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Your Official Travel Guide to Hamilton Island & The Whitsundays

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world, and it may just be best experienced from Hamilton Island. There are a whopping 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays, and only a handful of them are developed. If you’re looking for the one and only island that has a mix of great local businesses, eateries, resorts, villas, and tons of natural hidden gems, Hamilton Island easily takes the cake.

Hop aboard as we travel overseas to snorkel along the Great Barrier Reef, play a round of golf at Australia’s only championship island course, charter a yacht to nearby isles, and sink our toes into the silica sands of Whitehaven Beach. Here’s your ultimate guide to Hamilton Island.

Reporter: Alyssa Brown
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Qualia learn more

The ultimate island luxury resort, Qualia combines spacious sun-soaked suites, modern Australian dining and a lavish spa. These stunning pavilions and beach house open right out to the sparkling Coral Sea, as they're set on the premium bit of real estate on the island. Fun fact: Taylor Swift ended her 1989 tour by bringing her close team to this resort. 
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Whitehaven Beach

Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
There’s really no beach on earth that’s quite like Whitehaven. Only a quick boat ride away from Hamilton Island, the sand here is 98 percent silica and it’s the softest, most luminescent sand you’ll ever run your fingers through. If you make it all the way to the Whitsundays, this destination has to be at the top of your to-do list.
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Hamilton Island Beach Club learn more

This tropical-cool boutique resort sits right on Catseye Beach, overlooking the Coral Sea. The beach club restaurant has one of the best wine offerings on the island, so you can spend an evening tasting your way through the various Australian wine regions.
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TAKO

Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
TAKO is Hamilton Island’s Mexican taqueria and cantina with a subtle Japanese and Korean influence (read: octopus tacos). Settle in with a spicy margarita and fresh guac while you wait on your travel buddy to return from their sunset snorkel. 
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Hamilton Island Yacht Club learn more

These gorgeous luxury villas sit right along the Hamilton Island Marina, tucked behind beautifully landscaped gardens. The views here are breathtaking, and so are the spacious, open-plan rooms.
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Photo: Yanguang Lan
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Take a flight over The Great Barrier Reef

Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
Hop aboard a seaplane and you’ll be able to view the Great Barrier Reef from above. Enjoy a landing on Whitehaven Beach, or opt to visit a private coral lagoon.
Photo: Dan Gold
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Snorkel the Reef

Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
By far the best way to snorkel and see the top hits of the Great Barrier Reef is to go with a guide who knows the ins and outs of the local waterways. Hamilton Island combines sailing and snorkeling over a couple of days so you can get the best possible access to marine life.
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Wild Life Hamilton Island

Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
Look, there aren’t a lot of places in the world where you can just rock up and not only hang out with, but hug, little cutie koalas. This animal sanctuary is one of those places. Hug a couple for us while you’re at it, eh?
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Hamilton Island Golf Club learn more

Located on nearby Dent Island, this 18-hole golf course is the only championship island golf course in Australia. If you’re up not for playing a full round, beeline it to the Clubhouse for the best cocktails, bites and views of Hamilton Island and the Coral Sea.
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Catseye Beach learn more

Palm trees line the shoreline at this sprawling, beautiful beach. Here, you can swim with the sea turtles or rent kayaks, paddleboards or windsurfers (free for guests staying at Hamilton Island hotels and resorts) and enjoy the above-the-water views. Oh, and we'll let you in on a little secret. There's a beach marquee you can book out for private events.
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Photo: Tom Grimbert
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Charter a Yacht

Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
One of the most memorable ways to experience the magic of the Whitsundays is via a private yacht charter. You can captain your very own ship for a week (you don’t even need a license!), or opt to cruise around on a catamaran and anchor in spots like Nara Inlet, where you can hike to see ancient aboriginal cave paintings.
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One Tree Hill

Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
One Tree Hill is one of the highest points on the island, and it gets straight-up bonus points from us for its fabulous sundowners cocktail bar. If you’re up for a low-key spritzer or glass of rosé and a charcuterie board, this is your spot.
Photo: Luke Holmes
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Go for a Hike

Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
If you’re feeling a little shriveled up from all that water time, take to the hills of Hamilton Island for a sunset hike. There’s a whole series of walking trails on the island, but a favorite for its sweeping views of the Great Barrier Reef is Passage Peak.

Learn How to Scuba

Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
Scuba diving can be a little intimidating for beginners, and you’ll probably want a full lesson before heading out on the water. Head to the pros at Explore for a full day’s experience of learning and diving the Great Barrier Reef, just off Hamilton Island.
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Bommie Restaurant

Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
Situated in the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Bommie juts right out onto the water and makes an epic setting for a sunset cocktail or meal. The food program here is all about locally sourced, seasonal foods served with a thoughtful, decadent approach.
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Coca Chu

Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
After a busy day exploring the reef, head to Coca Chu at the tip of Catseye Beach for a meal that highlights the best of Southeast Asian flavors. Opt for the steamed pork belly buns or a delicious roasted pumpkin curry.
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Relax and Get Pampered

Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
Spa wumurdaylin offers services that include everything from Moroccan guava hand exfoliation and hydration to hot stone massage therapy and reiki. Check it out if you’re feeling a little achey after too much time spent adventuring on (or off) the island.

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