Looking for the best things to do in Hamilton Island?!
Hamilton Island is an unmissable holiday destination in the Whitsundays, located just a stone’s throw off the East Coast of Australia in Queensland and nearby to the Great Barrier Reef.
Hamo’, as it’s affectionately called by locals, is a car-free island that hosts an abundance of marine life, and many fun-fuelled activities.
I have put together this complete guide to help you plan the perfect trip!
QUICK ANSWERS – THINGS TO DO IN HAMILTON ISLAND
Let’s start this guide with all the essentials you should know before coming, such as Hamilton Island’s location, getting there, and more.
WHERE IS HAMILTON ISLAND?
Hamilton Island is perfectly located off the Queensland coast of Australia and in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.
The island has its own airport, supermarket, and a large range of accommodations.
Click here or on the image below for an interactive map of the island.
HOW TO GET TO HAMILTON ISLAND?
Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island of the Whitsunday Islands.
It’s the only island with its own commercial airport (Hamilton Island Airport), with short direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Cairns.
There are also daily ferries that depart from Airlie Beach which takes around 1.5 hours to get to Hamilton Island Marina.
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HOW TO GET AROUND HAMILTON ISLAND?
Hamilton Island is a car-free island and most people get around in electric golf buggies which you can hire on the island for $119 AUD per day.
Another option is the Green Bus which is a complimentary shuttle bus offering free pick-ups and drop-offs to a number of locations around the island.
Also, if your legs aren’t painted on, it’s possible to explore Hamilton Island on foot at your own pace.
WHAT IS THE BEST TIME TO VISIT HAMILTON ISLAND?
Hamilton Island sees glorious sunshine almost all year round.
If you want the best of the best conditions weatherwise, I recommend visiting between May and October (Autumn, Winter, and Spring) which is less busy and ideal for beach bumming, bush walks, and water sports.
Summer in Hamilton Island is between December and February which sees hotter temperatures, some rainfall, and more tourists.
All that aside, it’s still a great time to visit Hamilton Island during this time.
HOW MANY DAYS TO SPEND ON HAMILTON ISLAND?
A common question from first-time visitors is, ‘How long do I need on Hamilton Island?”
I recommend spending anywhere from 2 nights to 1 week to enjoy all that Hamilton Island has to offer.
15 BEST THINGS TO DO ON HAMILTON ISLAND
Now that you’ve got some useful info and the logistics of how to get to Hamilton Island, let’s get to the fun stuff!
So, without further ado, here is your complete guide to 15 AWESOME Things To Do In Hamilton Island.
KAYAK, SUP, & SAIL AT CATSEYE BEACH
To kick off your adventures on Hamilton Island, I highly recommend jumping into some water sports activities at Catseye Beach.
Located in front of the Main Pool at Hamilton Island Resort, and open to the public, this is where you can find the Beach Sports Hut to organize your activities.
You can hire snorkeling gear, kayaks, SUPs, and small sailing boats from the Beach Sports Hut, and if you happen to be staying in one of the Hamilton Island Resorts, all the equipment is included free of charge with your stay.
Make sure to plan your visit to Catseye Beach for about 3 hours on either side of high tide as this is when you’ll be able to book your water sports activities.
You could easily spend an entire day exploring the waters of Catseye Beach and you’ll be fascinated by the marine life that you’ll encounter including colorful corals, fishes, and sea turtles!
Alternatively, you can just stay here and work on your tan, one of the best free things to do on Hamilton Island!
HAMILTON ISLAND SUNSET CRUISE
Next on this list of awesome things to do on Hamilton Island is a Sunset Cruise which is rated as one of the top Hamilton Island attractions by visitors!
The best sunset sailing cruise on Hamilton Island is by far with Ricochet Yachting, departing from Hamilton Island Yacht Club.
Upon arrival on the Ricochet Yacht, you’ll receive a glass of champagne and once the catamaran sets sail, the crew offers free-flow beer, wine, and nibbles for all guests.
The view of Hamilton Island and the surrounding islands while on the water at sunset is simply stunning!
This 1.5-hour sunset sail is a must on your list of what to do in Hamilton Island and is definitely worth the experience!
HIKE TO PASSAGE PEAK
Passage Peak is one of my favorite hikes on the island, and easily an excellent answer to what to do on Hamilton Island.
The trail starts at the Resort Trail Entrance or Hideaway Bay Entrance close to the Reef View Hotel.
The hike takes approximately 2 hours return which includes stopping to take pictures along the trail. Be sure to wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes.
Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Whitsundays from the highest point on Hamilton Island.
You can also spot Hill Inlet and a snippet of the world-famous Whitehaven Beach from the summit of Passage Peak.
Be sure to include Passage Peak on your list of what to do in Hamilton Island.
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VISIT WHITEHAVEN BEACH ON A FULL-DAY TRIP
Whitehaven Beach is just a thirty-minute trip by speed boat, and Hamilton Island offers several Whitehaven Beach day trips and Whitehaven Beach tours.
