Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia. It is positioned approximately 887 kilometres north of Brisbane and 512 kilometres south of Cairns. It is also the only island in the Great Barrier Reef with its own commercial airport, with short direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns. Like most in the Whitsunday group, Hamilton Island was formed as sea levels rose which created numerous drowned mountains that are situated close to the east coast of Queensland.
At the 2011 Australian Census, the island recorded a population of 1,208 people. Hamilton Island is a popular tourist destination all year round. In late August, the island plays host to its annual Hamilton Island Race Week yachting festival, in which more than 250 yachts from across Australia and New Zealand gather for a week of races around the Whitsunday Islands. This is only one of many events hosted on the island. Hamilton Island has won multiple awards including the Australian Traveller 'Most Desirable Island Escape' Award in 2015.
Tropical weather with a rainy season from November to March.
Hamilton Island has an airport with a single runway. It is capable of supporting jet aircraft, but there is no aerobridge, passengers embark and disembark via unsheltered stairs. The two level terminal building services three departure gates and features a club lounge and a small cafe. Hamilton Island airport is served by Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Qantas. There are direct flights from many Australia cities, including Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne.
Fares to Hamilton can be very competitive: from many centres it can be cheaper to fly to Hamilton Island and transfer to the mainland rather than the other way around.
Fantasea operates ferries between Shute Harbour on mainland Australia. Costs are $55 for an adult one-way.
A free shuttle bus meets all arriving aircraft to transfer guests to the Reef View Hotel, Whitsunday Holiday Apartments or Palm Bungalows. Beach Club guests, Reef View Hotel Suite, qualia and Deluxe Holiday Home Villa guests will receive VIP transfers in a chauffeured golf buggy. Hamilton Island Holiday Home guests check in at reception counter at the airport entrance - and pick up their personal 4 seater golf buggy on arrival.
You can get around in Hamilton island by golf buggies. Cars are prohibited. Apartment hire usually includes exclusive use of a buggy. Golf buggies can be hired, for a daily fee. Hiring a buggy requires a credit card imprint which will be returned if the buggy is returned with no damage. Insurance is also available for an extra fee. A full drivers licence is required to drive a buggy. Beach Club guests receive 24 hour complementary buggy chauffeur service to any destination of their choice.
Free shuttle bus services operate on the island. One service operates continuously between the resort precinct and the marina, completing the loop every 15 minutes. Two other services run clockwise and counter-clockwise on a circuit that covers a greater part of the island.
You can walk around the island. You have to climb up and over the hill to get between the airport section, marina section and resort section, taking around 20 minutes or so for the journey by foot. Hence the popularity of the golf buggies.
There are restaurants, cafes and pool bars attached to most of the hotels and resorts. There are also independent food places in the Marina area. You can get reasonably priced food at the take-away places, and even an occasional snack from the pool bars. Expect to be paying a premium to eat here though. There are no real bargains to be had.
There are multiple forms of accommodation to choose from on Hamilton, from bungalows to high rise hotels, apartments and 5-star resorts.
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