Traveling is the best opportunity to step out of your comfort zone, face your fears and try something new! So, here’s to a new post about our trip to Hamilton Island, about overcoming fears and having no regrets!
We couldn’t visit Australia without planning a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. We decided to fly to one of the islands on the Great Barrier Reef, and do a couple of day-trips from here. Not an inexpensive choice, but well worth it. Memories for a lifetime, or who knows, until the next time we find our way to this part of the world.
We chose to stay on Hamilton island. Hamilton Island is the only island in the Great Barrier Reef with its commercial airport. Direct flights from Melbourne and Brisbane to Hamilton Island are fairly well priced. So we hopped on from Melbourne to Hamilton Island, before ending our vacation in Gold Coast. We’ve packed all of the things we wanted to do in a 4 days stay in Hamilton Island.
Located in the Whitsunday Islands (Queensland), Hamilton Island is one of the largest inhabited islands. The island is used entirely for tourism. There are quite a few accommodation options, catering to different budgets. From apartment rentals and bungalows for the independent traveler, to rooms in a large resort-type hotel for the regular traveler and even an option for those in search of an intimate setting and luxury. There’s something for everyone. You can find more information here about the accommodation options on Hamilton Island.
There are barely any cars on the island, so getting from place to place can be done by using the free island bus, booking yourself a golf car, or walking.
Since our stay was short, we decided to book a room at the hotel. We’ve made our way around the island by walking or taking the island bus. Our trip to the pool was also quite short, as short as crossing the street 😊. I thoroughly enjoyed walking up the hill from the Marina to the hotel in the evenings. Part of the road is not very well lit, but nothing that a phone flashlight can’t fix.
If you’re planning on visiting in January ( as we did) remember to check hotel availability and plan your day trips well in advance. Hamilton Island is quite popular among local tourists as a destination for the summer holidays.
Early in the planning stages of our honeymoon I decided I would like this to be a no-regret type of holiday. I promised myself I will try to be open to experiences that are commonly out of my comfort zone.
That being said, I went ahead, and early in the planning I booked myself on an introductory diving experience at the Great Barrier Reef. Why is this such an out my comfort zone experience for me? Well, I’ve properly learned how to swim in 2014 and have never tried diving before. That, and I like feeling that I am always in control of my surroundings, which is not the case as a beginner in anything. Whenever we travel to beach destinations, we always choose to go snorkeling, as that’s something that we would both enjoy.
Exploring the Great Barrier Reef
Soon after landing and checking in after our flight from Melbourne, I went to my diving pool intro. All went well, lots of info to absorb (though I did read up a bit online before). Up to the point I got into the water the second day I went through a few different types of feelings, from excited to try this new thing to be a little bit scared (ok, a lot scared 😊). To make matters worse, the weather out on the reef was not great and our boat captain wasn’t sure we would be able to get out to the Reef because of the choppy waters. However, we made it, most of us without any issues, some slightly dizzy from the sea-sickness. We were a group of about 30 people plus another 10 or so employees of Explore Group, the company organizing the day-trip
Sea-sickness pills are a very good idea! No worries if you forgot to pack them, you can buy some on the boat.
It was a great experience, and everybody at Explore Group was great, they’ve helped and encouraged us every step of the way. Since we were all beginners, we dove as a very small group, 3 beginners, and our instructor. We were underwater for about 30 minutes, and I was trying to focus on both seeing something and doing everything we had been told. We’ve come across a multitude of fish, we got to see a young reef shark chilling on the bottom of the Ocean.
After lunch followed a snorkeling session, which was just as awesome as the diving session. Definitely, definitely, definitely a must-do!
A full day snorkel / introductory dive day-trip to the Great Barrier Reef is not a cheap experience, and it will cost about 150 euros for snorkel and about 230 euros for the introductory dive. The price for diving is slightly cheaper ( 215 euros) if you are a certified diver.
Our second-day trip was a half-day trip to Whitehaven Beach in Whitsundays, a beach with the whitest and softest sand that I’ve ever experienced. The bright look of the sand is given by the very large concentration of white silica (98% pure white silica). The sand does not retain heat. Very easy and comfortable to walk on the beach on a super hot day. The large concentration of silica also gives it an interesting squeaking noise every time you step on the sand.
And not to mention, those amazing colors of the water: green, blue, turquoise. Way too short of a visit here, but an amazing experience! We even got to see a water plane land and take off a few meters away from us. Our short stay on Hamilton island was full of first-time experiences.
A half a day trip to Whitehaven beach will run you about 85 euros per person.
Hamilton Island Activities
There are quite a few activities on Hamilton Island as well! Besides just sitting by the pool, taking walks on the beach or doing water sports. A good to know fact is that the island has its own app. The app includes a lot of information, such as a guide to food and wine on the island, a list of trails to hike, bus programs, etc. A definite must is enjoying a cocktail, and maybe the sunset from One Tree Hill or Boomie Deck.
Although it was a short stay on Hamilton Island, our trip had a perfect balance among island activities and day-trips to the Great Barrier Reef. Depending on budget and available time, you can spend 1-2 more days here.