Hamilton Island & other Wthitsundays
Travel to Hamilton and The Whitsunday Islands, a stunningly beautiful collection of 74 islands nestled within the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. It’s hard to top the enchantment of sailing through the Whitsundays. Since only 8 of these islands are inhabited, 66 of them are virtually untouched, creating the perfect setting to spend days exploring, snorkeling or simply relaxing on the shores of untainted white sand beaches.
The Whitsundays are the largest group of offshore islands in Australia. The principal inhabited island is the namesake island, Whitsunday, with Hamilton Island coming in a close second in size. The moonlit nights, fiery sunsets, hidden beaches and pure ocean air surrounding these islands set the tone for a turquoise-water paradise home to the biggest and most intricate coral reef system in the world.
Swim, snorkel and dive at secluded anchorages including Blue Pearl, Butterfly and Hook Island Bays. Enjoy the lavish resort atmosphere of Hamilton Island, where cars are not allowed, only golf carts. Bushwalk through the national park on South Molle and unwind in Hayman Island’s five-star atmosphere of luxury. On Whitsunday Island, let your toes slip deeply into the milk-colored sands of Whitehaven Beach. At the northern end of Whitehaven Beach is Hill Inlet, a stunning cove where the tide shifts the sand and water to create a beautiful fusion of colors. Travel by seaplane or helicopter for an unforgettable aerial view of the iconic beach.
Airlie Beach is the main area in the Whitsundays, and often the first stop for travelers to the area. A picturesque town with a number of hotels, condos, restaurants, bars, and shops, the town boasts expansive views of the coastline, the shapes of distant islands just visible on the horizon. To the west of Airlie Beach is one of the oldest surviving rainforests, the Dryander and Conway National Parks, home to some of Australia’s most unusual plants and animals. Tucked away upstream from the town is Proserpine Lake, also called Peter Faust Dam, an ideal spot for sailing, water sports and freshwater fishing.
Featuring an idyllic tropical climate, pristine beaches and coral, beautiful bays and also the home of Australia’s most flavorful mangos, Bowen is one of the undiscovered gems of Queensland. Situated in the northern region of the Whitsundays on the shores of Edgecumbe Bay, Bowen is just 40 minutes drive north from Airlie Beach. This picturesque seaside town offers beachcombers a veritable paradise with eight palm-fringed beaches to explore.
Hamilton Island is akin to a mini St. Tropez featuring a small yacht harbor, and it is also one of the few islands in the Whitsundays that offers accommodations. The area is the perfect to explore by boat – charter your own, be part of a crewed charter, or do it in style on a luxury boat or premium yacht.
In late August each year, the island plays host to its annual Hamilton Island Race Week yachting festival, in which more than 150 yachts from across Australia and New Zealand gather for a week of races around the islands. On “Whitehaven Day,” the yachts descend upon Whitehaven beach for a big beach party.
Unlike most islands off the east coast of Australia, Hamilton Island is used almost exclusively for tourism. However the island is catering for a growing number of residents, both employees of the various businesses on the island and also those choosing to retire and enjoy the island lifestyle. Hamilton is also the only island in the Whitsundays with its own airport, offering direct flights from Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.
There are a number of island resorts located in the Whitsundays. From the 5-star luxury islands of Hayman, and Hamilton to budget retreats, there is a choice for everyone. On Hamilton Island, stay at Qualia or the Hamilton Island Reef View Hotel. Resort islands in the Whitsunday region include Hayman, Hamilton, Daydream, Lindeman, Brampton, Long, Hook and South Molle. Travel to the Whitsunday Islands for a laid-back adventure in the lap of luxury.