Hayman Island Travel Guide

The Ultimate Travel Guide toHayman Island

Sun-drenched tropical islands don’t come more exclusive than Hayman Island. Set in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef at the northernmost point of the Whitsunday archipelago is the iconic private-island resort. Intercontinental Hayman Island Resort (the only accommodation on the island) is harmoniously nestled amidst rainforest covered hills, facing out towards the Coral Sea with direct access to two kilometres of golden-sand beach.

Spend your days exploring the surrounding Whitsunday Islands and reefs before retreating back to the seclusion of your own island haven – which offers just as many sights and delights to keep your days as action-packed or relaxed as you desire. Keep reading to discover what other treasures await on Hayman Island.

Visiting Hayman Island

Getting there

Fly direct to the Great Barrier Reef airport on Hamilton Island from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. From here, your transport options to Hayman Island include a one-hour luxury boat transfer, 15-minute scenic helicopter flight or private yacht – all perfectly timed to connect with the arrival of your flight from the mainland.

Best time to go

Hayman Island enjoys a balmy year-round tropical climate, with May through to October averaging a high of 25 degrees and November through to April averaging 30 degrees. The school holiday and Christmas period is the peak time to visit. The wet season usually arrives January and continues through to March, but it remains a great time to visit if you’re after warmer temperatures, fewer tourists and you don’t mind a tropical downpour.

Amenities & Shopping

Get your shopping and caffeine fix at InterContinental Hayman Island’s Grove Boutique & Café. Pick up your holiday essentials, souvenirs and shop for luxury resortwear. Plus, there is an ice cream bar, grab-n-go food options, barista-made coffee, and a beer and wine cellar door.

Where to stay on Hayman Island

There is only one accommodation option on the island – and it is a destination in itself. The luxurious resort underwent a $135 million refurbishment in 2019 after it was battered by Cyclone Debbie back in 2017, before reopening as InterContinental Hayman Island Resort in July 2019.

The resort is home to 168 guest rooms, suites, villas and residences. Guests can opt to stay in the Lagoon Wing for serene views across tropical lanais and an infinity pool, the Pool Wing for views of the iconic Hayman Pool with a number of suites offering swim-out access, or the Beach Wing to stay in one of the eight exclusive Beachfront Pool Villas or the three-bedroom Hayman Beach House. And for the height of luxury, find two bespoke Hayman Residences on the hilltop of the island designed by award-winning Australian architect Kerry Hill.

Sustainable practices have also been built into the ethos of the resort. Guests are supplied with reef-safe Australian sunscreen, We Are Feel Good Inc., and a complimentary reusable water bottle that can be refilled at the still and sparkling filtered water stations scattered throughout the property to support the resort’s ban on single-use plastic.

Spend time cooling off in Australia’s largest pool – the iconic Hayman Pool – or the show-stopping infinity pool. Take advantage of the resort’s babysitting services or dedicated Planet Trekkers Kids Club. Indulge in a gemstone therapy and Sodashi-infused massage at the Hayman Spa, or book a treatment at the hair salon. Dine at the five restaurants and bars, then work it all off at the recreation centre (featuring squash courts, basketball, soccer, croquet, a pool and foosball) or state-of-the-art gym.

Top things to do on Hayman Island

Nature & Walks

Exploring the natural beauty of Hayman Island should begin with a hike along one of its many trails. Start with Cook Lookout, the short but challenging hike will take you to the island’s highest peak at 250 metres above sea level. Gaze at the sea below, painted in swirls of turquoise and cobalt blue against the sugar-white sand of the shore, and the mountainous terrain of nearby Hook Island is easily visible from the lookout.

Dolphin Point Lookout on the island’s northernmost tip will give you another picturesque perspective, as will the Whitsundays Lookout. For experienced hikers, opt for the two-hour Hayman Island Walking Trail. The 7.8-kilometre trail starts at the marina and takes you past Blue Pearl Bay, Dolphin Point and Butterfly Grove before finishing at the Hayman Residences.

Prepare to observe rainbow lorikeets, kookaburras, cockatoos, and stone curlews during your stay. The resident wallabies are always easy to spot and the green tree frog makes a regular appearance during the January breeding season. Dolphins and whales can be seen from July through to September. Plus, there is an endless array of marine life to meet once you head underwater to explore the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Snorkelling & Diving

Come face to face with a world of kaleidoscopic beauty as you snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef – one of the seven natural wonders of the world and home to turtles, reef sharks, manta rays, dolphins and an estimated 1500 species of fish, 4000 species of molluscs and 400 species of hard and soft corals.

