Chill out: the best things to do on Hamilton Island

Heading to Hamilton Island and not sure which adventure to tackle first? Start here.

Sandy beach, palm trees, deckchairs and umbrellas overlooking the beach at the Beach Club, Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Coast. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Jetstar
  • June 2021

When you land on Hamilton Island, it can be a bit overwhelming. Where do you start? A round of golf? Some snorkelling? The day spa? Hiking trails? The cocktail bars? It’s all there on this pleasure island in the Great Barrier Reef. And more. These are some of our favourite places to start.

Explore the Great Barrier Reef

Hamilton Island is smack bang in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, so you’re in a prime position to go exploring this magical part of the world. This is the world’s largest coral reef – a stunning underwater world of colourful coral, even more colourful fish and a whole host of marine life. There are a few different ways to explore the reef. You can book a day trip and go diving and snorkelling, you can take a cruise or you can splash out on a scenic flight.

An aerial shot of the heart-shaped Heart Reef and the Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Coast, Queensland.
The aptly named Heart Reef beats next to the Great Barrier Reef.

Discover the island on a Buggy Rally

Okay, this is fun. If you want to quickly get the lay of the land on Hamilton Island, sign up for a Buggy Rally. (Most accommodation bookings include the use of a golf buggy, or you can hire one.) You get a team of four together – it’s a super fun family activity – and drive around the island, answering a list of trivia questions. Each question spurs you on to the next location. It’s the perfect way to get to know the island and where the shops, restaurants and pools are.

A row of golf buggies lined up in front of a hotel on Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Coast, Queensland.
Start your engines! Explore Hamilton Island on a buggy.

Check out award-winning Whitehaven Beach

Sure, Hamilton Island is fringed with sand and has gorgeous beaches. But who can resist checking out the beach voted ‘#1 Best of the Best Beaches in the World’ in the Tripadvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards? Nearby Whitehaven Beach is just half an hour away on a catamaran and it’s an absolute stunner. Famed for its pristine white sand and impossibly blue waters, this beach is a must-see. Spend the day lounging on the warm sand, floating in the sparkling water, walking up to stunning lookouts and spotting local marine life.

An aerial shot of the white sand and turquoise waters of Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Coast, Queensland.
Is it any wonder Whitehaven has won Best Beach awards?

Bushwalk to beautiful views

Pick up a map and hit Hamilton Island’s walking trails – it’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty. You’ll discover hidden coves and sensational views, and there are some perfect picnic spots along the way. The map includes fitness levels, so pick one to suit you. The Passage Peak and Resort Trail walks get you to the highest views. The Icons Trail is a fun one, taking in four iconic landmarks; a 3m-tall chair, a giant swing, a hammock and a panoramic viewing platform.

Hiker takes in panoramic view of bushland and ocean from Passage Peak on Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Coast, Queensland. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
Feel the burn then enjoy the view from Passage Peak. Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

Dive into water sports at Catseye Beach

Catseye is one of the island’s main beaches and it’s a beautiful, curved beach with a mellow atmosphere. Just behind the beach, there’s the lagoon-style Main Pool, ringed with deckchairs (and a swim-up bar – that’s swimming, right?). You can also hire catamarans, paddleboards, windsurfers, kayaks and snorkelling equipment here. Book a guided snorkelling tour to get a close look at the local reefs or take a stroll on the sand flats at low tide for peak island vibes.

Palm trees and deck chairs on the shores of Catseye Beach, Hamilton Island, Queensland.
Catnap on a deckchair on Catseye Beach.