Going to the Whitsundays has always been on my travel ‘hit list’ for as long as I can remember so when we booked our trip to Australia I knew we had to make it a reality. This part of our Australian adventure I like to refer to as ‘planned relaxation’. A place where we would drink cocktails, go for leisurely walks, swim in the pool and dip our toes in the coral sea…pure bliss!
We flew from Sydney directly to Hamilton Island, with a reasonable flight time of 2.5 hours. I’m not the biggest fan of planes, especially tiny propellor planes but the incredible views forced even me to stray from the safety of my aisle seat to have a peek outside.
When we landed, the usual airport stresses did not exist! This quaint airport doesn’t even have a baggage carousel, instead your bags are placed on the tarmac for you to collect at your leisure. Free shuttle buses then take you to your hotel and your luggage is delivered to your room by porters. Usually airports and airport transfers cause me high levels of anxiety, however this was, dare I say, pleasurable!
Our Island Home
We decided to stay in the family friendly Reef View Hotel, located on Catseye Beach. It’s not the most luxurious of hotels but this is also part of its appeal. For a start, there were no precious ornaments or valuables for Poppy to smash up while she was crawling about in the lobby. What you are really paying for in this hotel is the incredible sea view! Greeting us on the balcony of our room were a few local cockatoos. Poppy is obsessed with birds so this kept her occupied for at least 5 minutes. Before this trip, Lake Como always topped my list of best views but now I’m not so sure!
A great thing about staying on Hamilton Island is that they have a ‘Baby’s First Holiday‘ initiative. This means that you can preorder items to be placed in your room for arrival – cots, highchairs, changing mats, baby baths, jogger prams and even a microwave with a bowl and baby spoon! The best thing about this service is that all of these are free of charge to use during your stay. As we were travelling around Australia we had most things we already needed, but we took advantage of the high chair. The hotel also offers ‘Convenience Shopping’ for your little one. You can buy wipes, nappies, swimming nappies, sudocreme, bonjela and even a bath duck! Out of all the hotels I’ve ever stayed in, this caters for little ones the best!
Our Island Highlights
Sunrise on the beach
One perk to Poppy being an early riser is that we are often awake at ridiculously early hours. One morning when she woke up, we decided to quickly chuck on some clothes, grab a bottle of milk and head to the beach to watch the sunrise. We had the beach completely to ourselves and it definitely was the best way to start our day with positive minds.
Exploring Catseye Beach
We set up camp on this idyllic treelined beach, relaxed on the sun loungers and drank cocktails! While Ian dozed off in the afternoon sun, Poppy and I explored the sea. Pops finally got over her fear of sand (albeit temporarily) and she sat in the water and watched the fish as they swam around her body. It was lovely to have a day that was all about Poppy. In Sydney we dragged her from one tourist spot to another and she didn’t really get a chance just to play around and enjoy herself. For us this day was perfect and stress free!
Exploring the Island
Being a small island, it’s very easy to explore on foot. Walking around the marina was a real highlight of ours as we could take (pizza and wine) pit stops in the local restaurants. Manta Ray was our favourite restaurant as it was informal and easily accessible with a push chair. Island life is enhanced by the fact that there are no cars allowed. Instead, inhabitants use golf buggies to get around. These buggies can be rented from your hotel and children’s car seats are supplied at additional charges. The buggies aren’t really a necessity …more a bit of fun!
Daytrip to Whitehaven
Technically Whitehaven Beach is not on Hamilton Island but rather a (very worthwhile) 1 hour boat ride away! As you can imagine these boat excursions are very popular with tourists and sell out almost immediately. In fact we tried to book the Half Day Boat Cruise the morning after we arrived but unfortunately there were no available seats left. Ian could see the disappointment on my face and we waited at the pier for ‘no shows’ or cancellations. Lady Luck was on our side and we managed to get some seats! We’ve learned our lesson and in future we will book excursions in advance!
We were greeted by 7km of brilliant white silica sand on this uninhabited island. It is the whitest beach in the world and the most beautiful I’ve ever had the pleasure of stepping foot on!
We brought a blanket with us so we found a quiet spot and made ourselves at home for a few hours. I took a photograph of Poppy sitting with her little bum on show, looking out to turquoise waters with toys in her hands. It’s my favourite photo but I’m sure she won’t thank me for it when she’s older!
After writing our names in the sand and paddling in the water for a while, Poppy dozed off in the late afternoon sun. Such precious memories.
This blog is written for the Hamilton Island website, however all of the opinions expressed are my own.