You can also explore the beach in a helicopter or seaplane, or better yet, sail to Whitehaven Beach on one of the island’s yachts.
Whitehaven Beach is in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and has been voted the world’s top eco-friendly beach.
Whitsunday Island’s famous beach stretches for seven kilometers and is washed by swirls of turquoise, blue, and green water.
The sand is 98% pure white silica, which gives it a brilliant, near-luminescent color.
A trip to Whitehaven Beach is not to be missed on your list of things to do in the Whitsundays!
TAKE A 2-DAY GREAT BARRIER REEF CRUISE
Want to sleep under the stars and be surrounded by the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef? Then read on, this is one of the best things to do in Hamilton Island.
Board a high-speed catamaran and transfer to an innovative pontoon with interactive underwater viewing chambers, semi-submersibles, and spacious sun decks.
For 2 days, you’ll get to relax on the boat, purchase drinks, take endless, stunning photos, spend some time on Hardy Reef, and make epic memories!
Also, the guide will provide you with equipment and instruction for a day of snorkeling and semi-submersible tours with informative commentary on the underwater world.
But the exploration doesn’t end there!
Once the day ends, you’ll get to spend the night on the bed equipped with a mattress, bedding, and a one-of-a-kind view of the stars above and the reef.
Wake up to breakfast and slowly come back to Hamilton Island to explore the other activities. That being said, this is one of the best experiences you can book, and I recommend booking early!
I can’t think of more unique Hamilton Island things to do!
BEST TOUR IN HAMILTON ISLAND
STAY AT REEF VIEW HOTEL
I personally stayed at the Reef View Hotel and can’t recommend this place enough!
Every room at Reef View Hotel offers a stunning view either over the sparkling Coral Sea, or the island’s lush tropical gardens.
The Reef View Hotel is located directly opposite Catseye Beach and the Main Pool. It’s also close to many of the island’s restaurants, activities, and entertainment.
The highlight of the rooms is definitely the private balconies. You’ll certainly be greeted by cockatoos sitting on your balcony railing and if you decide to feed them, be prepared to have dozens of them hanging around all day.
Another stunning feature of the Reef View Hotel is the top-to-bottom glass elevator that offers a spectacular view over Catseye Beach each time you take a ride.
A buffet breakfast is also served each morning by the Reef View Hotel pool from 7 am – 10 am.
The BEST Hotel in Hamilton Island
SWIM AT THE RESORT POOL
There are three main swimming pools along Catseye Beach, which any guest on the island can enjoy.
The three pools are called Dolphin Pool, Main Pool, and Bougainvillea Pool.
The Main Pool is the largest pool and it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind.
There’s a bar in the middle of the swimming pool where you can order your favorite drink without ever having to leave the cool waters.
The Bougainvillea Pool is best suited for families traveling with young kids as it has a shallow section and offers a lot of shady spots beneath the palm trees.
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The Dolphin Pool is located close to Sails Restaurant and offers the best views overlooking one of the beautiful beaches around – Catseye Beach.
The pools are open from sunrise to sunset with toilets, showers, and change room facilities available.
Please note that the pools are not supervised by lifeguards so be sure to keep a close eye on your kids and belongings.
GO JET-SKIING AROUND HAMILTON ISLAND
I personally did a jet ski tour with Hamilton Island’s Jet Ski Tours and it was the highlight of my stay – so much fun!
You’ll have the opportunity to ride your own jet ski but you’ll be accompanied by an experienced instructor who will lead the way through the Whitsunday waterways.
When going on a Hamilton Island Jet Skiing Tour, you’ll be able to explore some of the secret locations around the island as the jet skiing guide knows the best spots.
If you’re lucky enough, you might even spot some turtles and whales on the tour.
I would highly recommend this tour to anyone that’s looking for an adrenaline-fuelled activity and doesn’t just want to lay by the pool all day long.
It’s a different and unique way to explore and is rated as one of the top things to do in Hamilton Island.
Prices start at $245 and an additional $40 for a passenger.
Capture All Your Adventures!
TAKE A SCENIC FLIGHT OVER THE WHITSUNDAY REEF
Get ready to fly high with the best tour in Hamilton Island! This exciting adventure takes you on a 60-minute scenic flight above the stunning Whitsunday Islands.
Starting from Airlie Beach, you’ll be aboard a modern aircraft and enjoy breathtaking views all along.
Apart from stunning photos, the pilot will provide in-flight commentary, highlighting all 74 picturesque islands off the North Coast of Queensland.
But that’s not all! You’ll also see the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, from a unique and exhilarating perspective.
This tour is the best way to see the stunning beauty of Hamilton Island and the Whitsundays!
CRUISE AROUND THE ISLAND IN A BUGGY
Hamilton Island’s iconic electric golf buggies offer a fun way to get around and explore the island.
The buggies are easy to drive and no training is required, although you will have to provide a valid driver’s license for the reservation.
You can reserve your buggy prior to arriving on Hamilton Island or you can book a buggy once you get here.
