Our Journey to Australia Part V: Hamilton Island

To get caught up on our entire journey, you can find all parts of our Australia adventure below!

Our Journey to Australia Part I: The Park Hyatt Sydney for Families

Our Journey to Australia Part II: Sydney with Kids!

Our Journey to Australia Part III: The Australian Outback and Uluru

Our Journey to Australia Part IV: Adventures in Cairns!

Our Journey to Australia Part V: Hamilton Island

 

Our last stop on our journey around Australia was Hamilton Island. And it was a perfect way to end the two week vacation. We spent three nights in the Palm Bungalows on the island and they were wonderful. They are located only a few steps from the pool, where we spent the majority of our days. And the walk to the beach wasn’t much further. We love the beach, but it wasn’t as swimmable as the pool was for our kids. No argument from me! I prefer lounge chairs to towels on the sand…

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It was a short 1.5 hour flight from Cairns to Hamilton Island on Qantas. Upon arrival, we gathered our bags off a truck (I think that’s the first time I haven’t picked my bags up off a baggage carousel) and boarded the mini bus for the short (very short) ride to the resort. The ride was so short that one could potentially walk although the 100+ temperatures don’t make that a very good idea, especially with bags. Of course our room wasn’t ready upon arrival so a few of us made use of the pool while the rest spent some time checking out the island. A few hours later, our room was ready and we were shuttled from the Reef View Hotel (where you check in) to our bungalow.

And the bungalow itself was great. It was a free standing unit in a row of about 15. It had a kitchenette, couch, and king sized bed as part of the living area and a separate bathroom. We had heard about insects being a nuisance for people who left food out so we made sure to put everything in the mini fridge and didn’t have a problem with that at all.

We had spent a bit of time going back and forth on whether we should stay in the Reef View Hotel (a large high rise hotel) or the Bungalows given that the price was comparable but we were so happy that we went with the bungalows. Based upon our experience, the private, secluded nature of the bungalows and their proximity to the pool made the choice a no brainer.

Our days on Hamilton Island consisted of LOTS of pool time, exploring the shops, and eating a nice meal for dinner. Our favorite restaurant was TAKO. It is a Mexican restaurant with an Asian twist. We didn’t really see the Asian twist and Mexican is one of our favorite kinds of foods, so we went there twice. The prices were quite reasonable and the kids ate for free so the dinners were surprisingly affordable. The other night we went to Manta Ray for pizza and it was good. It was a little more expensive and had a funny smell outside, but other than that, we enjoyed it. But not as much as TAKO.

Kids free "make your own tacos!"

Kids free “make your own tacos!”

We chose to only do one excursion while on Hamilton Island. We really wanted to spend our last few days in Australia relaxing so we didn’t pack our time there with activities. But the one full day excursion we did was Reef Ryder Whitsunday Explorer. We spent LOTS of time contemplating this excursion. Given that we wanted to do only one, we wanted to make sure it was the best option for what we were looking for. And we made the right choice. This was my favorite excursion of our entire trip.

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There was so much I loved about the trip. One was that we were on the smallest vessel that was exploring the Whitsundays which meant that we were able to get into smaller beaches and all the way to shore on the larger ones. The boat only takes 25 guests so the smaller group made it easier to corale everyone when it was time to leave. And we got to explore 4 different snorkeling areas and beaches. Most of the other tours only saw one or two. We also got to hike the Hill Inlet to admire the beauty of what is Whitehaven Beach. I can see why it is consistently voted as one of the nicest in the world.

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Our captain also took us to one of the beaches where the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie was filmed. It’s a small little island that the larger boats couldn’t reach. We actually had our box lunch there. That was the only downside to the trip. On our other Great Barrier Reef tour, we had an awesome buffet lunch and this one left a lot to be desired. But we weren’t on the excursion for the food and given the size of the boat, there was no way they could have done anything but a boxed lunch.

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We also got some private snorkeling time away from other groups due to the size of our boat. Being able to maximize our beach and snorkeling time to the fullest was great. The boat is quite fast and we got to and from the reef quite quickly. If we ever make it back to Hamilton Island, we’d probably choose the same excursion. It was just that good.IMG_20160103_233351304

In short, Hamilton Island was probably our favorite stop on our trip. There was so much more to do there than we availed ourselves of, but we had a blast just the same. We could definitely understand why Taylor Swift took her entire crew and their families there during her tour of Australia for some rest and relaxation and why many Australians make Hamilton Island their annual vacation destination of choice. It was one of our favorite places we have ever been and was the perfect ending to an amazing Australia adventure.

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