Spectacularly situated in the 74-island Whitsunday Passage, Hamilton is one of the easiest destinations in the region to visit – it’s the only island with a commercial airport. Resort activities abound (bushwalking, swimming, kayaking, day spa) but here are four other options.

Visit the Great Barrier Reef

Hamilton Island is a Great Barrier Reef gateway; two scenic hours on a catamaran takes you to Hardy Reef ($230 for the day), where the Reef World pontoon offers snorkelling, diving and bone-dry reef ogling via an underwater viewing chamber in a semi-submersible. Other daytrips combine snorkelling sites with attractions such as the beautiful, 7km-long Whitehaven Beach on uninhabited Whitsunday Island.

Stay during Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 

Sailing runs in Hamilton Island owner Bob Oatley’s blood, as evidenced by his Sydney to Hobart record-breaking maxi yacht, Wild Oats XI. The Whitsundays’ annual offshore keelboat regatta (August 15-22) is Australia’s biggest and the white-sail action is best seen from Hamilton. Onshore is party central, with fashion shows, champagne lunches and celebrity chefs preparing special dégustation dinners. Year-round yachting daytrips, charters and lessons make the island an ideal sailing destination.

Have breakfast with the koalas

Share breakfast time at the Wild Life Hamilton Island café with koalas – as you butter your toast, they’ll munch their morning gum leaves on indoor, tableside branches. After a koala-nursing photo op, pop into the mini zoo featuring kangaroos, snakes, crocodiles, a cassowary and other Australian fauna. Park admission, breakfast and photo package is $75 for adults and $45 for kids.

Go on a jet-ski tour

Part eco-tour, part adrenaline rush, a one-hour jet-ski tour ($225) reaches otherwise inaccessible coves dotted about the island. Accompanied by a guide (with helmet-to-helmet intercom), you can drive or be a passenger, depending on your experience.  

 

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