The pricing starts at around $119 per 24 hours and the buggy seats up to 4 people.
You’ll be able to cruise around the whole island a lot quicker than if you were to explore on foot or have to wait for the bus, plus it’s a must-do experience on Hamilton Island.
VISIT THE HAMILTON ISLAND WILDLIFE SANCTUARY
Still thinking of the Hamilton Island what to do activities for your trip?!
Visiting Hamilton Island Wildlife Sanctuary gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with some iconic Australian wildlife.
Located near Catseye Beach, the park is home to all kinds of Australian animals such as snakes, lizards, koalas, cassowaries, dingoes, kangaroos, and crocodiles.
There are guided tours available with the park keepers who will let you touch, feed, and talk to some of the animals, and you’ll even get the chance to take a keepsake photo.
If you don’t opt for the guided tour, you can simply enjoy the park at your own pace.
Hamilton Island Wildlife Sanctuary is open daily from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm.
- Adult – $32.00
- Child – $22.00
- 2 adults and 2 children – $90 (children aged 3-14 years)
TAKE A HELICOPTER FLIGHT OVER THE WHITSUNDAY ISLANDS
Another of the best things to do in Hamilton Island is to take a helicopter ride over the Whitsunday Islands.
While I previously suggested a scenic flight, a helicopter ride is slightly different, and is a great alternative is the other flight isn’t available!
Get high in the sky on an unforgettable 30-minute scenic flight from Airlie Beach. Kick-start your adventure with an in-flight commentary from your pilot as you gaze over Hill Inlet, Shute Harbour, Molle Islands, Long Island, Dent Island, Hamilton Island, and Daydream Island.
As if that’s not enough to satisfy your wanderlust, top this with a 1.5-hour tour of the crystal-clear waters of the Coral Sea, lazing on the snow-white sands of Whitehaven Beach.
This tour is perfect for those who want to experience the Whitsunday Islands in style, filled with adventure, and unbeatable scenery!
ENJOY A SUNSET COCKTAIL AT ONE TREE HILL
You can’t leave Hammo without having witnessed a sunset from One Tree Hill sunset bar, boasting some of Hamilton Island’s best views.
One Tree Hill is open from lunchtime onwards and offers great cocktails and nibbles.
You don’t have to be seated at the bar for sunset, you can also stroll down to the hill in front of the bar and chose a spot on the grass beneath the swaying coconut palms to enjoy the view.
Once you’re done with your cocktail, the waiters will come and collect your empty glass even when you’re chilling on the hill.
It’s also possible to bring your own wine bottle and nibbles if you prefer not to purchase anything from the bar.
Make your way to One Tree Hill on foot, by buggy, or onboard the Green Bus, and I recommend coming early to make the most of your time at this Hamilton Island must do.
GO GOLFING AT HAMILTON ISLAND GOLF CLUB
One of the must-do activities when visiting Hamilton Island is to take a swing at the Hamilton Island Golf Club.
Perfectly situated at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, this golf club is home not just a challenging 18-hole course, but also some of the most breathtaking views in Australia.
But it’s not just the golf that makes this place special. The Hamilton Island Golf Club is the only Australian 18-hole golf course on its very own island, Dent Island.
While playing, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the Whitsunday Islands and the Coral Sea, making your golfing experience one for the books.
After a day on the green, make sure to visit the Clubhouse. Here, you can relax and enjoy a meal or drink while soaking up the stunning 360-degree views.
Can you think of better best things to do Hamilton Island for a day out as a golf lover?
CHECK OUT HAMILTON ISLAND ART GALLERY
Another of the unmissable Hamilton Island activities is a visit to the Hamilton Island Art Gallery.
Nestled near the Marina, this gallery presents a fantastic variety of artwork from recognised Australian painters, showcasing a wide range of styles.
The gallery itself may be small, but it’s bursting with creativity and inspiration. It features beautiful paintings inspired by the sea, sailing, and other elements of island life, as well as unique handiworks crafted from shells.
Open from Monday to Wednesday between 09:00 am and 05.00 pm (10 am to 4 pm on Sundays), the Hamilton Island Art Gallery offers an enriching cultural experience.
Plus, it’s one of the best things to do in Hamilton Island when it rains!
WHERE TO STAY ON HAMILTON ISLAND
There are dozens of Hamilton Island accommodation options to choose from and it can be overwhelming trying to decide where to stay to enjoy all the things to do at Hamilton Island.
To make your selection easier, I have narrowed it down to a few of the best hotels that are suitable for luxury travelers, budget backpackers, and everyone in between in the ultimate location.
LUXURY: BEACH CLUB
MID RANGE: PALM BUNGALOWS
BUDGET: REEF VIEW HOTEL
WHAT TO PACK FOR HAMILTON ISLAND
When visiting Hamilton Island, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you.
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FINAL THOUGHTS – WHAT TO DO IN HAMILTON ISLAND
Thank you for reading this Hamilton Island blog, and if you have any questions about things to do Hamilton Island offers, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can!
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THANKS FOR READING
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