Decadent dining, wild watersports and chilled-out spa days: here’s our guide to things to do on Hamilton Island.
From white-sand beaches to rainbow-hued sunsets over hypnotic turquoise waters, Hamilton Island is an idyllic haven at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. While the largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays may be the ideal launchpad for exploring some of Australia’s most stunning backdrops, there are endless opportunities to stay entertained on the island itself. Here’s our guide to things to do on Hamilton Island.
Ready for an island adventure? Discover our collection of Whitsundays escapes.
An epicurean experience to suit every palate
One of the most ‘Hamilton’ experiences involves strolling to a waterfront eatery for exceptional fresh seafood. Catch of the day is Bommie Restaurant, which often sees long lines of customers awaiting a seat in front of the shimmering azure (book ahead if possible!). Poached scallops, miso-glazed kingfish and seafood pasta are just some of the treasured dishes here, while adventurous diners can put themselves in the chef’s hands with a delicious tasting menu.
Coca Chu makes a decadent affair out of hawker-style Vietnamese and Thai at this lantern-lit gem overlooking Hamilton Island Reef. Heralded as one of the best restaurants on the island, this crowd pleaser encourages groups to enjoy the vibrant street food of Asia. Popular dishes include Vietnamese chicken and glass noodle salad, Sichuan-style duck and jungle curry with steamed barramundi. A stellar wine list accompanies the menu, all prepared in an open kitchen, so you can watch the magic unfold.
Mariners became an instant hit when it opened, and this contemporary Australian restaurant continues to attract the masses today. Ideally situated on Front Street, adjacent to Hamilton Island Marina, this is one of the island’s ultimate date night venues. Visit for shared seafood platters and cocktails, beautiful presentations of Hiramasa with mustard and tarragon sauce or eye fillet with bearnaise espuma.
Looking for a more casual dining experience? Pizzeria and Gelato Bar’s woodfired pizzas — that are best enjoyed in a rustic fashion, torn apart by hand — bring in families from all over, while Manta Ray and Bob’s Bakery offer no-fuss dining for guests of all ages.
Watersports for all ages (and thrill levels)
From Hamilton Island’s picturesque Catseye Beach to nearby Whitehaven Beach (Whitsunday Island) and Chalkie’s Beach (Haslewood Island), it’s easy to find an array of water-based activities that run the gamut from relaxed (kayak and stand-up paddleboard hire) to white-knuckle (parasailing and tube riding). If you’re up for something a bit more strenuous, ask the pros for a windsurfing lesson or drop by the marina for paragliding sessions, lifting you up to 150 feet in the air.
If you think it’s magical on top of the water, just wait until you see what’s below. Discover Hamilton Island’s unforgettable snorkelling spots as you plunge beneath the glistening waves into an underwater wonderland of chromatic explosion. With an experienced operator, prepare yourself to come as close as possible to skittle-coloured coral formations, flamboyant schools of fish, and plenty more marine life as you weave your way through the waters, travelling out as far as the Great Barrier Reef.
Splash in the pristine waters of Catseye Beach before taking a relaxing dip in one of the island’s three resort pools. Secluded beachside, inviting landscaping and palm-lined surroundings make swimming on Hamilton Island a must-do experience. Once you’ve had your fill, find yourself a deckchair and get lost in a book. The Main Pool also hosts a convenient swim-up bar, ensuring you don’t need to go far for a refreshing drink.
Pamper yourself with an indulgent spa treatment
If an escape to Hamilton Island wasn’t relaxing enough, Spa qualia’s authentically Australian treatments are sure to make you feel blissed out in no time. From an aromatic cacao-infused oil massage to crystal healing and chakra-aligning facials, options abound at this tranquil haven. Please note: Entry to Spa qualia is exclusively for qualia guests or by invitation only. Bookings are essential.
Guests staying outside of qualia can find bliss at Spa wumurdaylin. Warm and relaxed, with a focus on capturing the natural beauty and essence of the Whitsundays, Spa wumurdaylin offers a soothing, organic and tranquil spa experience.
Your search for zen doesn’t stop there, as Dent Island (adjacent to Hamilton Island) is the proud home of sunrise hatha yoga classes. Catch the ferry over, assemble on the helipad, roll out a mat and soak in the sounds of the sea and wind for the perfect start to the day. What’s more, this indulgent sensory journey finishes with a healthy buffet breakfast spread.
Activities for the intrepid traveller
Hamilton Island’s picturesque landscapes, hidden wonders and beautiful weather are best explored from helicopter vantage point. Passing over the wondrous Heart Island, Whitehaven Beach and surrounding waterways is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, with many trips including landings and free time. Afraid of heights? Choose to explore the island’s lagoons by luxury yacht, exclusive charter, heritage yacht or glass-bottom boat, all at your own pace.
Hamilton Island may be best known for its hypnotic, turquoise waters and active marine life, but further inland a myriad of hiking trails await – the most famous of which is Passage Peak. Easily reached via the Scenic Trail on the eastern end of Catseye Beach, the path begins with a gradual, partly shaded climb on a shared walking path, before scaling a dedicated hiking track, with vistas over white sandy beaches, lush hills and nearby tropical islands. The route (2.7km one way) ends at the newly revamped viewing platform, perfect for a post-hike pause.
Make the most of holidaying in a car-free destination and explore Hamilton at your own pace with a golf buggy. If you want to make things a little more interesting, the Buggy Rally is a fantastic way to geographically acquaint yourself with the island. In teams of four or fewer, compete against others as you zip around the island, scavenging answers to a series of questions
Designed by five-time British Open winner Peter Thomson, the 18-hole, par 71 Hamilton Island Golf Course is said to be one of the most challenging of its kind. Boasting a punishing variety of obstacles, taking a swing here is a feast for the senses with wicked winds, impenetrable bushland, cleverly positioned bunkers and long fairways. Regardless, this golf course is a must do and beautifully caters for all experience levels. Plus, it offers spectacular views of the surrounding Whitsunday Islands and Coral Sea. Fun fact: the 14th hole is known as ‘Valley of Death’ — enjoy!
Featured image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.