Ultimate guide to things to do in Hamilton Island with kids
While Hamilton Island’s incredible location, at the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, and direct flights from most capital cities are a great incentive to visit the Whitsunday wonderland, it is the range of unique experiences of offer on and around the island that make this one of Australia’s best family holiday havens
Water babies will love the range of activities on the water. Hire a catamaran or take sailing lessons in the pristine waters around the Island. Kayaking and stand up paddle boarding are another great way to explore. If you feel the need for a little more excitement, scoot across the water on a jet ski, take to the skies with parasailing or get the adrenalin pumping on a high-speed jet boat.
If you’re more interested in what’s under the water, grab some snorkelling gear and take to the fringing reefs around Hamilton to see turtles on a turtle discovery tour. Head further afield with one of Hamilton’s many reputable tour companies to spend a day exploring the magical Great Barrier Reef. Whether you see it by boat or from a bird’s eye perspective on a joy flight, don’t miss the opportunity to snorkel in what is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Above the water you can tee off at Hamilton Island Mini Golf course, trek through the bush trails to spot the hidden coves and pretty picnic spots dotted throughout the bushland, get up close with iconic Australian animals and birds at Wild Life Hamilton Island, or indulge your need for speed at Hamilton Island’s own go-kart track. And while it is always great to hang out with the family, it’s also fun to enjoy kids only time at the awesome Clownfish Club for kids from 6 weeks to 14 years of age.
Top things to do in Hamilton Island
One of the most beautiful, and feature packed islands of the Whitsundays, there’s no shortage of activities and sights to be found on Hamilton Island. Here are a few of our favourites.
- Take a tour to Whitehaven Beach, voted one of the best beaches in the world
- Enjoy a day tour to the reef to swim, snorkel or dive
- Play a round of mini-golf
- Race around the island on a Jet Ski
- Hire a yacht and learn to sail
- Cruise the island in an open-air buggy
- Make a stop at One Tree Hill for sunset
- Stand-up paddleboard, kayak or windsurf at Catseye Beach
- Breakfast with the koalas at Wild Life Hamilton Island
- Feed your need for speed on the go-kart track
Things to do in Hamilton Island with…
When your little ones have had their fill of paddling in the water, building sandcastles and paddling in the Resort Centre pool, you’ll find plenty to keep them amused. Take them to bash a ball around the plant-lined Mini Golf course, or get up close and personal with some of the animals at WILD LIFE Hamilton Island.
Be sure to download the Hamilton Island App for a live what’s-on’ guide with start-times and locations of the island’s many daily activities for kids and adults alike.
If the kids need a break from all the outdoor activities, the island boast an incredible kids’ club, Clownfish Club, that takes kids from 6 weeks of age. Here, they’ll enjoy a huge range of fun, exciting and age appropriate activities with qualified careers while mum and dad visit the reef or enjoy some of the island’s adult activities.
If your kids love getting wet, you are in for a treat on Hamilton Island. Spend time paddling and playing on the beautiful beaches, enjoy some of the more kid-friendly watersports like kayaking and stand up paddle boarding, head off for a guided snorkeling adventure on the reef or simply spend the day pool-hopping around the island.
Hire a buggy from Hamilton Island Buggy Hire to cruise around the island, and be sure to wheel your way to One Tree Hill to watch the sunset and make a stop at the wonderful WILD LIFE Hamilton Island where you can breakfast with a couple of cute and cuddly koalas before exploring the rest of the park, which is packed with native animals including a fearsome croc! And for something completely different, Hamilton Island offers year-round art classes for all ages and skills levels.
There is literally so much for kids to do on and around Hamilton Island that you probably won’t be able to fit it all in during a single stay.
Sporty kids can bash around a ball at one of Hamilton Island’s six tennis courts, practice their swing at the family-friendly Golf Driving Range, learn to sail and explore the islands with the Sunsail Whitsundays Sailing School, hire a dinghy to circumnavigate the island or spend the days enjoying a host of fun watersports including catamaran sailing, paddle boarding, sea kayaking and parasailing off the gorgeous Catseye Beach.
