Hamilton Island is one of the most unmissable holiday destinations in the Whitsundays! Located just a stone’s throw off the East Coast of Australia in Queensland and nearby to the Great Barrier Reef.
Fun Fact: Hamilton Island is the largest and busiest inhabited island in the Whitsundays, an archipelago of 74 scenic islands in Australia. Hamo’, as it’s affectionately called by locals, offers a car-free island that is covered in bushland and hosts an abundance of marine life, many fun-fuelled activities and has its own airport, supermarket, and a large range of accommodations.
How long do I need on Hamilton Island? I recommend spending anywhere from 2 nights to 1 week to explore and enjoy all that Hamilton Island has to offer.
In this guide, I have included a list of 10 Awesome Things To Do In Hamilton Island to help you plan your trip.
Also, at the bottom of this guide, I have included some useful information on where to stay in Hamilton Island, the best time to visit, and other points of interest along Australia’s East Coast.
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WHERE IS HAMILTON ISLAND?
Hamilton Island is perfectly located just off the Queensland coast of Australia and in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.
HOW TO GET HERE
Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island of the Whitsunday Islands and is the only one with its own commercial airport, with short direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and Cairns.
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There’s also a Ferry that departs from Airlie Beach which takes around 1.5 hours to get to Hamilton Island.
GETTING 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 $90 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.
BEST HAMILTON ISLAND TOURS
OVERVIEW – THINGS TO DO ON HAMILTON ISLAND
Please see below for an overview of 10 Awesome Things To Do In Hamilton Island that you will find in this post:
- Kayak, SUP & Sail at Catseye Beach
- Hamilton Island Sunset Cruise
- Hike to Passage Peak
- Visit Whitehaven Beach
- Stay at Reef View Hotel
- Swim at the resort pool
- Go jet-skiing around Hamilton Island
- Cruise around the island in a Buggy
- Visit the Hamilton Island Wildlife Sanctuary
- Enjoy a sunset cocktail at One Tree Hill
10 AWESOME THINGS TO DO ON HAMILTON ISLAND
Now that you’ve got some background info and the logistics of how to get to Hamilton Island, let’s get to the fun stuff!
So, without further ado, here is my complete guide on 10 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 sport 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, SUP’s 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 in 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!
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 attractions by visitors!
The best sunset sailing cruise on Hamilton Island is by far with Ricochet Yachting.
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 definitely worth the experience!
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HIKE TO PASSAGE PEAK
Passage Peak is one of my favorite hikes 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.
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 Whitehaven Beach from the summit of Passage Peak.
Be sure to include Passage Peak on your list of things to do in Hamilton Island.
VISIT WHITEHAVEN BEACH ON A HALF-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 via a helicopter or seaplane from the island, 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 when visiting the Whitsundays!
BOOK NOW → WHITEHAVEN BEACH SAIL & SNORKEL TOUR
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 cockatoo’s 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.
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SWIM AT THE RESORT POOL
There are three main swimming pools along Catseye Beach, which any guest of 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.
The Dolphin Pool is located close to Sails Restaurant and offers the best views overlooking Catseye Beach.
The pools are open from sunrise to sunset with toilets, showers, and change room facilities available.
Please note, 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 Skiing Tour with Hamilton Island’s Jet Ski Tours and it was the highlight of my stay. 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 rated as one of the top things to do in Hamilton Island.
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 simply book a buggy once you get here.
The pricing starts at around $90 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
Visiting Hamilton Island Wildlife Sanctuary gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal to 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 8:30 am – 4:30 pm.
- Adult – $28.00
- Child – $16.50
- 2 adults and 2 children – $86 (children aged 3-14 years)
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.
ACCOMMODATION IN HAMILTON ISLAND
There are a number of Hamilton Island accommodation options to choose from so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay on the island to fit the needs of budget backpackers, luxury travelers, and everyone in between.
See below for a list of Hamilton Island accommodation that I personally recommend:
LUXURY: BEACH CLUB
MID RANGE: PALM BUNGALOWS
BUDGET: REEF VIEW HOTEL
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, Spring) which is less busy and most 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.
MORE AUSTRALIA TRAVEL GUIDES
The coastline and hinterland areas along the east coast of Australia boast countless beaches, lakes, waterfalls, hikes and many more fun-fuelled adventures waiting to be had!
This is what Australia is all about and what I love to share with you in my detailed destination guides.
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- Springbrook: Springbrook Waterfalls
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- Port Macquarie: 7 Best Beaches In Port Macquarie
- Sydney: Things To Do In Sydney
- Kiama NSW: 3 Awesome Things To Do In Kiama
- Melbourne: Things To Do In Melbourne
LONELY PLANET AUSTRALIA
One of the best books to take on your trip is the Lonely Planet Australia Guide!
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I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions about things to do in Hamilton Island, please leave a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can!