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If you’re unfamiliar with Hamilton Island it’s located in the Whitsundays, an archipelago off the coast of Queensland, Australia, that ideally serves as a base of operations for those wanting to see the Great Barrier Reef. The entire island, and neighboring Dent island, are owned and run by the Australian winemaking family, the Oatleys.
Hamilton Island is non-motorized, other than official vehicles, and the main means of transport is either foot or shuttle. You do have the option of renting a golf cart, which is pricy, but ultimately worth it – you’re on vacay in the middle of the ocean, off the coast of Australia, for goodness sake!
There are 4 hotel choices
- Beach Club ( $600+)
- Palm Bungalows ( $250+ )
- Reef View Hotel ( $250+ )
They’re sorted from the most luxurious to the least, but nothing on the island is cheap. In fact, everything is intra-connected, so when you go to the harbor to eat dinner, you can charge to your room. It’s really an incredible concept that I’m extremely grateful to have experienced both at Qualia and at Palm Bungalows.
Why we chose Palm Bungalows
The Palm Bungalows are individual cottages set adjacent to the Reef View and across the street from the Beach Club. When we were booking, the Palm Bungalows were roughly the same price as Reef View, and almost half that of Beach Club, and we’d already booked two nights at Qualia on the other side of the island. We knew Qualia would be insane, and we were splurging big time to experience it, so we were primarily looking at Reef View and Palm Bungalows.
The Bungalows seemed far more quaint, but also nicer, than the accommodations at Reef View, and we were right. Unless an ocean view is imperative, I’d choose the bungalows over reef view, all things considered.
Paying for the trip
- When: April 2018
- Where: Hamilton Island Australia
The Palm Bungalows check-in is a part of the Reef View hotel, and it was an absolute madhouse. We arrived from the tranquility of Qualia to an explosion of guests checking out at Reef View. Bags lined up, guests dashing here and there. We were snapped back to the reality of travel that keep people from traveling…chaos.
I loved our little Bungalow. While we were in the middle of the pack, we didn’t share a wall, and judging by how packed the hotel was, I can imagine that there were a lot of kids running up and down the hallways in the Reef View. We felt “in the action,” but we also had privacy and some space to ourselves.
Each one is fit with a hammock at the entrance, high ceilings, and a small little kitchenette. It was very well maintained with a little porch, and a place to plug a golf cart if you rented one.
A small bathroom with shower
Renting a golf cart
While you can certainly make do with walking everywhere or taking the shuttle, I think your experience on the island is immensely improved with your own transportation. Here’s a look at prices.
You can walk over to the beach as well
Neither the Reef View nor the Bungalows are on the beach ( that’s only the Beach Club in this area of the the island ) so grab your flip flops, towel, and lotion and head on over. The islands popping out of the water are simply a breaktaking backdrop.
Taking a hike to Passage Peak
If you head past the Reef View Hotel the road will narrow and end at the start of the trail. In total… I believe it took us about 2 hours bungalow to peak to bungalow.
We needed to be out of the room at 10am. Yeah…pretty early, but the hotel does have a lounge where you can hang out, or as we utilized, lockers. While we were a bit concerned leaving our bags outside while we went to the harbor to eat lunch, we also didn’t want to carry our laptops, etc. We scurried over and easily nabbed a place to lock our stuff up while we mosied around.
Hamilton Island is someplace I’d highly recommend visiting. You can check out more thoughts and ideas on visiting, but if you’re looking for accommodations on the island that are private, nicely appointed, and get the most bang for your buck – I’d go with the Palm Bungalows.
The next installment on this series will feature touring the Great Barrier Reef by helicopter. Helis aren’t always worth it, but for this great wonder…it absolutely was worth every penny.
Australia 2018 – Qantas First, Cathay Biz/First, Sydney, Melbourne, Gold Coast, and Hong Kong
- How I found and booked 2 Qantas First Class Tickets
- How I landed Qantas + Cathay Biz/First to/from Australia – $40k in value
- How I used Alaska Miles to bake in a stopover in a Hong Kong
- Review: Qantas First Class Lounge LAX
- Review: Qantas First Class LAX-MEL
- Review: Qantas Business Class Lounge Melbourne
- Review: Qantas Business Class A330 Melbourne to Sydney
- Intercontinental Sydney
- How to spend 2 awesome nights in Melbourne
- Review: Qualia – Hamilton Island
- Review: Palm Bungalows – Hamilton Island
- Why you should add Hamilton Island to your Australia adventure
- What it’s like taking a helicopter to the Great Barrier Reef
- Review: Sofitel Gold Coast
- Review: Qantas Business Class Lounge Brisbane
- Review: Cathay Pacific Business Class A350 Brisbane to Hong Kong
- Review: Cathay Pacific Arrivals Lounge Hong Kong
- Review: Grand Hyatt Hong Kong 1 bedroom Suite
- What it’s like being a Hyatt VIP with Prive
- Review: Cathay Pacific The Pier
- Review: Cathay Pacific The Wing
- Review: Cathay Pacific The Bridge
- Review: Cathay Pacific First Class Hong Kong to Los Angeles