There’s plenty more things to do on this island paradise than sip on cocktails and catch magnificent sunsets.
While lazing the day away in a beachfront hammock might be enough for some, there are countless things to do on Hamilton Island. From action-packed day trips around the Whitsundays and spectacular hiking trails, to exquisite adults-only experiences and secluded swimming spots, there’s surprises in store around every corner. Here, our selection of the island’s finest activities.
1. Stunning Hamilton Island hikes and walks to try
Navigating well-trodden paths mightn’t be the first thing that comes to mind on Hamilton Island but its breathtaking range of trails and treks offers some of Australia’s most serene vantage points and pristine bushland, which in fact makes up 70 per cent of the Island.
Fill a backpack with sunscreen, snacks and plenty of water and explore a network of trails including the beloved Passage Peak, sitting pretty at the highest point of Hamilton Island. Starting at the Scenic Trail entrance at the east end of Catseye Beach, it winds through sea grass and light forest before a steep flight of steps takes you to the top and 360-degree views of the Whitsundays await.
Hiking to Passage Peak is the highlight of Hamilton Island’s bushwalking trails. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
South East Head Trail’s grand finale offers another sight to behold – a three-metre-tall timber chair, crying out to be snapped for your holiday slide show.
Crawl atop the three-metre-tall timber chair at the end of South East Head Trail. (Image: Tourism Events Queensland)
The Coral Cove walk follows its lead, steering you to its own main attraction; an enormous swing.
Escape Beach’s trail presents its own oversized landmark in a giant hammock, rounding out some of the Island’s most likeable fodder for your social media feed.
2. Beautiful beaches and coves to visit on the Island
While Hamilton Island is famed for a varied ensemble of things to do, the star of the show is its collection of white sand-dusted coastlines complete with the perfect spots to swim in.
Dreamy beaches and pools await on Hamilton Island. (Image: Tourism Events Queensland)
Catseye Beach is arguably the most unmissable pit stop on Hamilton Island. The action-packed main beach that fronts a large portion of accommodation options offers calm waters, the perfect place to paddleboard, snorkel or just splash around with little ones in tow. Plus, when it’s low tide, walking out across the flats amongst tiny, shuffling hermit crabs makes for a wonderfully tranquil holiday memory.
Coral Cove, Escape Beach and Hideaway Bay are also waiting to be explored.
3. Top Hamilton Island tours to book
Press pause on your beach meandering to take in one of Hamilton Island’s best day trips, which span scenic flights and catamaran runs throughout the Whitsunday Islands, snorkelling over the Great Barrier Reef, extraordinary fishing charters and picturesque sporting expeditions.
Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. (Image: Tourism Australia)
A jet ski tour is guaranteed to set pulses racing. One of the most thrilling ways you can experience Hamilton Island, they run multiple times daily and last an hour.
A jet ski tour will give you a chance to explore a different side of the island. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
A breathtaking helicopter tour with Hamilton Island Air will offer a different perspective as you zoom right over Catseye Beach and Coral Cove.
Take in the full scope of Hamilton Island’s beauty from above. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
A catamaran ride to the world-famous Reef with Cruise Whitsundays’ sensational full-day adventure will see you seeking extraordinary sea life in safe hands.
Alternatively, throw a line out confidently on board a Topnotch Game Fishing charter. There’s really never a dull moment.
4. Take a dip at these lush Hamilton Island pools
The Great Barrier Reef’s dazzling blue waters, surrounding Hamilton Island, play a dream-like backdrop to an assortment of pools that beg to be enjoyed. There are the accommodation-specific beauties – such as those at Yacht Club Villas, a prime spot for watching the sunset over neighbouring Dent Island, Beach Club with its infinity pool overlooking Catseye Beach, and the Reef View Hotel Pool measuring in at 35-metres in length – and then there’s a great selection open to everyone.
Views of the pool at Reef View Hotel. (Image: Tourism Events Queensland)
Main Pool is the largest swimming pool on the island and, with its free-form shape, offers space for kids to splash, chilled-out nooks and shady spots flanked by tropical gardens. There’s even a swim-up bar and live music sessions.
Main Pool is located right in front of Catseye Beach. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
The highly Instagrammable Dolphin Pool is located next to Sails Restaurant, with a view of Catseye Beach and swaying palm trees.
Bougainvillea Pool also beckons with its adjoining kids’ splash pool, an ideal tropical retreat for families with children.
5. Wildlife experiences on Hamilton Island
Offering remarkably up-close encounters with some of Australia’s most iconic wildlife, two standout experiences will tick off your things-to-do list in abundance.
Hamilton Island Wildlife, located on the resort side of the island, is an ideal family activity where you’ll get to meet everyone from koalas and kangaroos to snakes, lizards, a larger-than-life crocodile, dingoes and even Freddie, the talking Cockatoo. It’s open from 8am-4pm daily, and there’s an on-site café for refreshments and lunch.
Spend the better part of a day at Hamilton Island Wildlife. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
Turtle Discovery, a snorkelling tour that departs from Catseye Beach, explores the fringing reefs around Hamilton Island, and if everything goes to plan, sea turtles sculling above the seabed. This tour is open to children 12 years and over, but private tours are available to families with young children.
Find turtles a short paddle away from shore.
