You are using an unsupported browser. It is recommended that you upgrade Internet Explorer to the latest version, to ensure this website displays as intended.
Travel Diary

Top 5 Things to Do on Hamilton Island

©Kara Rosenlund

Here it is – the second installment of my Travel Tips, this time we are heading off to Hamilton Island, one of the Whitsunday Islands and close to the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland.

I come up to Hamilton Island frequently to photograph the island. People are always asking me what it’s like – what to do, where to stay, c’mon c’mon, Kara, tell me all the insider stuff.

I actually really love sharing the knowledge and I get way too excited to be able to help people (I even helped a stranger plan a wedding proposal holiday on the island, via instagram DM, she said yes, phew)

I have experienced the very best of what the island has to offer – from the low key to high end. If Hamilton Island is on your list of must-do places, then here are my Top 5 Things to do.

1. Grab that window seat quick smart

It starts at home, so before you leave, when you are checking in for your flight, be sure to book a window seat.

On a clear day, you will see the most magnificent aerials coming into Hamilton Island. All that blue and aqua. You don’t want to miss out on seeing this.

Above left: inside my bag / Above right: coming into the island from the window seat.

Above left: Catseye Beach, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

2. Where to Stay

Don’t worry – I have you covered. I have three great options for you and I have stayed in all of them. It really comes down to what you want out of this holiday.

Reef View Hotel

This is actually where I stay most often. It is family friendly, great for singles and also couples. It ticks a lot of boxes. There is a pretty impressive buffet breakfast included in the stay and it opens you up to a lot of the islands facilities.

For the family holiday, this is the best option. They make it really easy for families and it has a nostalgic vibe.

Tip – Look out for accommodation packages which include buggy hire – that’s right – Hamilton Island is car free and buggies are the only mode of self drive – do it, it is so much fun!

Above left: the balcony view from Reef View Hotel / Above right: buffet breakfast offerings, dippy eggs with soldiers at Reef View, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above left: the view from One Tree Hill / Above right: stacked pancakes and berry compote from the breakfast buffet at Reef View, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above: the infinity edge pool at Beach Club, under the palms looking out to Catseye Beach, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Beach Club

Next up on the accomodation suggestions is Beach Club, this one is just for adults. It’s a boutique hotel nestled right on Catseye Beach, overlooking the Coral Sea.

I really enjoy staying here, it always feels rather special and very considered. It offers impressive five star fine dining and a really beautiful infinity pool looking out to the ocean.

If you are after something a little more ‘romantic’ for your getaway, then this one is it. (This is where I told the instagram proposal DM gentleman to stay, she said yes, so it worked!)

Above left: bedroom details inside Beach Club / Above right: the option to in-room dine at Beach Club, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above left: lunch by the pool at Beach Club / Above right: Catseye Beach looking through to Passage Peak, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above left: palm fronds in the sunlight / Above right: raspberry sorbet at Beach Club, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above left: locally sourced prawns at Beach Club / Above right: Catseye Beach sun drenched, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above: the iconic Australian vista of qualia, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

qualia

If you want to dial it all the way up, then you will want to stay at qualia. A world class luxury resort which feels like your own private island escape.

qualia is the place to stay if you really want to do it well, celebrate a milestone or give yourself a treat. It really does feel like another world of mesmerising calmness and relaxation here.

Above left: the infinity pool at Pebble Beach, qualia / Above right: inside a Leeward Pavilion at qualia, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above: Windward Pavilion with its own private plunge pool at qualia, looking out to the Coral Sea, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above left: considered details inside a Leeward pavilion at qualia / Above right: Pebble Beach on sunset, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above: world class dining at qualia, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

The menu is extraordinary also. Inspired by the resorts vistas and the landscape, the menus are always light, fresh and forward thinking. I always really enjoy photographing the creations of Executive Chef Doug Innes-Wills.

Above left: Pebble Beach at dusk, qualia / Above right: chilled rosè, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above: the artful menu of qualia, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above: Whitehaven Beach as seen by air, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

3. Visit Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach is one of the world’s most unspoilt and beautiful beaches. I adore visiting this famous stretch of beach with its swooshes and swirls of turquoise, blue and green water.

You feel like a castaway, shipwrecked on an isolated paradise while you explore and swim in the aqua waters.

Above left: a Whitehaven Beach set up arranged for qualia guests / Above right: the pristine waters, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Whitehaven is just a thirty-minute trip on a high-speed catamaran or you can arrange a helicopter or seaplane from Hamilton Island, which I would strongly recommend if you can.

Seeing this by air is just so emotional, all that natural beauty. You have to experience it.

Remember to pack your sunglasses, suncream and a hat – the sand is pure white which makes for a brilliant yet bright light out there.

Above: the clear waters of Whitehaven Beach, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above: the swirls of aqua and white sand at Hill Inlet, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

4 – Where to Eat

There are so many places to eat, so many…

One of my favourite things to do is to grab some simple fish and chips from Popeyes Takeaway. You can’t beat fish and chips when you are so close to the water. Plus – they are plastic bag free – which makes me so happy!

Then head to the marina and dangle your feet in the blue water or head over to Catseye Beach and look out at the Coral Sea.

Above left: the marina in the afternoon / Above right: Popeye’s Fish and Chips, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above left: abundant fish life, available as a photographic print / Above right: sitting in the marina, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above: the view from One Tree Hill on dusk, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above left: Lobster and Betel Leaves at Coca Chu / Above right: Dining detail at Romanos, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

There are so many great choices to eat out. I would recommend to make some reservations, as restaurants can book out fast, and no one like it when that happens. No one.

Here are some of my favourite dining locations…

Coca Chu, Asian street style food. Son-in-law Eggs are fabulous and so are the Lobster Betel Leaves.

Above left: a simple salad at Italian restaurant Romano’s / Above right: Martini time at Mariners, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Romanos for contemporary Italian, Beach Club which I mentioned earlier, Bommie for fine dining, Manta Ray for pizza (they will even deliver pizza to your hotel room – if you have had too much fun in the sun and don’t feel like heading out, I know this from experience )

A great spot for lunch that not many people know about is the Club House over on Dent Island, which is just a short ferry ride away.

It’s actually where the golf course is, though it is such a beautiful lunch spot as it takes in views of the Whitesundays and Passage Peak. It’s really fun to mix it up and catch a ferry over. I love this spot!

Above left: palm trees at One Tree Hill / Above right: fine dining restaurant Bommie, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

5. It’s Sunset and Cocktail Time

There are only two places to be at sunset.

The first is at my favourite – Bommie Deck, watching the sun slowly dip behind Dent Island.

The other is sitting on the grass watching the same vista up at One Tree Hill.

Both places offer beverages to take in the views with great cocktail, wine and beer lists.

Above left: cocktail hour at qualia / Above right: sun drenched afternoons, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above left: the island on sunset / Above right: classic gin and tonics, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above left: cocktail hour at One Tree Hill / Above right: sun drenched afternoons watching the sun set at One Tree Hill, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

Above: sunset from One Tree Hill, shot on assignment for Hamilton Island.

I hope you enjoyed this one and will find these tips handy.

And yet again, this is totally unsponsored and something just for you. I’m sharing what I love to see and do and what not to miss out on! No one likes to be a FOMO on holidays.

Let me know if you would like another installment from somewhere else.

K x

p.s If you would like to check out my updated photographic portfolio, click here.

KARA’ S FAVOURITES

Shop the Story

visit the shop

BLOG

Related Stories

read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *