Here’s why Hamilton Island should be on your Australian itinerary

a beach with buildings and trees

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Whether you are on a family vacation or a romantic holiday away, Hamilton Island is an incredibly cool experience that puts you within striking distance of the Great Barrier Reef, and has hotels suited for every style and budget.

Located amidst the Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island is privately owned ( The Oatley family acquired it in 2003) and is almost entirely dedicated to tourism – there are some residences, but otherwise – it’s all holiday resorts.

We spent 3 nights on Hamilton Island in April of 2018 and it was one of the most memorable aspects of our entire trip to Australia, and I would HIGHLY recommend it.

Here’s a unique aspect of the island – Aside from authorized hotel vehicles, nothing is motorized, and instead, you either hike, bike, or whiz around on golf carts.

a golf cart parked in front of a garage
private bungalow at Qualia

The Sunsets are insane – bike, hop on a tram, or drive your golf cart to One Tree Hill:

Get there when the view looks like this, snag a table, sip on a drink and watch the sun come down as people from all over the island flock to hilltop. Absolutely incredible.

a deck with tables and chairs overlooking a body of water

The Harbour

The Harbour is bouncing mid-day, and then it completely dies off as visitors clammer to the opposite of the island or One Tree Hill for sunset. Then the race is on to get back to wine and dine. And the Dining is unlike anyplace I’ve ever been. You don’t need a credit card because the entire island is inter-linked. You just bill it to your room.

Restaurants are mixed between and above cute boutiques where you can find memorabilia, clothing, etc.

Speaking of hotels – there are 4 main ones to choose from.

Reef View

A solid 3.5 to 4 star hotel that is suited for families looking for a holiday away. It’s a large tower. We stayed a the smaller bungalows located on property that have access to all the facilities, but are more conducive to couples or families looking to have more privacy.

a large building with palm trees and a parking lot

Palm Bungalows

These small bungalows are a bit more expensive than the entry level rooms at the Reef, but provide a far more private and separate experience.  We spent one night here and were very happy to be away from all the hullabaloo of the Reef.

a row of buildings with trees and grass

Beach Club 

Beach Club is a private, adults only, no kids 4.5 star hotel on the same complex as Reef View and Palm Bungalows. It features a private beach, restaurant, pool, and is geared for those looking to spend a bit more out of pocket for privacy, but not as much as Qualia.

a beach with chairs and trees


Qualia is the best resort in Australia and after staying there I can see why. I’m in the midst of writing a comprehensive review, but it’s truly a world class, jaw-droppingly beautiful, put it on your bucket list experience. The views are insane, the food is wonderful; however I did have a couple of service interruptions that I’ve yet to experience at hotels whose clientele is seeks, like the Peninsula Group.

The biggest draw for foreigners checking OZ off their bucket list…The Great Barrier Reef.

Hamilton Island is less than a 2 hour flight from coast and has tons of flights in and out of it.  Even better, you have multiple ways to get out to the Great Barrier Reef to snorkel: Boat, SeaPlane, and Helicopter.

a stuffed animal on a dock with a helicopter in the background

We decided to go all out and Heli there and back with snacks, private snorkel, and champagne toast. Yes…we had the entire Reef to ourselves for a complete hour. The cost – roughly $500 a piece. Honestly…I thought it was a helluva a deal to experience a wonder of the world from the sky where you truly see all its wonderment.

an aerial view of a blue ocean

Have you visited before? Where did you stay? What’d you think?

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

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  • […] you’re unfamiliar with Hamilton Island it’s located in the Whitsundays, an archipelago off the coast of Queensland, Australia, that […]

  • amy November 17, 2018

    Love Hamilton Island. Amazing with toddlers. We stayed at the Whitsunday Apartments. A huge 1BR, ocean view for 5 nights was only 92,000 chase points through their portal. (1.5x with Chase Reserve).

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