I shuffled my toes into the soft, pristine silica sand as I leant back on my towel, gazing out to the sparkling turquoise water. With the occasional turn and smile to Reis, I noticed how it felt to have the wind rustle my hair and the sun penetrate my skin. I wanted every aspect of this experience to seep deep into my memory. You see, I have this daunting and painful experience of child birth slowly nearing and I know to get through I’ll need a distraction. I’ve been working on my meditation and figured it was likely someone helpful will tell me to think about my ‘happy place’ when I’m in pain or waiting between contractions… and if I was to pick any ‘happy place’ in the world, it would be here.
This holiday to the Whitsunday Islands was our babymoon – the last holiday before our family of two becomes a family of three. We stayed at Hamilton Island for 5 nights at the Reef View hotel and spent some time exploring Hamilton Island and it’s neighbouring islands. Our time there was really relaxing and restful but we also kept pretty active (or as active as a 7 month pregnant lady can), wanting to see as much as we could while we were there. We appreciated the few tips we had from readers on our Facebook and Instagram accounts, so we thought we too would pass on our Hamilton Island travel advice.
Food on Hamilton Island
Eat lunch at the bakery, cafe and fish shop
You’ll save a motser as you can get a meal for around $10 each, rather than the casual dining restaurants where mains start at around $20-25. Most days, we saved those for dinner. We didn’t bother with any of the 5 star restaurants where mains started at $50 because we weren’t in the mood for fine dining, most of the time by the evening I was exhausted. There is a grocery store there with a good range of items (although it is a little more expensive than the mainland) and if you had a family you could make cheaper lunches by purchasing sandwich ingredients and large drinks etc.
You’ll likely meet these very bold characters who are obviously feed WAY too often. Don’t be swayed by their cute fluffiness – it’s all a ploy!
Breakfast on Hamilton Island
If you’re staying at Reef View, your breakfast will be included at Sails, the Hotel Restaurant and the Wildlife Park. Sails and the restaurant have the same type of food but sails has a far better atmosphere – its less busy and you can see the beach not just the pool. Don’t bother with breakfast with at the Wildlife Park – food is VERY average and whilst Koalas are right next to you whilst you’re eating they also go to the toilet there too. We would advise just walking past at about 9am to see them.
Snorkelling Tour Hamilton Island
This is something you REALLY need to do. There is hardly any coral at Cateye’s beach (the beach outside of the hotel) and the fish are scarce. We did see a turtle though, so it is still worth giving it a go one morning or afternoon.
The best way to view the Reef and sea life is to jump on a tour. Whilst expensive, they were the highlights of our trip. The outer reef is worth seeing if you haven’t seen it before, although this time we chose a half day inner reef tour off the top of Hook Island and there was still plenty to see there. We went with this tour from Explore and were very happy with the crews service, we even had some extra time and they took us to see Indian Head (can you see it?!) on the way home.
I think these pictures speak 1000 words, so I’ll give you two. DO IT.
Utilise the free water sports on Hamilton Island
If you stay at Reef View Hotel you have free access to watersports including stand up paddle boarding, snorkelling, catamaran hire and sea kayaks. These are all a lot of fun and worth while trying! TIP: don’t wear expensive sunglasses when participating in watersports – I lost a good Oroton pair when I fell off my standup paddle board (apparently finding your balance in SUP yoga is more difficult when you’re pregnant!).
Golf Buggy Hire
If it’s not included in your accommodation, I wouldn’t bother hiring one. Its about $87 per day and if you get one, you miss out on walking off your big breakfast!
Bush Walks Hamilton Island
We did two bush walks whilst on Hamilton, Passage Peak and South East Head. I highly recommend prioritising walking both at either sunset or sunrise. Both are fairly steep but the views are well worth it! Careful on the gravel going down hill, it can get slippery.
Coca Chu Restaurant
This is probably the best of the more casual restaurants. It serves South East Asian cuisine in a industrial beach style setting. The flavours in the dishes are to die for. Unfortunately there aren’t a lot of vegetables in these types of meals, so that’s what I craved the most when I came home!
Mini Golf Hamilton Island
Reis dragged me to mini golf, paying $16 each to play. Despite my lack of enthusiasm, it was surprisingly fun and the course was set in a pretty tropical garden. Worthwhile visiting if you have a windy day and the watersports suddenly become for the brave at heart.
Gym Classes and Run Club Hamilton Island
Unfortunately with all the other activities I was too tired to do a class/the ones I wanted to do didn’t align with our schedule. Reis attended the run club though and the ladies there said the classes were great. The classes are $8 each if you stay at Reef View – pretty reasonable! Reis loved run club but beware it was a tough 8km run, so probably not aimed at beginners.
Take a water bottle
Take a water bottle you can refill. We do this every holiday. It means you save money on buying water all the time and you know you’re more likely to stay hydrated because you have it with you all the time.
Have you been to Hamilton? What did you enjoy? If you have any questions, please ask in the comments below, we would love to help make your holiday amazing!