I recently had the chance to head up to Queensland, and spend a weekend on Hamilton Island – the largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays. It was my first time to the Whitsundays and it was truly magical; the perfect weekend away to switch off (which rarely happens as a photographer!) and to enjoy some sunshine.
Fleets of golf buggies are the main way to get around the island, generally included in the accommodation cost (ours was). As a luxury island, there is a variety of resorts to stay at, although bare in mind – they cost! I stayed with a group of mates in an Air BnB holiday rental which was everything we needed for our short stay.
Mornings were the nicest time to visit the main beach, Catseye Beach, before it became too hot and humid, also while the tide was all the way in. Late afternoon was also beautiful, the perfect spot to order a cold beer and enjoy the people watching.
Given the size of the island, it is not inundated with restaurants. There are definitely a few to choose from, my favourite was Manta Ray, serving up delicious seafood and pizza with a gorgeous view of the marina. Other restaurants included Tako Mexican, Romano’s Italian and Mariner’s Seafood.
I’m a huge fan of activities when I go away, it’s a great way to see various spots (as well as burn off some of that holiday wine!) Passage Peak is the highest point of Hamilton Island, 239m above sea level, and a little over a 2km hike to the top. The last 200m are tough, but the views from the top are well worth the sweat! Be sure to pack water, sunscreen and a hat, as the humidity gets to you – it pays to go prepared.
Kayaks are always good fun and are hireable from Catseye Beach as well as the marina.
Note: You have to stay in designated areas so it’s worth going early and beating the rush!
I thoroughly enjoyed Hamilton Island for a weekend. Unfortunately I didn’t have any more time to spend exploring the Whitsundays, although in the future I’d be saving up to spend a week or two sailing around, checking out the more unseen areas of such a beautiful location.
Tip: Pack a couple of bottles of wine, there isn’t much selection and it is obviously more expensive.