My family and I recently visited Australia’s Whitsunday Islands and we wanted to share the details of our trip so you too can enjoy this beautiful part of the world!
Think endless turquoise waters, snorkelling with sea turtles, boat trips and beautiful fresh seafood all day, everyday.
Getting to Hamilton Island
We stayed on Hamilton Island, one of the main Islands in the Whitsundays at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. You can fly directly into the local airport with the flight from Brisbane taking around 90 minutes. My tip for this time of year is to book airport parking ahead as it is currently discounted at around $75 for the week.
Getting around the Island
Our accommodation included a buggy for the week with airport transfers so we could jump straight off the plane and into the buggy. Hamilton Island is predominately car-free so you will need a buggy to get around the Island. If a buggy is not included with your accommodation, you may need to hire one at around $87 per day (max of 4 people per buggy, normal road rules apply).
We stayed in a holiday home named Jasmine House. It was a beautiful four bedroom home with a private pool in the middle of the Island between One Tree Hill, the Resort Strip and the Marina. My biggest tip for booking accommodation is to find what you are after and then shop around on different booking websites - by doing this I saved myself $600! I loved that we had a kitchen and private pool to be able to eat delicious fresh meals as a lot of the Island is still closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Hamilton Island is quite small so everything you could need is accessible by buggy. There are two main strips - the Resort strip and the Marina.
Along the Resort strip you will find hotels, restaurants, paddle board and kayak hire, as well as a sports centre where you can visit the gym (a day pass to the gym will cost you $22).
The Marina is where you will find all of your boat hires, watersports and ferries to the other Islands or mainland. Along this strip is also the Tavern, Bob’s Bakery, Popeyes Fish & Chips, Ice Cream Parlour, Romano’s Italian and a few other restaurants.
The IGA is at the end of this road. On our first day we visited the IGA to stock up on breakfast foods, snacks, milks, coffee and fresh fruit and veggies so that we could eat breakfast at home before a big day and ensure the boys never went hungry. The IGA is the only supermarket on the Island so prices for products such as hair care and sunscreen are slightly inflated - definitely be sure to bring your own products and budget for groceries accordingly.
What to do in the Whitsundays
We found the easiest way to book on Island activities was via hamiltonisland.com.au - this is where we booked the Jet Ski Tour ($229 per adult + $40 per passenger), as well as the Sunset Cruise on a Catamaran ($85 adults, $35 kids) .
Our favourite experience in the Whitsundays was a day trip out to the beautiful Whitehaven beach. We chartered a boat for the day through Sailing Whitsundays.
Chartering a private boat from Hamilton Island can be quite expensive so we booked a boat from Airlie Beach. This simply means that you will need to ferry to the mainland ($60 per person each way, 1 hour trip), alternatively there are many public day trips available at a price of around $150 - $250 per person.
Our captain, Davo, took us to his favourite destinations. The first stop was Hill Inlet. We were dropped to the bottom of the Island and did a 5-10 minute trail walk up to the viewing decks. This is the most beautiful view of endless blue waters, white sand and Whitehaven beach. Hill Inlet is a must!
Our second stop was at Whitehaven beach where we found 7.6 kilometers of turquoise waters and bright, white sand. This award winning beach is a must do on your trip to the Whitsundays and is accessible by boat, seaplane or helicopter. On our visit we swam in the warm water, did backflips off the boat, and ate beautiful fresh seafood onboard our gorgeous boat.
The final stop of our trip was Ryder’s favourite - Chalkies beach. This is where we jumped off the boat to snorkel through the coral and swim with the fish - we even swam alongside a beautiful turtle! Unfortunately, the coral was badly damaged in the 2017 cyclone Debbie, so it is not the most colourful, but the sea life makes it worthwhile.
Where to eat
There is a variety of restaurants and casual dining on Hamilton Island, a full list of venues can be found here.
A few restaurants are temporarily closed due to COVID-19, so we recommend booking your dinners in advance to ensure you don’t miss out once you arrive at the Island.
Our favourites were Popeye’s Fish & Chips for lunch in the park, the Tavern for a vibey dinner under the fairy lights, or Sails for amazing food and a view of the pool and beach - we booked for sunset here so we could watch the sun go down while we ate.
Qualia Resort has beautiful fine dining restaurants but, depending on the time of year, they may not be open to non-hotel guests and they are also child-free.
There is next to no nightlife on the Island, so bring friends and a speaker if you are wanting to have a dance!
I hope this inspires your next Hamilton Island getaway! I'd love to see your holiday adventures so please tag me on Instagram @sophie_guidolin