Cheap flights direct to Hamilton Island leave from Brisbane and Sydney. Other direct flights can be booked from Melbourne and Cairns. Hamilton Island is the only Whitsunday island with its own airport, but it can also be accessed via a 30-minute ferry ride from Shute Harbour on the mainland. Each commercial flight arriving at Hamilton Island Airport is met by the free airport transfer service, which takes visitors to their hotel, self-catering apartment or holiday home. The airport is only five minutes from the island’s resorts. For boaties the island has a 230-berth marina sailors can access.
Hamilton Island is a car-free destination. Golf buggies are the main form of transport and something of an icon on the island. The covered buggies seat two or four people, and are easy to drive. Buggies can be hired by the hour, for two or three hours, or for the day (8.30am to 4.30pm) and bookings are recommended in peak periods. There is also a free island shuttle, which follows three routes around the island. Several services an hour are scheduled from 7am to 11pm daily. The shuttles pick up and drop off at convenient stops throughout Hamilton Island’s different precincts, including the Marina Village, Catseye Beach, resorts and One Tree Hill. The round-trip route around the island takes just over half an hour.
There are more than 60 activities to choose from on Hamilton Island. In the action category travellers can opt to take part in sailing, go-karting, jet skiing, quad biking and of course diving and snorkeling. Other options include tennis, mini-golf and target shooting. Nature lovers can take a host of walks and tours and there are also the many hundreds of islands of the Whitsunday passage to explore.
There are more than a dozen restaurants on the island to suit a variety of budgets. For a cheap option visit the grocery store and cook up a storm back at your accommodation. The main shopping centre on the island is the Marina Village, where visitors can browse for local art, fashion and jewellery, or pick up a cheap souvenir from speciality stores. Hamilton Island guests staying at qualia have exclusive access to the qualia Boutique, stocking an exquisite range of ladies’ and men’s designer wear. There is a wide variety of bars on the island, from the informal Reef Lounge at the Reef View Hotel, to the vibrant late-night destination Boheme’s Nightclub. Don’t forget to soak in the famous Whitsunday sunset with cocktails at One Tree Hill.