48 hours on Hamilton Island

It’s easy to see why Hamilton Island is one of the most popular spots for a getaway on the Great Barrier Reef. With palm-fringed beaches, top restaurants and stylish resorts, there’s plenty to do on land, while those keen to explore the clear waters of the Whitsundays will be richly rewarded. 48 hours on Hamilton Island
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48 hours on Hamilton Island

With palm-fringed beaches, water front accommodation and excellent eateries, there are plenty of reasons to spend two days on Hamilton Island.

It’s easy to see why Hamilton Island is one of the most popular spots for a getaway on the Great Barrier Reef. With palm-fringed beaches, top restaurants and stylish resorts, there’s plenty to do on land, while those keen to explore the clear waters of the Whitsundays will be richly rewarded.

Day one morning

Wake early to go for a swim

Make the most of your time on the island by getting up early and heading down to the beach for a swim. If you’re staying at luxury resort qualia, you can walk from your hillside suite to the resort’s private beach. Alternatively if you’re staying at the newly refurbished Beach Club, you’re right beside the popular Catseye Beach. Take a snorkel with you to see some of the beautiful marine life that live in the surrounding waters. Keep an eye out for the friendly clownfish made popular in the film, Finding Nemo.

Go exploring on the way to breakfast

After your refreshing swim, hop into an electric golf buggy, Hamilton Island’s main form of transport, and detour up onto One Tree Hill. The views over the turquoise Whitsunday waters and palm-fringed beaches are sensational; you’ll also see just how rugged Hamilton Island’s landscape is, with its forests and Passage Peak in the distance.

Next drive just under 5 minutes to Front Street, the attractive timber wharf area with its cafes and shops. Enjoy breakfast at the Marina Café or Bob’s Bakery, with palm trees behind you and yachts in front.

Spend your morning playing golf

From the Marina Village, take a 10 minutes ferry ride across the passage to Dent Island, home to one of the world’s most spectacular golf courses. Hamilton Island Golf Club is a championship 18-hole course and is as challenging as it is gorgeous. Spend lunch at the Golf Club with views over the Coral Sea.

Alternatively if you’re not keen on golf, a treatment at Spa qualia or Spa Wumurdaylin will revitalise you for the afternoon ahead.

Day one afternoon

Fly over Heart Reef

After lunch, a helicopter will collect you (landing outside the Golf Club if you wish) to take you on an hour’s flight-seeing tour. You’ll swoop over some of the Whitsunday’s 74 islands, fly low along the brilliant sands of Whitehaven Beach and then head out to the famous Great Barrier Reef where you will fly over Heart Reef. Named for its perfect heart shape, your pilot will give you plenty of opportunities to photograph this beautiful configuration of coral.

After this spectacular scenic tour, return to your suite to relax.

Dine at Coca Chu beside Catseye Beach

Coca Chu fuses the hawker-style street food of South-East Asia with the sublime Whitsunday surrounds. As the sun sets, enjoy dishes like grilled wagyu beef with kanom jin noodles or steamed coral trout wrapped in banana leaf.

Day two morning

A hearty breakfast

If you’re staying at qualia head up to the spectacular Long Pavilion with its serene views; alternatively if you’re in the Beach Club take a table in the beachside restaurant. Don’t miss the fruit selections as tropical Queensland grows some of the finest, sweetest fruit in the world. But don’t worry if you’re tempted by the likes of eggs Benedict – you’ll need a hearty breakfast for today’s activities.

Spend the day sailing, snorkelling and diving the Reef

Head to the Marina for an 8.30am start. You’ll sail with a small group between the islands on one of Hamilton’s purpose-built catamarans complete with showers, air-conditioning and decks for lounging. 

At the less-visited Bait Reef, snorkel or dive the clear waters to see coral and a diverse range of marine life including colourful reef fish, huge groupers, turtles and manta rays. Other dive sites include Stepping Stones, Paradise Lagoon and Manta Ray Drop Off.

All snorkelling gear and diving gear is supplied. A license is required for unaccompanied diving, though non-licensed beginners can do an introductory dive off the boat.

A buffet lunch is served as well as morning and afternoon tea, then it’s back at the marina for 5pm.

Day two afternoon

Dine at Bommie Restaurant

Tonight enjoy a drink while taking in the sunset on the Bommie Deck outside the remarkable Hamilton Island Yacht Club. Take your table at Bommie Restaurant for waterside fine dining where chef Josep Espuga serves contemporary Australian cuisine such as glazed duck breast with ginger pears, and Ōra king salmon with coconut emulsion and pickled daikon.

Find out more about the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef.  

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