Top things to do on Hamilton Island and the Whitsundays

What to get up to in Queensland’s paradise.

Blending forest and sea in seamless harmony, the Whitsundays, which encompasses such islands as Hamilton Island, Daydream Island and Long Island, is an idyllic escape in your very own backyard.

Ticking off all the “paradise island” checkboxes, the destination overflows with water-based and outdoor activities as well as luxurious spa options for couples to spoil themselves with.

Sightseeing activities include a helicopter tour of the island and boat cruises. If you’re a sailor, yachts, sailing boats and catamarans are available for hire. A range of sports and water sports are available, including kayaking, golf, tennis, go-karting, wakeboarding and deep sea diving. If you just want to unwind, the island is equipped with beauty spas, salons and massage parlours.

Whatever your agenda, here are the top things to do on Hamilton Island and the Whitsundays.


1. Water sports and activities

Whatever water sport or activity you have in mind, be it jet skiing, kayaking, snorkelling , paddle-boarding, swimming, sailing or just swanning around your resort pool, there’s somewhere in the Whitsundays that can cater for your needs.

For those seeking to stay on dry land, segway tours can help you get your bearings and let you soak up the beauty of sunrise or sunset from a prime land position.


2. The Great Barrier Reef

The Whitsundays is in the very heart of the Great Barrier Reef, making any island or shore township in the area the ideal base to explore the world’s largest coral reef.

There’s no one way to enjoy the majesty of the Great Barrier Reef. There are plenty of snorkelling and diving opportunities for up-close-and-personal experiences with the colourful coral formations and teeming marine life.

Alternatively, you also have more than your fair share of jet skiing, scenic flights and multi-day tours to drink up the beauty of this world heritage site.


3. Boat or yacht hire

It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling with mates, family or your significant other, travelling by yacht is the only way to go when surrounded by speckles of islands in this vast ocean.

While cruise tours abound, for that extra luxury and privacy private chartering a boat or yacht affords you the freedom to dictate when and where you’ll go… and how long you moor for. For a cheaper option, why not hire a dinghy? No joke. You really can


4. Whale watching

June to September is when you can capture these endearing creatures frolicking around the Whitsundays on their annual migration north to give birth to their calves.

The consistent warm weather coupled with the protection of the Whitsundays marks it as the perfect nursery for their babies. As this becomes the whales’ base for months, you shouldn’t have to venture far or wait long to capture them in your sights.

In our humble opinions, they’re best viewed from the deck of a boat or by helicopter from above.


5. Golf

Keen golfers will find their paradise not on the deck of a boat but on the championship green of Hamilton Island Golf Club. Designed by Aussie golfer Peter Thompson, this is an 18-hole par-71 golf course with a stunning backdrop of mountains, beaches, coves and island vistas.

The state-of-the-art clubhouse is located on nearby Dent Island and the kids can also get involved at the mini-golf range, which is designed amongst the palms and plants for all sorts of fun challenges.

If you’re on the mainland, Proserpine Golf Club is an exceptional alternative to tee off. It’s only 25 kilometres from Airlie Beach and is the only Whitsundays 18-hole golf course on the mainland.


6. Hamilton Island Race Week

The popular Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is held annually in August. It is Australia’s largest offshore keelboat regatta and creates a buzz of activity on the island each and every time it comes around.

If you’re seeking a quiet and relaxing getaway, we suggest you avoid travelling during Race Week as punters arrive in droves during this period and accommodation and flight prices spike around its dates as well.

Top Hamilton Island activity and experience deals

Hamilton Island Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island stays + breakfast, transfers from $390

Valid on stays until 31 March 2018. Sample price is based on a 4-night stay at Palm Bungalows.

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Hamilton Island Hamilton Island

Hamilton island stays from just $150 per night

Valid for local Queensland residence living as far north as Port Douglas and as far south as Gladstone. Price includes transfers from Airlie Beach, Wi-Fi access, shuttle service and use of some water and sports equipment.

Last verified

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Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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