Back in July 2016, I shared my ‘Top 10 Things to do on Hamilton Island‘. Fast forward seven years, and I found myself returning to this amazing place, this time for a unique adventure – our Funnymoon! Yep, that’s our family honeymoon, complete with our 5-year-old son and my parents, along with some good friends from the UK and their kids.
After all the wedding planning, Hamilton Island was the perfect tropical retreat we needed. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, where else can you sip cocktails in the pool within half an hour of landing?
Now, let’s dive into my updated Top 10 picks, and believe me, it was tough to narrow down the list because this little (4.5km x 3km) island has so much to offer. But if you follow my recommendations below, you’re in for an unforgettable time:
In no particular order:
1. Cruise in Style with a Golf Buggy – It’s not just transportation; it’s part of the island lifestyle. Cars aren’t allowed here (except for a couple of work vehicles), so these nifty golf buggies are your ticket to exploring. The maximum speed limit is 20kmph, so they fit in perfectly with the relaxed vibe. They’re worth every penny, and if you stay in a Hamilton Island holiday home, you will even get one for free!
2. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef – We left our son with friends for a half-day snorkeling adventure with Explore Group. Explore Group say “this tour is recommended for children 5 years and over. Children under 5 years are welcome, however there are limitations with regards to their participation please contact our reservations team for details when booking.” They’ll find the perfect spot based on the day’s westher and tidal conditions. We were extremely lucky as they took us to Mantaray Bay, on the north of Hook Island. Sailing Whitsundays says “it’s without a doubt one of the best dive and snorkel spots in the Whitsundays!” and I would have to agree. Trust me; swimming with a turtle is a highlight you won’t want to miss!
3. Sunset Magic at One Tree Hill – The most popular spot for sunset views. Despite its name, there are multiple trees here, but luckily they don’t block the stunning views. We visited twice – once for cocktails (mocktails for the kids) at the bar and once for an evening picnic. Get there early if you want a picnic table! We arrived an hour before sunset and they had all gone.
4. Discover Hill Inlet – Explore Group’s tour to Hill Inlet is a must. Enjoy a scenic 45-minute cruise each way, with complimentary tea, coffee and snacks. They also have a bar on board that sells additional snacks and cold drinks. It’s approximately 20 minutes walk to the famous view, then a further 20 minutes to the beach. The views and the beach are simply breathtaking. We had approximately 2 hours at the beach; our son loved spotting stingrays there.
5. Breakfast with Koalas – Visit the Hamilton Island Wildlife Park. It’s small but great for kids and the ticket is valid for your entire stay. We found it was the perfect filler, when we were in between activities/waiting for the rest of our group. The guided tours at at 10am and 3pm are fascinating, and there’s a cafe next door for a bite to eat. The café is an open-air spot and also plays host to two koala exhibits and a reptile tank (which my son found fascinating, but I preferred to keep my distance). For an extra $32, a zookeeper can snap a photo of you beside one of the koalas. However, we discovered that the photos we took with our own phones were almost as good, although we had to stand outside the enclosure, so we weren’t quite as up close and personal.
6. Pool Bliss – Pools galore! The above photo was taken by myself from our apartment at Whitsunday Apartments of our daily hangouts: its pool (which was pretty cold most days, but had a great hot tub) and the Bougainvillea Pool (much, much warmer, so my pool of choice) were our daily hangouts. There’s also the Main Pool (which has a Pool Bar) and the Dolphin Pool (fairly small but it’s 3m deep, so perfect for diving/big jumps). nearby.
7. Go Karting Fun – Our 5-year-old had a blast racing in a duo kart with his dad. Just note that you need to be at least 12 years old and over 150cm to drive a single kart. Unfortunately, the Hamilton Island website only mentions the height requirement, so our friends had 2 very disappointed children who were just 3 months short of their 12th birthday.
8. Turtle Adventure – If time allows, check out the Turtle snorkel tours from Catseye Beach. It’s an incredible experience, but availability depends on tides and they aren’t offered every day. Check the Hamilton Island app for more details.
9. Non-motorized Watersports – Guests staying at qualia, Beach Club, Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows and Hamilton Island Holiday Homes have free access to a range of water activities including catamarans, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and snorkelling equipment. Simply present your room key at the Beach Sports Hut on Catseye Beach. There is a small fee if you’re staying at Whitsunday Apartments.
10. Kids Eat Free – If you’re staying at The Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows or a holiday home, kids under 12 years old can eat for free at Pool Terrace, Sails, or Manta Ray when dining with you and choosing from the kids’ menu.
Hamilton Island is a paradise filled with more activities for kids, such as mini-golf, ten-pin bowling, the Clown Kids Club, quad biking, off-road adventures, and jet boating. And hey, did you hear? The owners are thinking of selling Hamilton Island, but it might be a tad over our budget, with a valuation of $1 billion!
Enjoy your next island getaway!
PS – We also tried the semi-submarine cruise, but it didn’t quite live up to our snorkeling adventure. So, I’d recommend sticking with snorkeling for the real underwater magic!