Off the resort we’d recommend taking a wild ride with Ocean Rafting tours to explore world famous Whitehaven Beach, a hike up to the top of Hill Inlet Beach and Lookout and snorkelling on the pristine fringing reefs, or clamber aboard a historic tall ship to explore the reef pirate-style.
Adventurous teens are spoiled for choice at Hamilton Island. Water lovers can get up close to spectacular marine life, including turtles, on an Eco Certified sea kayaking tour.
Go from sea to sky on a paragliding adventure. Race through the water at lightning speeds on Jetryder – a huge jet boat that will twist, turn and fling you about wildly. Or maybe taking to the water on water skis or a wakeboard is more your idea of fun. Of course, no visit to Hamilton Island would be complete without a day tour to snorkel or scuba amongst the incredible sea life on the Great Barrier Reef.
Back on dry land, rev up your engines to race around the challenging nine-turn Palm Valley Go Kart racetrack, head to Palm Valley’s target shooting gallery or explore Hamilton Island on a wild offroad adventure in an all-terrain vehicle.
Best time to visit Hamilton Island as a family
Experiencing only two seasons, the wet and dry, Hamilton Island’s weather allows for special experiences all year round. Summer is the wet season and it is hot, humid and rainy. Tours may be disrupted if there is unsettled weather.
The dry season, from April to October, is the most popular time for tourists so expect to pay more, and you may need to book early to secure suitable family accommodation. April to June is particularly beautiful with weather ranging from mild to warm and lots of days with crisp, clear blue skies. The minimal rainfall allows for days packed full of activities on and above the water as well as clearer viewing underwater for snorkelers and scuba diving. At this time of year, the sight of Humpback whales playing and colourful tropical fish frolicking in the Whitsundays is an added bonus for visitors.
Family-friendly places to eat in Hamilton Island
Surrounded by sea and with a lush hinterland just a boat ride away, some of Queensland’s best fresh produce is guaranteed on Hamilton island. Enjoy fresh caught local seafood and luscious local fruits like mangos and pineapples to be served up at resorts and restaurants.
With a huge choice of dining at everything from laid-back, family-friendly cafés to waterside seafood specialists and award-winning high-end restaurants, you’ll find something on Hamilton to suit travellers of every budget and palate.
Some Hamilton resorts and restaurants even offer deals where kids up to 12 can eat free when dining with a paying adult. Sails and the Pool Terrace Restaurant offer great kid’s menus and Tako serves up Mexican food with a Japanese and Korean twist in a kid-friendly atmosphere. If the kids are hankering for pizza and pasta, check out laid-back Manta Ray Cafe or the more upmarket Italian, Romano’s, on the waterfront.
Catseye Beach. Credit: Tourism & Events QLD
- Start your adventure by downloading the free Hamilton Island App, which will provide you with a live what’s-on’ guide with start-times and locations of the island’s many free daily activities. And be sure to do your research and take advantage of the stay and eat free packages for kids under 12.
- Spend a day splashing in the water or playing on pretty Catseye Beach, or snorkel the nearby fringing reef and explore the sand flats at low tide to see shells and hermit crabs.
- Bushwalkers are spoiled for choice with a number of trails, including the popular Scenic Trail, many leading to quiet beaches. Hideaway Bay is one secluded beach that’s just a short hike from the Scenic Trail entrance, and provides an idyllic spot for a swim. Another trail not to be missed is one to the top of Passage Peak from Catseye Beach, where epic views await.
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Janeece Keller is the founder and editor of Family Travel. She mostly travels with her husband and two young kids. She has a large blended family that lives in Australia and Europe. She has visited 52 countries and lived on 3 continents. From camping to luxury resorts Janeece tries to make sure her family has diverse holiday experiences each year. She is an avid hiker and ocean swimmer who loves good food, margaritas and heading off the beaten path.