Luxury Escapes Guide to Hamilton Island

Sailing, snorkelling, and soaking up the year-round sun – Hamilton Island provides endless opportunities for both recreation and relaxation.

Above Hamilton Island’s hypnotic, turquoise waters you’ll find a luxurious boating scene; below swims some of Australia’s most active marine life. This contrast is a broader metaphor for the island, which finds itself at the perfect intersection of adventure and rejuvenation.

The Whitsundays is speckled with island gems aplenty, 74 to be precise. But there’s something about Hamilton Island that stays with you long after a visit. The tropical destination is well and truly focussed on health and wellbeing, allowing visitors to recalibrate within one of the most stunning backdrops Australia has to offer.

While development began on nearby Hayman Island decades earlier in the 1930s, Hamilton Island waited patiently for someone to realise its potential. In the ’80s tourism entrepreneur Keith Williams took a chance, building up the island before it was sold to winemaker Robert Oatley. The five-square kilometre treasure is now one of the most opulent island destinations in the world.

The locals’ advice is that some of the greatest memories here are made on the water. Sign up for a day of sailing, or organise a private yacht charter and explore spots like Whitehaven Beach before continuing onwards to the largest coral reef area in the world – the Great Barrier Reef.

Back onshore, splurge with a massage or facial treatment, brush up on your creative skills at an art class, or delve into dinner at one island’s brilliant casual fine diners. There’s no better way to reflect on a day well spent than finding a special spot to take in one of Hamilton Island’s magical sunsets.

Why not check out Luxury Escapes Guide to Airlie Beach & the Whitsundays for more inspiration.

Please note that due to current restrictions some operators may be temporarily closed. Check their websites for the most up-to-date information.

Featured escape

Things to see and do

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Dip and a drink at the beachfront pools

Few visitors realise that the resort pools, tucked behind Catseye Beach, are accessible to all guests of the island. You’ll be spoilt for choice with three pools to unwind at – the Bougainvillea Pool, Main Pool and Sails Pool. The Main Pool hosts a bar in the middle, where visitors can swim up and grab a beer, cocktail or mocktail. Slap on some sunscreen, lay down on a deckchair surrounded by palm trees and landscaped gardens, and get lost in a book. The pools are open from sunrise all the way to sunset.

Hike up Passage Peak

Passage Peak is one of the most loved viewpoints on the island, though, it's not a mere hop, skip and jump to enjoy its rewarding views. As Hamilton Island’s highest point, it asks visitors to hike 2.7km, about an hour and 15 minutes one way, to reach it. A newly revamped viewing platform makes the panoramic views of the Whitsundays that little bit sweeter. Head up at sunrise for a breathtaking experience (literally).

Find your flow on nearby Dent Island

Dent Island (adjacent to Hamilton Island) is the proud home to Hamilton Island’s 18-hole championship golf course. But, if golf isn’t your activity of choice, there’s another reason to head over. The search for zen stops at a sunrise with hatha yoga classes hosted on Dent Island’s helipad. Catch the ferry over, roll out a mat and soak in the sounds of the sea and wind during the class for an epic start to the day. The session finishes with a healthy buffet breakfast spread.

Take a moment to yourself at All Saints Chapel

Dreaming of an island wedding? All Saints Chapel has hosted a fair few of Hamilton Island’s weddings, and it’s not hard to see why. The quaint, peaceful, fairytale-like building is prettily perched on a hill with views over the ocean. The space is defined by charming stained-glass windows and a bell tower, surrounded by manicured gardens thriving with tropical and native plants. The non-denominational chapel warmly welcomes visitors to stop by for a moment of reflection.

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Stand-up paddleboarding, parasailing and windsurfing at Catseye Beach

The island is brimming with opportunities to get your daily exercise in. Tranquil, wave-free Catseye Beach is a great place to start, with the Hamilton Island Beach Sports kiosk offering free kayaks and paddleboards to test your balance and coordination. Or, if you’re up for a major workout, ask the pros for a windsurfing lesson. Feel like flying a little higher? Head down to the marina for paragliding sessions that soar up to 150 feet in the air. Hamilton Island Watersports offers paragliding single and tandem flyers. Families can hire a catamaran and zip around the clear waters here, too.

Snorkel and dive through the Whitsundays

If you think it’s magical on top of the water, wait until you see what’s below. Hamilton Island is home to some unforgettable snorkelling spots, including those at Catseye Bay. Swim past schools of tropical fish of all shapes and sizes and – if you’re lucky – a majestic green turtle or two. There are multiple experienced operators running snorkelling tours around the island, and scuba diving tours that venture out as far as the Great Barrier Reef. If there's one thing you can't miss on a trip here, it's a day weaving your way through the waters.

Get competitive in the Buggy Rally

The buggy rally competition could be one of the best ways to geographically acquaint yourself with the island. Get a group of up to four people together and compete against other teams as you zip around the island in your own golf buggy. You’ll have to answer a series of trivia questions at each point before moving on, and there’s a prize for first place. Feeling competitive?

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Get creative Hamilton Island Art Gallery

Exhibiting wondrous watercolour seascapes, stunning sculptures and a curation of locally made jewellery is the Hamilton Island Art Gallery. Located in the Marina Village, the gallery also runs art classes for adults and children, hosted by a rotating roster of resident and guest artists – from abstract specialists to masters of realism. There are classes catering to all levels, whether you’re a self-confessed rookie or seasoned artist. Allow your creative side to take over and be inspired by special moments during your stay on the island.

