane flight over the island to Airlie Beach at the end of our trip.
- Family trip in 2018: It was a little different travelling with a toddler, but we managed to still hit some golf balls at the driving range, sip on cocktails at the One Tree Hill bar, fit in a little boutique shopping, walk around to Hideaway Bay at low tide, spend a day on a yacht exploring Whitsunday Island and have an incredible holiday as a family.
Our two different Hamilton Island experiences were incredibly enjoyable for different reasons, but the one common factor was this remarkable destination.