Hamilton Island Romantic Escape
Natural Beauty Beyond Compare
Startling natural beauty. Cockatoos, Curlews, Wallabies and many other native Australian animals at your doorstep.
Mountains on islands that jut out of the Pacific Ocean like the humps of the Lochness monster.
A beautiful playground filled with water sports, a swim up bar, restaurants with a full range of food and wine delights.
These are just a few of the features that entice visitors from around the world to the Hamilton Island resort that developer Keith Williams created on an almost virgin Island in the late 1970s and early 80s.
Keith had previously had great success with the Seaworld fun park on the Gold Coast and had now turned his focus to the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.
Thinking of staying on Hamilton Island? Rate Hotel Beds has several reviews of hotel beds on the island. Check them out by clicking here.
Seaplane to Whitehaven Beach
A ride in a seaplane is a truly incredible experience that I’ll never forget.
I never would’ve known except for one of my students who is a pilot and recommended that I go in one.
The plane itself is a work of art.
A 1955 Dehavilland Canada Beaver fully restored to its original glory.
It’s loud (but you get great headsets) and it can be rough especially when landing, but it’s just one of those things you need to do once.
Whitehaven is truly spectacular.
Ridiculously pure and fine white sand stretching for 7 glorious kilometres (4.3mi) and water so turquoise it’s almost iridescent.
Combine this with seaplanes and helicopters you feel like you’re on the set of a Hollywood movie.
One of the great things about Whitehaven beach and Whitsunday Island itself which is a National Park (Australia), is there are no hotels and a restricted number of campers allowed.
This has left it largely untouched except for an amenities block and a few picnic tables for day trippers.
Even if you only go once, it’s a great one to tick off the bucket list.
Awesome Water Sports!
On any given day you will see them out there in the dozens: Hobie Cats; Kayaks; Stand up Paddle Boards; and Snokels and Flippers.
I tried them all and by far the favourite for me was the snorkelling.
Mainly because it is an excellent way to see the beautiful marine life include sting rays, colourful fish including many “Nemos” or clown fish and my personal favourite 50 year old turtles the size of my torso.
One of these activities is sure to take you to your happy place and forget all the cares of your world.
If water sports aren’t your thing, then you can grab your current reading material, find a beach chair under a palm tree and read or sit and watch the sails of the Hobie cats.
I Swam with Huge Turtles
This was undoubtably my ultimate highlight.
There are those rare moments in life where you are able to get this close (but stay a respectable distance) to truly beautiful and large animals.
The first day that I tried for turtles I was unsuccessful. I still saw plenty of beautifully coloured reef fish and coral. Plenty of Nemos!
The second day I got a bit smarter. I asked a local where exactly would I be in the best position to see some turtles. He told me to go right out to the red buoy, and then about 20 metres to the right where there is abundance of seagrass growing on the coral.
I Couldn't Believe My Eyes!
Within 2 minutes of being in the right spot, I turned my head to the right, and nearly swallowed my snorkel!
Right there, about 5 metres away, just grazing on the seagrass like a cow would graze on grass in a meadow, was a glorious example of a mature sea turtle.
(photo courtesy Andrew Brown click here for his awesome Instagram photos)
I swam nearby for about 15 minutes, maintaining a respectful distance, so as not to startle the majestic creature.
I read that every 7 minutes they need to come up for air, and watched it swim to the top of the water and poke its little head just above the surface.
I could’ve easily stayed there for an hour, but moved on to see if I could find more. On my way back in I saw another huge turtle with a more monochrome brown coloured shell, and a much smaller turtle about the size of a small car tyre.
Included in our package was a twilight cruise around the island on a catamaran.
A cruise can be made or broken on the quality of the staff and how well they look after their guests. The staff from Explore were outstanding! They were a great testament to the culture of their company.
Drinks and nibbles were laid on and we were regularly asked if we wanted another. Could’ve rolled off the boat if we really wanted to!
Combine that with absolutely beautiful natural scenery and you have yourself a great afternoon.
Seafood Restaurant on Catseye Beach
Of course, one of the things that I love to do when going on holidays is to eat!
Another of the inclusions in our package was a dinner at the Beach Club Restaurant, which sits in a perfect place for views over the water.
On the menu are many marine delights such as Lobster, Moreton Bay Bugs (what is that? click here to find out), Mangrove Jack, Salmon, Octopus, and local Barramundi.
For the non-seafood lover there is also top quality steaks on offer as well.
We found the food was quite spectacular with a fantastic range of wines to go with each course.
Make sure you let them know if you are celebrating a special occasion as they do nice little touches to mark the occasion.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
The main focus of this article has been on the incredibly positive things I experienced,
But, I’m not going to pretend that this resort island sits perfectly well with me.
I was constantly seeing things which have permanently changed the environment on Hamilton Island and some of the other islands nearby,
Like concrete with aggregate on Catseye beach which was not originally a sand beach at all. Legend has it that the original developers took sand from Whitehaven nearby and were happy to pay the fine for doing so.
The other troubling issue is the native animal culls.
In 2016 with approval from the State government the island management carried out a cull of native animals including wallabies, possums, sulfur crested cockatoos and a kookaburra.
The reason given for the culls was animals harassing guests while eating and to prevent diseases being spread to visitors.
Click here to read the original article on the culls.
The reason I mention these things is because I feel that it’s important to know the history of places you go.
The reason I’ve mainly told you about the good is because I think they by far outweigh the negatives.
I also think that maybe they didn’t get it right at first but have now struck the right balance. Whitsunday Island, the largest of all, remains virtually untouched allowing it to be a breeding ground for so many native animals and birds.
Generations to come will be able to see and enjoy one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world.
At least with this information you will be more able to make an informed holiday choice.
Check out Hotel Bed Reviews on Hamilton Island
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