Top places to eat and drink

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Bommie Restaurant

Gracefully overlooking the water, within the iconic Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Bommie Restaurant is a fine dining restaurant that transforms local seafood into culinary brilliance. A four-course menu will have you feasting on impeccably plated dishes such as poached scallops in fermented pear juice, and miso-glazed kingfish with a caramelised cauliflower puree. There’s also a private dining room that hosts up to 16 guests if you’re celebrating something special. The deck is equipped with an outdoor bar, ideal for watching the sunset and spotting a few turtles peacefully gliding through the waters below.

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Coca Chu

Heralded as one of the best restaurants on the island, Coca Chu is all about flaunting the flavours of Asia – predominantly Thai and Vietnamese – while showcasing the beauty of Australian produce. Crowd favourite dishes include the Vietnamese chicken and glass noodle salad, Sichuan-style duck, and a jungle curry with steamed barramundi. The menu is designed to showcase the vibrant street food of Asia, served in a sophisticated, lantern-lit interior that looks onto the water.

Manta Ray

This family favourite, with a prime position on Hamilton Island Marina, offers no-fuss dining for guests of all ages and caters to a vast range of tastes and dietary requirements. Manta Ray's diverse a la carte menu is full of dishes to be enjoyed all on your own or shared with loved ones. The forté here is modern Australian fare, which you can sample in the form of torched salmon sushi tacos, pretzel bun Wagyu burgers, and a cauliflower steak with balsamic reduction. Plus, if you’re a guest of the Reef View Hotel, kids under 12 eat for free.

Clubhouse Restaurant

Part of the Hamilton Island Golf Club, the Clubhouse Restaurant affords one of the most memorable dining experiences in the Whitsundays. It’s hard for culinary connoisseurs to be disappointed thanks to forward-thinking modern Australian plates using only the best produce available. The restaurant’s pavilion-style structure and alfresco dining area allows diners to admire the beauty of Dent Island and its surroundings; you don't need to play a round of golf to enjoy lunch here, there's a ferry and two-course lunch package on offer – one you won’t regret.

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Romano’s elegantly brings classic Italian flavours into the modern day, though its reimagined dishes don't dare compromise on flavour. Start with some delectable zucchini flowers stuffed with crab and ricotta in a lemon emulsion before moving onto squid ink spaghetti with scallops and prawns or a pepita-crusted lamb rack. Romano's is fitting for a range of occasions – from a romantic night out to a group dinner. Or you can simply wind up your evening here with a wine or a cocktail in hand as the gentle backbeat of the ocean quietly splashes behind you.

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One Tree Hill Bar

Countless jaws have dropped at One Tree Hill, an awe-inspiring elevated viewpoint offering 360-degree views of Hamilton Island and its neighbouring pockets of land, where blue and green hues contrast against the island’s striking red poinciana flower trees. If you want to spend a little longer taking it all in, pull up a chair at the open-air bar and indulge in a drink of your choice and some nibbles – perhaps a selection of Australian cheeses or a charcuterie board. Sip on a Robert Oatley glass of wine, some sparkling or a cocktail – some of which go for A$10 a glass.

Bob's Bakery

Whether you're heading out on the water and need to stock up for lunch or planning a picnic at one of the island’s many prized spots, consider picking up some goodies from Bob's Bakery. Counters here are filled with croissants, donuts, macarons, freshly made sandwiches, sausage rolls and pies to fuel you for the day. They also make impressive celebration cakes if you're here for a birthday or engagement party, or simply want to celebrate being on the island… no reason needed.

Lux moments

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Indulge in a massage at Spa Wumurdaylin

After an adventure-packed day out on the water, a little r‘n’r could be just what your mind, body and soul calls for. Spa Wumurdaylin offers a series of massage, wellness and skincare treatments, using premium Australian skincare and spa products. Whether you're in the mood for a body scrub or wrap, a massage or a facial, it's confidently covered here. If you'd like to take it up a notch, look into the package rituals such as the ‘Island Escape’ – featuring a sugar exfoliation, hydration massage, performance facial, express manicure and pedicure, and head and neck treatment.

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Take an unforgettable journey to the Heart

Venturing to Heart Island, nestled in the Great Barrier Reef, is a once in a lifetime experience. The journey commences with a 30-minute helicopter flight over flawless Whitehaven Beach before taking off again and performing a Bond-like landing on Heart Island’s private pontoon. Explore the island's lagoon in a sensational glass-bottom boat with the option to swim and snorkel through its pristine waters. The exclusive tour is available for six people at a time and is truly luxury at its finest.

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Tee off at Hamilton Island Golf Club

The only 18-hole championship golf course in Australia to have its own island, Hamilton Island Golf Club attracts avid players from all parts of the globe. Designed by world champion Peter Thomson, the course's deep valleys and tricky fairways makes for a highly challenging round. But visitors are rewarded with one of the best backdrops a golfer – amateur or professional – could ask for. The hypnotic nature of the surrounding sea is enough to distract some players from the game. Be prepared to lose a few balls.

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Circle the island on a thrilling helicopter tour

Admire the world from above on a Hamilton Highlight helicopter tour, a morning flight that passes over the wondrous fringing reef at Coral Cove, secluded Escape Beach, the swimmers and stand-up paddleboarders at Catseye Beach and towering Passage Peak. The 10-minute trip concludes by flying back over Hamilton Island's world-class marina. This trip can host two passengers at a time, so make sure you’re in good company.

Tailor your escape to Hamilton Island

Immerse yourself in Hamilton Island with Luxury Escapes’ hand-picked Experiences. We’ve curated a selection of cultural activities, adrenaline thrills, food adventures and luxury add-ons to help you discover your destination. These Experiences are bookable when you purchase your next escape. Simply select your travel dates and number of travellers for any package, and opt to tailor your escape by selecting the available Experiences.