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.

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Discover Hamilton Island

Things to see and do

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.

Public pool access
Hamilton Island
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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).

Passage Peak
Access via the Scenic Trail, on the eastern end of Catseye Beach
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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.

Dent Island Yoga
Reachable via ferry from Hamilton Island’s Golf Course Jetty
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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.

All Saints Chapel
1 Melaleuca Dr
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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.

Catseye Beach
4803 Resort Dr
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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?

Buggy Rally
Sports Club on Resort Dr
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Top places to eat and drink

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.

Bommie Restaurant
Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Front St

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.

Coca Chu
Hamilton Island Resort Centre, Resort Drive
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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.

Manta Ray
Front St
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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.

Clubhouse Restaurant
Reachable via ferry from Hamilton Island’s Golf Course Jetty
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Romano's

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.

Romano's
Front Street, Marina Village
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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.

One Tree Hill Bar
Whitsunday Blvd
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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.

Bob's Bakery
Front Street, Marina Village
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