The team at Whitsunday Holidays have an intimate relationship with Hamilton Island. After all, it’s been our work, rest, and play for years. The local knowledge we pass on to our guests plays a key role setting us apart from other Hamilton Island holiday specialists – our guests rely on our expertise to help them navigate their ideal holiday experience.
We’re passionate about keeping our collective knowledge on point, so every now and then we take time out to view our tropical island home through fresh eyes. Stepping into our guests’ shoes is a valuable refresher of what they see and experience during their Hamilton Island stay and keeps us on top of our game.
To this end, Stacey Marsh, our long-term Reservations Consultant and all-round Hamilton Island guru, eagerly volunteered to ‘take one for the team’. Stacey recently put on her tourist hat and saddled up the family to spend seven days in paradise. Here’s what she reported back …
Seven days in paradise … a tough assignment, but someone had to do it! Our family (me, my husband Paul, and daughter, Charli, 4) opted to fly in for the ultimate birdsye view of Hamilton Island and the Whitsunday passage. There’s nothing quite like the first glimpse of sparkling turquoise ocean to put you straight into holiday mode.
With accommodation selected from Whitsunday Holidays’ portfolio, check-in was a breeze. We were collected from the airport by Kris, our friendly valet, who delivered us to our accommodation. Our home for the next seven days was Lagoon 101, a luxurious two-bedroom apartment equipped with a gourmet kitchen, master ensuite, complimentary buggy, and a spacious balcony perfectly positioned opposite Catseye Beach.
Sitting on the balcony overlooking spectacular bay views, cool drink in hand, it’s easy to get lost in the tranquility of the moment. It’s also the perfect backdrop to reflect on the week’s adventures. With so many memorable moments, choosing a favourite is a challenge, but the following highlights offer a great snapshot of our unforgettable family holiday:
Splashing around: We spent a lot of time at Catseye Beach. Hamilton Island’s main beach offers a safe and accessible haven for the whole family. Charli loved building sandcastles, and with plenty of shade from overhanging palm trees, and an abundance of watersports to choose from, Catseye Beach offers the perfect balance of relaxation and recreation.
There’s also a choice of five nearby swimming pools of varying depth and location. We loved the Bougainvillea Pool, but the Main Pool with its swim-up bar and impressive size was a real winner. Charli had a ball exploring the tropical setting, while we relaxed with a beverage. There’s nothing quite like sipping a poolside cocktail straight from a coconut shell as you look out across Catseye Bay.
One Tree Hill: With its elevated lookout and atmospheric bar, One Tree Hill provides an unforgettable setting for a picnic. The views across the Whitsunday passage are simply breathtaking, and with a well-stocked IGA at the Marina, putting together your own hamper is a breeze. We spent the afternoon enjoying drinks at One Tree Hill Bar (do yourself a favour and try the Passionfruit Caprioska), followed by a sunset picnic. Put One Tree Hill on your Hamilton Island wish list – it’s a memory you’ll cherish.
The Great Barrier Reef: If you’re anything like us, the Great Barrier Reef is a bucket list destination. Cruise Whitsundays offer a great range of island escapes and experiences. We opted for the Full Day Reef Experience, to really maximise our time. The journey to the reef by high-speed catamaran is an experience in itself, and a wonderful way to view the natural assets unique to the Whitsundays. The island clusters with secluded stretches of sandy beach are as stunning as the ever-changing colours of the ocean.
Upon arrival at Heart Pontoon, snorkeling equipment is available for those wanting to explore the reef’s incredible marine life and coral. It’s Charli’s first time snorkeling, but her apprehension vanishes as soon as she catches her first glimpse of the vibrant underwater world. Before lunch we joined the semi-submersible tour. It’s a great way to get up close and personal with the inhabitants of the reef, with an experienced marine biologist providing informative commentary.
Lunch is a sumptuous buffet of tropical salads, local seafood, cold meats and desserts. To work it off we head out for another snorkel. The abundance of brightly-coloured marine life includes giant clams, and exotic parrotfish, and I’m thrilled to spot a little squid who shoots his ink at me! The Great Barrier Reef is everything we hoped for, and more. It’s easily one of the best things I’ve ever done, and Paul’s holiday highpoint. Bucket list: tick!
Dining, Island Style: Let’s face it, eating is one of the best parts of any holiday, and Hamilton island takes it to a whole new level.
With our self-contained fully-equipped accommodation we were able to enjoy the best of both worlds. With the local IGA a short buggy ride away, self-catering is as easy as a lazy afternoon BBQ on the balcony, or breakfast, lunch and dinner at a time and budget to suit, in the comfort of your own home.
Outside dining options are plentiful and range in ambience from sophisticated elegance, to a more laid-back vibe. The Marina Café is perfect for a quick, tasty bite, and Popeye’s Fish & Chips is a real family pleaser (make sure you try their burgers). For when you want to spoil yourself, Coca Chu is my top pick. The first-class service is only outshone by the menu, an exciting hawker-style selection inspired by the flavours of South-east Asia. I highly recommend the slow-cooked lamb shoulder, and the pork ribs, and be sure to leave room for the son-in-law eggs! There’s a kid’s menu too, with all the usual favourites, as well as items for more adventurous eaters. My hot tip for Coca Chu is to secure a table by the window – the stunning views and island breeze make the meal even more memorable.
WILD LIFE Hamilton Island: This was Charli’s ultimate holiday moment. WILD LIFE is an interactive park that allows you to get up close to Australian wildlife with numerous guided tours and experiences. We started the day with Breakfast with the Koalas – a delicious buffet spread combined with plenty of great photo opportunities dining right alongside these iconic cuties!
Entry to WILD LIFE allows for unlimited access throughout the duration of your stay, which meant we didn’t have to pack everything the park has to offer into one day. Just as well, as there’s plenty to see and do! The resident saltwater crocodile is a real show stopper, with scheduled croc feeding times a popular drawcard. Charli loved having a conversation with Freddie the cockatoo, and I enjoyed learning more about our indigenous wildlife from guided tours by experienced rangers.
All in all, our seven days in paradise proved to be a family holiday of a lifetime. It was fantastic to take a fresh look at Hamilton Island and the Whitsundays through the eyes of a visitor. It’s given me a renewed appreciation of why I do what I do.
So long for now – wish you were here!
Stacey, Reservations Consultant, Whitsunday Holidays
Do you wish you were there too? Planning your own postcard from paradise is easy. Simply call one of the friendly team from Whitsunday Holidays to book your Hamilton Island holiday on 1300 653 997.