8 reasons why Hamilton Island is an easy holiday with kids
Sometimes even a tropical island holiday can be the stuff of nightmares when your kids aren’t having a good time. Because unhappy, whingey kids = unhappy, cranky parents. But a trip to Hamilton Island is the holiday that will keep everyone happy, including the biggest critics – your kids.
Here’s 8 reasons why everyone, from tots to teens to adults, will love this Whitsundays island.
1. Holiday time begins immediately
As soon we arrived at the airport, we happily discarded our winter jackets (Hamilton Island’s average temperatures range from low 20s to 30s year-round) and within 30 minutes of disembarking the plane we were at our accommodation, feet up and enjoying the views of the breathtaking Coral Sea while the kids played on the deck.
No long queues, no huge airport to navigate, no traffic. The best way to start a holiday with kids!
Island time ain’t so bad up here.
2. Getting around is part of the fun
Lots of travelling is one of the hardest things about holidays with kids, particularly babies or toddlers. But when your transportation is a golf buggy, the commute is more novelty than a nuisance. The kids love riding in them and adults love driving them!
Buggies are included with some accommodation or available to hire for $87 a day. Child restraints are required in the buggies for children four and under; they’re available for hire at $6 a day. If you have more than two kids under four, you’ll require another buggy (and a stiff drink probably).
If you don’t have a buggy, you can easily walk between the Marina and the Resort side (the two main parts of the island) – it’s easily done with a pram. There is also an island shuttle bus that runs two routes from 6:50am until 11pm every 15 to 20 minutes (40 minutes in off-peak times). You can take prams on board select buses, too.
3. You can take your pick of accommodation
We found a holiday home the best option when it came to space and affordability, plus it’s great to have a kitchen for easy breakfasts and relaxed nights in (there’s an IGA supermarket on the island). You can book a range of homes or self-contained apartments through Hamilton Island Holiday Homes.
Otherwise, the Reef View Hotel is a popular choice that offers family rooms (with two double beds) and one- and two-bedroom suites. It’s in an ideal location with high-rise views over Catseye Beach. Also on the same side of the island, Palm Bungalows is another good option for families with small children. Set in the tropical gardens, the stand-alone bungalows have kitchenettes and enough space for an extra single bed and/or cot.
If you’re happy to splurge, Yacht Club Villas is a luxurious choice for families. Located at the marina, just a short stroll from restaurants and shops, the villas have four bedrooms and four bathrooms, a kitchen and laundry – perfect for longer stays.
4. Kids eat free
If you’re staying at Reef View or Palm Bungalows or have booked your holiday through Hamilton Island Holiday Homes, your kids can eat free at Coca Chu (Asian cuisine), Manta Ray (Italian), Sails (modern Australian) and Tako (Mexican). Eat up, little ones.
But sometimes takeaway is the best option – the Marina is home to a café, bakery, tavern, and fish and chip shop. On select afternoons from 5:30pm, there’s live music on the Marina lawns; head down with your takeaway, a rug and let the kids run free.
5. You can travel light
When travelling with your offspring, they monopolise the suitcase – with nappies and toys and snacks, oh my! Sometimes it feels like you’re packing the entire house.
So, for guests of Reef View, Palm Bungalows and Yacht Club Villas, it’s a relief to know there are some things you can leave behind. Items such as a cot, highchair, jogger pram, baby bouncer, Bumbo, change mat and baby bath are available for complimentary use (on request).
6. The reef is accessible to everyone
Catseye Beach has calm waters, perfect for tiny tots, and a fringing reef just offshore where you can see colourful coral, fish and even turtles. Older kids and adults can hire snorkelling equipment, stand-up paddle boards, catamarans, windsurfers and kayaks, or take a turtle discovery tour ($35 per adult, $20 per child 12+).
If you decide to head out further, Cruise Whitsundays does a family-friendly tour to Hardy Reef ($259 per adult, $125 per child aged four to 14, infants free of charge). Dinghies are available for hire to explore the local waters at your own pace. It’s a great day out for families, especially with older kids, but you can take children as young as one ($149 for half-day hire).
7. There are some seriously epic activities for kids
Mini adrenaline junkies will love the purpose-built mini quad bike course for kids aged six to 14 ($32). While youngsters aged just four can enjoy go-karting. As a passenger, that is. There are single and dual karts and teens from 16 can drive ($49 for 10 minutes).
There is a heap of other activities that the whole family will love. WILD LIFE is home to koalas, dingoes, a huge crocodile and other iconic Australian wildlife ($26 per adult, $16 per child, infants free); nine-pin bowling is a great night-time activity and if it rains ($49 for 60 minutes); and there’s a mini-golf course with Glow in the Dark night sessions ($39 for two adults and two kids).
8. Adults can have a break
And while Hamilton Island is the ultimate family destination, sometimes you just want some adult time to indulge at tranquil Spa wurmurdaylin or to head over to Dent Island and experience one of the most picturesque golf courses in Australia.
Do it! You’re on holidays. Check the tykes into Clownfish Club, the kids club caters to children from six weeks to 14 years with activities such as cooking, dancing and water play, or organise an on-island babysitter – check out the Hamilton Island website for more details.
It’s a win-win-win.
Are we there yet?
There are direct flights to Hamilton Island from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns.