Written by Kerrie Alexander
When the opportunity came up to spend seven days on Hamilton Island in the breathtaking Whitsundays, I had no idea what to expect.
My OCD went into overdrive with questions; How big was the island and could you walk it, was the apartment we were booked in really just a stones throw from the iconic Catseye Beach, what restaurant did they have and would they cater for kids?
Would Mr 8 be bored, or would we need to send him to the Clownfish Kids Club?
No amount of Google searches could prepare you for this exquisite destination.
The holiday feels started as soon as we boarded the airport shuttle bus to our accommodation at the Whitsunday Apartments. The spacious one bedroom, fully self-contained apartment was a home away from home.
The million-dollar views from the balcony, and the hundreds of feathered friends that came to say hello each day, had to be seen to be believed.
At check-in the only rule they had was to keep the balcony door close while we weren’t there. Well, we forgot one day and paid the price with the cockatoos having a field day with every bit of food they could find off the kitchen bench!
Many of the blogs I visited beforehand recommended hiring a golf buggy a few months in advance to get around in for the week and I’m so glad we did! It gave us the freedom to do a self-drive tour around the island, which was so much bigger than I expected.
If you want the whole experience like heading to One Tree Hill for the spectacular sunset and cocktail every afternoon, go-kart racing, mini golf, a day at the spa, lunch time drinks at the Tavern, a visit to the wildlife park to pat a koala or a throw a ball down the bowling alley – the buggy is a must!
It’s like a tropical township, not a resort.
We had a four-seater and there was no training required. The island is almost car-free so instead of car parks, there’s buggy parking all around the island and charging stations at your accommodation.
Most of the pools are adjacent to the hotels … our favourite was the Bougainvillea pool, where there’s a bar with delicious apple mojitos and hot snacks.
I was also told by veteran Hamilton holiday makers to book the restaurants well in advance even though it was off-peak. Again, it was a good move. You can view the menus online and decide which suits you best.
The more up-market venues weren’t popular with my fussy crew, but that’s not to say the meals weren’t nice. Just different!
I highly recommend the Marina Tavern for some awesome classic pub-style meals. It was also the only place on the island where we could get Mr 8’s go-to chicken and chips. You can just stroll into this venue at your pleasure. No booking is required.
To save a few dollars, providing you book a hotel with a kitchen, you can opt to do your own cooking by shopping at the Marina IGA, with a bottle shop right next door. The prices were very reasonable.
What I also didn’t know before we arrived is that there’s a pizzeria, fish and chip shop and bakery for when you’ve had enough of restaurant meals.
Mid-week of our adventure just happened to fall on my 40th birthday. While we had originally planned for a day of quite cocktails by the pool, a last-minute decision was made to book a super special helicopter flight over to Whitehaven Beach – named number one beach in the world.
Mr 8 had never even been on a plane before, let alone a helicopter, but he took it all in his stride.
here was absolutely nothing to fear. The pilot gave us a tour over the incredible Whitsundays before landing on the beach. He set up an umbrella, picnic blanket and a bottle of champagne for us to relax with while he flew off to collect his next passengers.
He arrived back to collect us about an hour later. We made some wonderful memories that day.
What makes Whitehaven so unique is the 98.9% pure silica sand that graces the 7km long beach.
Silica sand comes from eroding quartz, so there is much speculation about where the sand came from, as it is the only area in the Whitsundays that consists of this fine powdery substance. You could feel the silicon on your skin!
We packed in a lot of holiday fun over the seven days, including an Explore sunset cruise on board a catamaran. There was a little bit of chop on the water, but nothing could spoil such a spectacular sunset.
Downloading the Hamilton Island App before you go will ensure you don’t miss out on the daily activities on offer. You can also view maps, book a restaurant, book tours, view menus, and heaps more.
Hamilton Island gets the full five stars from me!