Some of the best snorkelling and diving spots near Hayman Island include Manta Ray Bay on Hook Island (don’t miss the underwater Manta Ray Sea Sculpture); spot colourful reef fish and coral outcrops at Butterfly Bay; swim alongside green sea turtles at Langford Island; or take the 45-minute hike across Hayman Island to reach Blue Pearl Bay – a pretty cove frequented by whales from June to September every year.

Activities & Attractions

Get out on the water in a kayak, stand-up paddleboard or try your hand at sailing with Hayman Island’s complimentary beachfront water sports. The resort also provides a range of bookable water-based activities. Don’t miss the underwater sea scooter tour of the reef – you’ll zoom around under the surface on a scooter that can propel you to depths of 2.5 metres. Alternatively, opt for a Jet Ski Adventure tour around the island. And for something entirely indulgent, book a sunset sail on a luxury sailing boat to watch the sunset as you sip sparkling wine and nibble on light refreshments.

As the nearest Whitsundays island to the outer reef, you are perfectly positioned to undertake a whole host of unforgettable day trips, including tours to Whitehaven Beach, Heart Reef, and more of the Great Barrier Reef. You just need to decide how you want to see it – on a private luxury charter, or via a scenic helicopter or seaplane tour over the world’s largest living structure.

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Hayman Island Restaurants

There are five eateries to dine at during your stay on Hayman Island. Kids are well taken care of with a Planet Trekkers menu featuring a range of child-friendly options available at each restaurant.

A gourmet breakfast is served at Pacific, the resort’s modern Australian restaurant and bar, with options that run the gamut of savoury to sweet – think buttermilk pancakes to smashed avocado on toast and fried sweetcorn fritters. Pacific is transformed into a seafood bar and grill for dinner with Queensland’s freshest produce featuring heavily on the menu.

Mediterranean-inspired share plates, wood-fired pizzas and an extensive wine list featuring Australian varietal wines make dining at Amici as much about communing with family and friends as it is about good food and wine. The Moreton Bay bug tails with freshly-made tagliatelle flavoured with lemon, chilli and shaved bottarga is a standout option on the menu, followed closely by the za’atar spiced pulled lamb shoulder with baba ganoush, pomegranate and tabbouleh.

Dine poolside for lunch or dinner at Bam Bam – the resort’s pan-Asian restaurant offering. Bold and zesty flavours make an appearance in every dish and could include the likes of chilli caramel eggplant, a green curry pumpkin mopped up with a side of roti bread, and a slow cooked char Sui pork belly featuring house kimchi and apple ginger salsa. Select from the range of bao buns for lunch alongside fresh prawn rice paper rolls with peanut dipping sauce.

Freshly-made juices, healthy salad bowls, sandwiches and burgers, and share plates overflowing with seafood are just some of the delicious options on offer at Hayman’s poolside bar, Aqua. That, and the extensive list of cocktails that are begging to be sipped as you enjoy the view.

The Grove Boutique & Café serves up barista-made Vittoria coffee throughout the day, in addition to a range of takeaway lunch and snack options, an ice cream bar and a selection of wine and beer to purchase for your room.

There are also a collection of private dining experiences including gourmet picnics packed for day trips to neighbouring islands, under the stars dining on Coconut Beach, private cabanas by Hayman Pool and more.

Tours & Packages for Hayman Island

There are an extensive number of tours to book through the resort. On-island tours range from guided hikes to tennis camps, games on the golf simulator to tours of the sand flats at low tide to find scattered coral, sea urchins and shells. Snorkelling and diver refresher lessons in the resort pool can also be booked.

On-water tours include guided Jet Ski adventures, a fishing charter, boat tours to nearby islands – including Langford Island, Hook Island, Bali Hai and Blue Pearly Bay – where you can spend time lying on the sand, snorkelling or swimming in the turquoise waters. Head under the water with a dive day tour around the Whitsunday Islands, a sea-scooter underwater tour, or stay dry as you view the Great Barrier Reef through the glass chamber of the resort’s semi-submersible Reef Dancer.

Or opt to get above it all with a bespoke seaplane tour above Heart Reef or helicopter tour over Whitehaven Beach – both available in private or group tours.