Recently we spoke to Flight Centre National Campaigns Manager and Travel Expert Jordan Albury about what’s new – and what’s amazing – on Hamilton Island.
If you’ve never been to Hamilton Island, picture this: a sprawling, 2,000-acre paradise, picture-perfect beaches, turquoise waterways and a kaleidoscope of sea life. Part of the Whitsundays and located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island is one of the Australia’s most popular holiday destinations.
After a whirlwind couple of days rediscovering the island and its fresh new look, here’s what Jordan had to say...
“When I got back, the first thing I wanted to tell everyone was how incredible the island looks. It’s been completely revitalised and is absolutely neat as a pin, with lush, designer landscaping that is perfect, everywhere you go.”
What’s new at the Reef View Hotel
Hamilton Island offers holidaymakers a choice of accommodation, and one of the most popular places to stay on Hamilton Island is the Reef View Hotel.
“We stayed at the Reef View,” says Jordan, “which is about three minutes from the marina. The marina is pretty much the hub of the island, where you’ll always see plenty of big, beautiful yachts. It’s also surrounded by fantastic restaurants.”
More on those restaurants shortly. So what was the Reef View Hotel like?
“I was very impressed. The room was so spacious. We stayed on the 18th floor and when you wake up in the morning you’re greeted with stunning views out to the Whitsunday Islands – all from your wide, comfy bed! I can’t overestimate how beautiful this view is. And, when I first walked in, we were greeted by those four cockatoos. It’s such an Aussie experience; I don’t think you’d get that anywhere else in the world.”
Breakfast is brag-worthy
“If you’re staying at the resort and you get the breakfast package, you have the choice of enjoying your full, hot and cold buffet breakfast at three different restaurants at the island, and each day you can choose where to have it – within the hotel, at the wildlife sanctuary (literally next to a koala in a tree), or by the pool in a pavilion near the beachfront,” says Jordan.
There are several inviting pools on Hamilton Island, with the island’s large, free-form main pool a great place to chill out and enjoy a refreshing beverage at the swim-up bar.
A water playground
“With your Reef View Hotel accommodation you also get access to all the non-motorised watersports: kayak and stand up paddleboard hire, you can take out the catamarans, use the snorkelling gear, go windsurfing – I was super impressed.”
A foodie’s paradise
Longstanding favourites and exciting new additions make up the restaurant scene on Hamilton Island.
“We went to coca chu, which is all about modern, south-east Asian cuisine, inspired by the inventive, hawker-style street food of that region. It was phenomenal. It could rival the metro restaurants, no problem. I can recommend the Sichuan half duck with chilli, coriander, ginger and soy black vinegar sauce and the salt and pepper Queensland cuttlefish starter. Both were delicious. The vibe is really laid back and modern, and we sat on the verandah with a great view of the marina.
We also went to Romanos, the Italian Restaurant. They’re known for their fantastic woodfired pizzas, and they didn’t disappoint. Romanos is a waterside restaurant, again with a view of the marina. Grab a bottle of red and take your time. With a light breeze, you’ll just want to stay there all night,” says Jordan.
Also new to Hamilton Island is TAKO, tempting diners with a taste of regional cuisine from the four corners of Mexico, with a Japanese and Korean twist.
Jordan’s top tips
One Tree Hill, Hamilton Island’s renowned hilltop lookout
“Up on One Tree Hill there’s a bar and each day they do happy hour cocktails. They often have live music – again it’s right up the top, really accessible from the Reef View hotel via the free bus that goes up and down regularly. You can buy a drink and sit on the grass looking over the Whitsunday Islands. On the afternoon that we were there, they had a really good singer with a guitar and an amp, and she sat there playing amazing covers as the sun went down. That’s a must.”
Tubing on the marina
“You have to do this. They tie a big fat tube to the boat and tow you all around the marina, trying to knock you off. It’s an adrenaline rush and really, really fun. It’s also nice to be out in the marina while everything’s going on around you.”
“Even though I ran out of time, a top tip that the locals passed on was to do the Whitehaven beach tour. You can take a helicopter or seaplane from the island or you can sail to Whitehaven on one of island’s yachts. This is my number one to-do next time I visit. I really want to see that white sand for myself.”
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Feature image: Getty
All other images: Jordan Albury