As a side note, keep your eyes peeled wherever you venture on Hamilton Island, as it is home to an array of wildlife including wallabies, goannas, sea eagles, kites, ospreys, sulphur-crested cockatoos and kookaburras.
6. Family-friendly activities
A holiday haven for parents visiting with their kids, Hamilton Island is filled with a wide-ranging list of action-packed activities for families, including heart-stopping adventures on wheels, timeless boredom busters and games galore.
The northern end of Main Pool is for kids. (Image: Tourism Events Queensland)
Island Bowling is always a hit, with seven lanes and your chance to try nine-pin bowling, an old-school version that originated in the eleventh century. Bumpers and ramps are also on hand to help the littler ones.
An amusement arcade complete with skill testers, car racers and basketball hoops is located close by in the Resort Centre right in front of the entrance to Sails Restaurant.
Go-kart racing is another smash hit, catering for kids of all ages. Younger ones can ride passenger-side with their parents but strap them in tight. You’ll likely reach speeds of up to 45 kilometres per hour.
Quad bikes for kids calls for children aged 6-14, meanwhile, offering an adrenaline-filled 15-minute ride through a purpose-built quad circuit.
Mini golf, with its maze of plants and palms and all types of challenges, is another guaranteed family-friendly party starter.
7. Get active with a range of beach sports
Break up a morning sprawled on the sand with one, or more, of the beach activities up for grabs at Catseye Beach’s Hamilton Island Beach Sports hut, a one-stop shop located on the sand, right by the Main Pool entrance.
Windsurfing lessons, while you’re living the holiday dream, are available through an experienced team ahead of venturing out yourself at high tide.
Try windsurfing at Catseye Beach. (Image: Tourism Events Queensland)
Guided snorkelling tours are also going, where tour leaders help you explore the local fringing reef before you’re all set for some aquatic exploration at your own pace.
Catamarans can also be hired for varied lengths of time and they’re suitable for all skill levels.
Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are also on hand if you’d rather take your time and soak up every inch of the serenity.
Hit the water on a stand-up paddleboard. (Image: Tourism Events Queensland)
8. Unique things to do that also boast a view
Secure an ultimate holiday selfie with two memorable activities that take in astonishing views of Hamilton Island and beyond.
ATV Tours with Offroad Adventure Tours put you in the driver’s seat on the road to discovery. A tour guide, who you can also get to drive if you’re feeling nervous, will escort you through the Island’s scenic trails, passing Coral Cove, to Resort Lookout which sits almost as high as Passage Peak. Here, you’ll be immersed in 360-degree vistas of the Whitsundays.
All Saints Chapel is also worth a visit for so much more than its stained-glass windows, bell tower and immaculate white façade set amid lush, pristinely manicured gardens. Located on a hill, the chapel looks over Catseye Beach, offering a sweeping take on Hamilton Island’s most iconic view.
9. Top things for adults to do on Hamilton Island
Strawberry swirl sunsets and palm-peppered horizons set the ultimate scene for grown-up fun, with indulgent spa treatments, elegant cocktail hours, electrifying sporting celebrations and plenty more to be discovered.
Spa qualia puts the luxury resort’s name – a Latin word for a collection of deeper sensory experiences – into practice in truly tranquil surrounds. It offers a range of treatments including full-body massage, mud wraps and marine mineral facials, and salt therapy. For lovebirds, choose from three couples’ packages.
Treat yourself to a day at the spa. (Image: Sharyn Cairns)
Spa wumurdaylin is available to non-qualia guests and provides body scrubs and wraps, facials, massages, and its very own couples’ package in addition to other bundled offerings.
Bommie Deck is the ultimate location for cocktails, which are a paradise island prerequisite. An architectural extension of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, it appears to levitate over the marina, providing a front-row seat to every sunset. The outdoor bar is open most days from 4pm.
Enjoy a sunset cocktail at Bommie Deck and Restaurant. (Image: Tourism Events Queensland)
One Tree Hill, located on the other side of the Island, offers legendary Whitsunday views, early evening cocktails and cheese platters, all while the sky turns as peachy as your passionfruit Caprioska.
Hamilton Island Race Week is worth coinciding any August visit with. You’ll feel like a genuine A-lister at one of the world’s most famous yachting events and Australia’s largest offshore keelboat regatta. It draws spectators, yachties and celebrities alike from all over the world, creating a party atmosphere and a diverse calendar of onshore events to complement the offshore racing.
Time your visit to coincide with Hamilton Island Race Week. (Image: Salty Dingo)
10. Best picnic and barbecue spots to have lunch
While crowds armed with picnic baskets flock to One Tree Hill at sunset, Hamilton Island is spoiled for many more beautifully positioned picnic areas and barbecue locations.
Picnic at One Tree Hill. (Image: Hamilton Island/ Tourism Australia)
There are two public barbecue facilities on the Island – one is located on a big stretch of lawn on the Marina, right near Manta Ray restaurant and the other is close by at the duck pond. Both feature water views speckled with extravagant yachts belonging to the rich and famous.
Picnic sites with sturdy picnic tables have also been built along many of the Island’s walking trails.
Passage Peak, Coral Cove and Escape Beach trails all feature stellar resting areas made for tucking into a glorious daytime feast.
Planning a holiday to Hamilton Island? Read more travel tips on our guide to Hamilton Island.