Travel Rankings & Advice

Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island Photo info
Hamilton Island Enterprises
  • Type: Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation, Sightseeing
  • Time to Spend: More than Full Day
Overall Rating: 4.5 (4.7)
Value: 3.5 (3.5)
Facilities: 5.0 (5.0)
Atmosphere: 5.0 (5.0)
About these ratings

If the diving spots closest to the Queensland coast are too crowded for you, consider trekking 18 miles east of the mainland to Hamilton Island. It's the largest inhabited island of the Whitsundays group (a collection of 74 islands situated off the central Queensland coast), yet 70 percent of it remains undeveloped.

Thanks to its location in the Southern Hemisphere, Hamilton Island offers balmy 80-degree temperatures year-round. These sultry conditions lend themselves well to the bevy of outdoor activities: Dip your toes into the thermal sea while on a kayaking, snorkeling or scuba diving excursion, or catch an aerial glimpse of the famous Heart Reef on an air tour. If you prefer to stay on land, head out on a hike through the Whitsunday bushland.

The fastest and most convenient way to get to Hamilton Island is by plane. As the main air hub for the Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island welcomes flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns via Jetstar, Virgin Australia and QantasLink. You can also hop on a regional flight from other central coastal towns like Mackay, Prosperine and Airlie Beach. If you'd rather enjoy an extended scenic route, you can take a coach bus from Brisbane, Townsville or Cairns to Airlie Beach and catch a ferry to Hamilton Island from Shute Harbour (about 6 miles east of Airlie Beach).

Because of the island's idyllic climate, visitors flock to the island year-round, but for a spectacular nature show, head to the island during the hemisphere's winter season (June through August). During these months, you'll likely spot migrating whales navigating their way through the warm sea that surrounds the Whitsundays.

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