Easily accessible from Cairns, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney, Hamilton Island is located in the heart of the Whitsundays. Only 7 aircrafts land on Hamilton Island everyday just to give you an idea how busy the airport is. Actually, I am not quite right as some private jets also keep the staff busy.
Everything is easy on Hamilton Island. You will find at your arrival a little counter ‘Qualia’ if you are lucky enough to stay there, otherwise, no worries, go to the Reef View, Beach Club or Palm Bungalow counter to pick up your luggage tag. As soon as you see your bag (not on the Carousel because there isn’t any) , the bags being delivered almost on the air strip, put your tag on, give your bag to the staff who will look after it. Jump into one of these minivans and 10 minutes later you are at the reception of your hotel to check in.
Everybody agrees to say that the Reef View building (20 storeys) doesn’t look very nice from the outside with its architecture from the 80’s but once you are inside, it looks very ok. Not a secret, the higher you stay, the better the view is on the coral sea. All the rooms are very well appointed and spacious. Reef View hotel is far from being a luxury accommodation but I have to admit that it is very correct and remember, you won’t spend most of your time here in your room anyway. All the rooms have a large balcony or a terrace but keep the door closed if you don’t want to share it with one of these cacatoes. They are everywhere and love to come to say hello to the guests on their balconies but please, don’t feed them !
I visited Hamilton Island 7 years ago and to be honest, I have been very happily surprised to see this island 7 years later. The Island is very well looked after, the new Yacht Club at the marina with its Mantra Ray shape is very chic which gives Hamilton some ‘elegance’. When many places in Australia tend to target the backpacker market, Hamilton is more focussed on a middle class family friendly market and also honeymooners. It is also paradise for kids ! Swimming pools, palm trees everywhere, plenty of activities, a very safe and nice beach, lots of water sports etc. 1200 staff look after the guests on the Island which shows how big the resort is but believe me, you will never have the feeling at any time to be in a crowded place. Hamilton Island would not be Hamilton Island without the buggy cars ! Very few cars on the island but hundreds of little buggies. 85 aud a day, they are electrical, cute, funny and of course noiseless. These little cars really add a touch of holiday feeling. You really need a buggy if you don’t like to walk but honestly I would not say you need one of these buggies every day. The Marina is just ten minutes walks from the main resort where you will find few restaurants, a post office, a pub, a general store (very expensive though), a bottle shop, some souvenir shops etc. and if you walk all the way to the Yacht Club, please, push the door and have a look inside. The locals call it ‘the little opera house’ of Hamilton. Just behind, you will find the Hamilton Island Yacht Club Villas. They are privately owned, they all have 4 bedrooms, just a couple of them have a swimming pool and they are all very high end products for families with no budget limit. For those who would like to enjoy a little touch of paradise without breaking the money box, book a Palm Bungalow. There are 50 of them, newly renovated, it is a very basic type of accommodation but it is very clean and nice. Absolutely nothing to complain about them. For the honeymooners, I would definitely recommend the Beach Club …. Front of the Beach. Also newly renovated, I have to admit they have done a great job. It is a very nice ‘in between’ for those who want something more sophisticated. As far as ‘Qualia’ is concerned, that’s another story. The resort is located in a remote part of the Island with 2 types of Pavilions only (with OR without plunge pool) … Easy to sell then. That’s the high end place of the Island and it is just perfect, beautiful and peaceful. Excellent service and excellent cuisine, Qualia is very close to perfection … except the beach where the swimming conditions are not the best (too many rocks) but if you want to, the resort can organise for you (with a supplement) a beach drop off where you can swim and enjoy some snorkelling.
Remember that the Whitsundays are not located on the Great Barrier itself, many people get confused with that. However the Great Barrier is not far, it will take a bit more than an hour to reach the reef by boat. Cruise Whitsundays is one of the main operator of the archipelago. You can book a full day trip (225 aud) to the great barrier but remember that you will be on a large vessel with a capacity of 300 passengers. Once you are on the reef, you get off on a pontoon from where you snorkel and scuba dive. Well, I am not a fan, too many people for me. I’d rather pay myself an Helicopter or Seaplane flight even if it is in a different price range. One of the must-see if you come to the Whitsundays is the famous Whitehaven Beach voted as the ‘Queensland’s most beautiful beach’ and I can testify: 7 kilometres of pure pristine white sand beach with pure crystal clear water and amazingly, not too many people on the site. The place is just ‘unspoilt’ and this is exactly how you imagine Australia is. Whitehaven is at 35 min by boat from Hamilton and you can easily relax and stay there a couple of hours before cruising back to Hamilton via Whitsunday Island. The half day tour will cost you 99 aud, the full day tour is 189 aud with a pic nic lunch included.
Before you leave Hamilton Island, have your last breakfast at the wildlife park, you will be surrounded by eucalyptus trees where peaceful koalas will be watching you are having a rest as they sleep more than 15 hours a day. Well it’s time to go now but it makes no doubt I will come back. Hamilton Island has this beautiful flavour of holidays in a tropical haven.