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Our big kids were born in Queensland, Australia and the baby was made there. When we moved back to Texas in 2016, it was bittersweet. I was happy to be returning to family and friends that we’d been away from. At the same time, my heart was hurting to leave behind the gorgeous scenery in Australia and the friendships we’d made over the seven year period. We had the opportunity to go back to Australia and visit last year, and the top destination on my list (aside from seeing all of our friends) was Hamilton Island.

If you’ve been to “Hammo” you’ll know why this place was the top spot on my list. If you’ve never heard of this dreamy spot in the Whitsunday Islands, keep reading!

Making my boat wish list in the Hamilton Island Marina.

LOCATION

Hamilton Island is one of 74 islands in the Whitsundays, which is between the central coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. The Whitsundays is home to my favorite beach of all time, the award winning Whitehaven Beach. If you make it all the way to Hammo, please take at least half a day out of your holiday to go walk through the squeaky sand and swim in the clear turquoise waters of Whitehaven.

GETTING THERE

There are daily flights from major Australian cities direct to Hammo. Alternatively, Cruise Whitsundays runs a ferry from Airlie Beach, QLD to Hammo about ten times a day. Ferry tickets are around $60/adult and $40/child one way. You can also take a private charter flight or a private boat.

Talking about their hopes, fears, and dreams on the ferry to Hamilton Island. Or probably just wondering when the next meal will be.
My little mate
Our big girl on the ferry journaling about our trip

BEST TIME TO VISIT

While living in Queensland, we always encouraged family and friends to come visit in September.

  • The water is perfect for snorkeling and swimming – “stinger season” (jellyfish) is usually October to May in QLD
  • It isn’t stinkin’ hot yet – the summer months of December to February are HOT, humid, and have the most rainfall

ACCOMMODATION

There are several types of accommodation options on the island ranging from luxury to budget. Qualia is Hammo’s adult’s only luxurious resort on the northern-most point of the island. Beach Club is another adults-only option that is a boutique resort on the beach. The Reef View Hotel is set back from the beach, is great for families, and has amazing views from their large balconies. The Palm Bungalows don’t have an ocean view, but feel secluded with the tropical surroundings. These are family friendly too. Other options include holiday homes, units, and villas.

Walking from our hotel to the main pool
One direction of beautiful views from our balcony

WHAT’S THERE TO DO?

The island’s main mode of transportation is golf karts. I’m sure you can imagine how entertaining this was for our 7, 6, and almost 2 year old. The golf karts also saved on some of the “my legs are tired” and “I can’t walk another step” talk from the husband and kids.

Baby is safely strapped into the carseat in the back. Don’t worry, mom.
The hubs & big kids driving from the marina back to our hotel. I drew the short straw and got to walk up and down the hills with our sleeping baby in the pram.

Our munchkins loved searching for wildlife on the island. Animals to look for include: wallabies, goannas, cockatoos, and kookaburras. There is also a small wildlife park on the island where you can have breakfast with a koala, get up close and personal with a snake (pass for me), crocodile, and kangaroo.

So cute and cuddly!

If you asked our kids what their favorite thing to do in Australia is, they would all three say swimming. Swimming in a pool. Swimming at the beach. They are game for any and every kind of water activity. On the main beach, Catseye Beach, you can find beach volleyball, snorkeling equipment, catamarans, stand up paddle boards, kayaks, and windsurfing.

Catseye Beach on Hammo
Our little fishies
My beach babe and beach baby
Catseye Beach in the background
Getting ready to go for a morning dip
The only one of our three who can’t stand on her feet. It’s quite comical considering how much she loves going to the beach.

If you are a guest on Hamilton Island, you are welcome to use any of the resort pools in the Catseye Beach area. The Main Pool has a swim-up bar.

The Sails Pool next to Sails Restaurant
The Bougainvillea Pool 
The Bougainvillea Pool 

Something the hubs and I enjoyed doing was visiting the lookout at One Tree Hill. There is also a bar by the lookout, which we highly recommend visiting for a sundowner!

View of the bar from the lookout on One Tree Hill
A popular sunset spot on the island – the bar at One Tree Hill
Pre-dinner drinks for mom & dad and pre-dinner water for the kids

There are several shops in the Marina Village, which include art, fashion, jewelry, flowers, gifts, home goods, souvenirs, swimwear, and more!

Marina Village
Jet ski rentals here!

Other island activities include an 18-hole golf course, 20+km of walking tracks, quad bikes, go-karts, bowling, mini golf, tennis, art classes, and a kids club (sneak away from the kids for a little kid-free time!).

FOOD ON THE ISLAND

I’m a big fan of knowing the ingredients in our food. When we travel and are eating out more, this can get tricky! I give us some grace when traveling, but don’t stray too far from our usual mostly God-made food diet. We ate out a couple of times while on Hammo.

A little fun fact about me – when I’ve had a good meal, like a REALLY good meal, I think about it often. Sometimes months and years after I’ve had a certain meal, I am able to remember (or think I remember) the exact deliciousness of that meal. This salad (pictured below) that I had at Sails Restaurant, is one of those meals. It was so much deliciousness in one salad bowl.

I have no idea what the name of this salad is or what’s in it, besides the obvious, but I know you should have this at least once in your life.

I love that Hammo has an IGA (grocery store) on the island. I was able to get some fruit, veg, nuts, and snack items for our stay.

The IGA was great to stock up on fresh fruit & veg for our trip. It was also a great place to enjoy some air con while the baby had her nap in the pram.
Allllllll the fruit and nut mix
My kids LOVED snacking on these while we were in Oz
One of the staff members at IGA cut open this coconut for the kids! They love drinking the coconut water and then scooping out the flesh for a snack.

Next time I want to stay twice as long on the island. We flew from Hammo to Brisbane and got to see some sweet views from the sky.

Boarding our flight on Hammo back to Brisbane
See you next time, Hamilton Island!
“Mom, will you braid my hair?” Things we do on flights with kids.

If you’ve been to Hammo, what’s your favorite thing to do there? Comment below!

If not, hopefully you’re ready to pack your bags and jump on the next flight to The Whitsundays! Need some packing help?! Here is a link to some of our favorite travel items to bring when traveling with the kids.

What’s the first thing you would want to do on Hammo?

Mandi

15 Replies to “Hamilton Island, QLD, Australia {with the kids}”

  1. WOW! What an incredible place to visit – this just made it to the top of my travel list! Such great insight on what the must do things are when visiting and your pictures are phenomenal!

    1. Oh, thank you so very much! So sweet. I’m so glad you liked it. Hammo is a very special place to us. You’ll love it!

  2. This looks like a DREAM! Your photos make me want to book a flight right this second!

  3. Hey Mandi. Your post was fun to read…I felt like I was there with you! You have a great-looking family, and you are blessed to travel together. What wonderful memories you are making. I had NO IDEA Australia is so tropical! It’s fantastically lovely! You illustrated your post with terrific photos. 🙂
    Blessings,
    Cindy
    creator of DIY Bohemian https://diybohemian.com/

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About the Author

Hey there & welcome! I’m Mandi – wifey to my college sweetheart, mom to three crazy cute kiddos, and we are an American/Australian dual citizen family.  You’re in the right place of the blogging world if you love your kids, but also want to be encouraged to travel kid-free once in a while. I share about our luxury travels (kid-free & family), our love for healthy foods, and how we stay mentally/physically/emotionally well.

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