Just like you might sit back in England and watch swallows fly around in the evening, at Hamilton island you have the cockatoos, and the bats. So many bats!
I can’t believe I’ve come to my last Australia post! No later than 3 months after I visited. In the entirety of our 3 week trip, this was the stop that was the most resort-like, and one it took us a while to engage with, so let me explain…
If, in the UK, you’ve ever been to Center Parcs then that is what I would liken Hamilton Island to, but on a grander scale. It’s a self contained island, with it’s own airports, several hotels across the island and the option to hire golf buggies to whizz around (much like you’d hire a bike for Center Parcs..)
The island even has it’s own app, listing the activities that are available, except you’ll find options to windsurf and scuba dive, rather than pottery. In addition, you can also find the restaurants and bars around the island, which shops you can buy food, drink, coffee and freshly baked bread in addition to how to get there (if you don’t fancy splashing out on a buggy you can catch the free island bus).
We chose to stay at the Whitsunday apartments which was the cheapest accommodation option on the island and not a part of the chain that owns Hamilton Island itself. Even though it was ‘budget’ for the island, it came to £362 for 2 nights, so £90 each per night.
We had a one bed apartment with a balcony overlooking the pool and ocean – even though we’d booked a room with a garden view! I have to admit I wasn’t expecting much but was pleasantly surprised at what we had! If I could’ve stayed for longer – perhaps a week – I would’ve been very happy.
If you’re after a more luxurious stay, there are plenty of options all around the island, from the Reef View Hotel up to private bungalows at Qualia (prices starting at $1300 a night).
Similar to Palm Bay, you can swim in the ocean surrounding the island, but you would need a stinger suit in ‘stinger season’ which isn’t compulsory but highly recommended (read – it’s pretty much compulsory). Even though we didn’t hire stinger suits here, as we went on a surfing trip the next day – we did make full use of the island’s pools.
There are several dotted around the island – some belonging to private hotels which you can’t access without being a resident – but my personal favourite, The Main Pool, had it’s own swim up bar.
As mentioned earlier, if you’re after an experience of The Whitsundays whilst you’re there then Hamilton Island is the perfect spot to start. There are plenty of excursions on offer from the island, but we chose the half-day Whitehaven Beach which included a visit to the iconic beach in addition to the offer of being able to snorkel Chalkies beach nearby.
I have to say we had a really great time – and the snorkel experience came with Stinger suits included you’ll be happy to know. Whilst in the sea we saw fish, turtles and my partner saw a jellyfish but I’m grateful he didn’t tell me until we were out or I’d have hot-footed it straight out of the ocean there and then.
If you’re after a trip to Hamilton Island without having to spend an obscene amount, there are plenty of options to do for free. There are walking trails around the island, in addition to activities (mainly aimed at children/families I believe) located at Catseye beach. There’s also ‘moonlight movies’ and live music down at the marina area if you want something to enjoy in the evening.
As for food, there are several restaurants around the island, but both evenings we chose to take advantage of the take away options available as the view from our balcony was hard to beat. Opting for the pizzeria and then the fish & chippy the next night, we managed to save money whilst also making the most of our prime location on the balcony.
If you’re after a little luxury retreat whilst you’re Queensland, I would recommend Hamilton Island if you’re after a large-scale, family-orientated resort style stay. If you want a quieter, more self-catering and remote holiday then I would point you towards my post about Palm Bay Resort on nearby Long Island.
Hamilton Island doesn’t have to be too luxurious if you’re on a budget. We were and we managed to make the most of it with what we could do – on our apartment balcony enjoying our shop-bought wine and takeaway pizza we still managed to soak up our surroundings without blowing our budget.
I hope you enjoyed this post, and if you’re looking at more luxurious stay in Australia then Hamilton Island would definitely be your best bet. This is my last Australia post, but for the rest you can find them on the Australiasia tab. In the meantime my holiday snaps can be found on my Instagram @GrundyTravels.
Thanks for reading x