We returned from our holiday in Hamilton Island and as I’ve been going through all the photos and gopro footages, I can’t help but to wanting to go back there again. It was very peaceful and relaxing place to be. And we were constantly surrounded by beautiful scenery everywhere. Initially when we were planning this 1-week long trip few months back, we thought of going to Bali again – for their delicious food and daily massage sessions! But at the same time, I did not want to risk having zika, dengue and rabies, especially knowing that Bali is easy to get to from Australia anyway. So instead, we decided to go to Hamilton Island to explore The Great Barrier Reef and I’m really glad that we did.
We noticed we were one of many young couples, families (with and without little kids), people from overseas and honeymooners visiting Hamilton Island. But the biggest group that stood out from everyone else were number of pregnant women on the island, and I quickly realized that this would make a very attractive babymoon destination!
Hamilton Island has number of options for accommodation. You can get as budget-friendly as you want and stay at self-serving apartment units, or you can stay classy in Qualia or other luxury villas. We decided to go to The Reef View Hotel, and chose to stay in one of their Coral Sea View Rooms.
When we got there I found out that we’ve been allocated to be on the 7th floor. I wondered if there would be a room available on the higher floors. The front desk people were very accommodating and arranged to move us the same evening, which was great.
We definitely enjoyed the bird’s eye view from our balcony on the 17th floor!
The downside of being on the 17th floor was that all the rooms were connected by a thin door. Apparently, this applied to all of the rooms in the hotel from the 17th floor. Unfortunately we did have a really loud next door occupants which kept us awake during the night which resulted changing our room once again.
Overall, the reef hotel was great place to stay. The room was quite spacious and well-kept. The people at the front desk and the managers were helpful and accommodating. The location was also convenient as it was walking distance to most of places including Marina.
After we booked to go to Hamilton Island in the first week of June, we realized that it was going to be during our winter time. We wondered whether it would be too cold to jump into the water. But once we landed, we realized that it was all going to be okay. It was hot during the day, toasty enough to wanting to jump into the sea water while it cooled down in the evening which required a light long sleeve jacket. Because this was an off-peak season as well, I felt like it was bit more nicer as the places were not too packed.
We were extremely lucky and during our stay the weather has been absolutely perfect with full sun with minimum wind as this made our snorkeling lot enjoyable.
We were there for 6 days (but 5 full days). We wanted this holiday to be a relaxing one, and didn’t really plan things ahead. The only thing that we had booked was one of the full-day trips. Mind you, there are heaps of activities that you can do on Hamilton Island and it is quite easy to find out about them from their website or at the hotel’s activities desk. We did end up booking into another full day activity just after we checked in. However if you are heading to Hamilton Island during the peak season, I would highly recommend you to book things ahead as there are limited number of activities available.
- We arrived late evening and by the time the bags came to us and we switched our room it was dinner time. We had some bites and went out for a walk to the marina area to explore the area.
- Perhaps we were inspired by the trail walk that we did in Italy… we decided to get up and go for a bushwalk in the morning. The lady at the activities desk weren’t very helpful with regards to which trail we should take so we chose to go to the ‘escape beach’.
- It took us little more than an hour to get there. There are some steep segments.
- You do need to wear proper walking shoes.
- Despite quite the exotic name, we escaped to nowhere.
- If you want to do a trail walk, I would suggest that you do another trail besides the walk to the escape beach unless all you are after is some privacy. If you are on a tight schedule, I would skip the bushwalking entirely.
- Spent the rest of afternoon in/by the pool
- Enjoyed our snorkel and kayak time on the Catseye beach
- Snorkel gears, kayak and paddle boats are free to rent
- Sunset at the One Tree Hill
- Catch a orange bus to the One Tree Hill, which is one of the popular spots for enjoying sunset. You need to get there well before the sunset if you want to secure seat at the cocktail bar. Alternatively, you can buy the drinks at the bar (or bring a bottle of wine from bottle shop) then just sit on the grass/steps like we did, which actually had better view of the sunset.
- We booked ourselves in for Explore’s sail and snorkel whitehaven and chalkies beach. We had lots of fun on this full day trip as we swam, snorkeled and just chilled on the beautiful Whitehaven beach.
- We went on another full day trip with Explore’s Full day snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef and we truly had the best time surrounded by beautiful reef and fishes. This day was probably the highlight of our trip.
- Buffet breakfast with koalas at the wildlife park.
- More swim/snorkel at the catseye beach
- daytime drinks at the marina
- We had 2-3 hours to chill before our flight, so we decided to chill by the beach
- There are enough options for eating out on the island if you are staying about a week.
- Even during the off-peak season, we noticed that most of the restaurants got booked out on the day. I recommend booking them ahead of time.
- There is a small grocery store and a bottle shop in the marina area which can be quite handy.
- Posts to follow on some of the restaurant reviews.
- You can totally get away without hiring a buggy if you stay at The Reef View Hotel. Reasons being, the marina (where all the shops are) is only 5-10 minutes of easy walk and there are free shuttle busses which you can hop on from the front of the hotel. Unless you are traveling with an elderly person or a young baby, no buggy required.
- We regretted that we did not bring our own snorkel gears. Bring your own if you own one as they will come in handy.
- Reef/aqua shoes were useful especially at the Catseye beach
- I would highly recommend spending some time in the Great Barrier Reef!!
- Bring your gopro – if you don’t own one, there was an option of renting one when you are on the full day trips with Explore for about $65 for full day. I would definitely look into this and book it in.
I would love to come back to Hamilton Island one day. Hubby wants to play golf next time. I think I’ll spend more time under the water. I hope the reef stays as beautiful as it was until the next time!