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Getting To Hamilton Island

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Fri 17 Mar 2023

If you’re looking for details about getting to Hamilton Island, you can travel to this idyllic Whitsunday destination by sea or by air. As one of the most famous islands in the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island is on the bucket lists of many Australian and international travelers. With lush rainforest, stunning beaches, and plenty of fun things to see and do, Hamilton Island is well worth the visit!

Because it is an island, you can only access Hamilton via boat or plane. There are numerous ferries and tours departing Airlie Beach daily that head to Hamilton Island. The island even has its own airport, so you can fly there directly from other destinations around Australia. Let’s dive into the topic of getting to Hamilton Island so you know what all your options are. 

Hamilton Island

Getting To Hamilton Island From Airlie Beach

Getting to Hamilton Island from Airlie Beach by boat is very easy. Hamilton Island is often visited as a day trip from Airlie Beach, so there are many ferries and tours that visit the island daily. As the Gateway to the Whitsundays, most travelers fly into Airlie Beach and book tours or day trips from there. A day trip to Hamilton Island is fun, but you can also spend a few days on the island if you want more time there. There are a few excellent resorts on the island where you can set up camp for a few days. 

Laying on Hamilton Island beach

Boats and Ferries To Hamilton Island

The most popular way to get to Hamilton Island from Airlie Beach is by boat. If you just want your transport to and from the island, the Hamilton Island Freestyle with Cruise Whitsundays is the best way to go. You’ll have return ferry transfers plus lunch at a restaurant on the island. But there will be no organized itinerary so you can enjoy the island however you choose during the day. Ferries to Hamilton Island depart from Port of Airlie or Shute Harbour daily, and the ride is only around 1 or 1.5 hours. 

Another way to visit Hamilton Island by boat is with a private charter. If you’re chartering your own boat, you can have influence over your itinerary in the Whitsundays. Let your skipper know that you’d like to visit Hamilton Island and they will ensure they fit that into your experience! If you’re bareboating or taking your own boat, you can also sail to Hamilton Island and park up at the marina. Just make sure you contact the marina beforehand to book a spot.

Hamilton Island Marina

Which Airport Do You Fly Into For Hamilton Island?

You can get to Hamilton Island by air if you fly into Hamilton Island Airport. This is the only island in the Whitsundays with its own commercial airport! You can book flights with Jetstar, Virgin Australia, or Qantas if you want to fly direct to Hamilton Island from Sydney, Melbourne, or Brisbane.

Private flights or tour-operated flights may also leave from the nearby Proserpine Airport and fly you over to the island. If you’re flying into the Whitsundays, you will most likely land at Proserpine Airport and then head to Airlie Beach. Some scenic flights to the Great Barrier Reef and around will leave from Proserpine Airport. 

Hamilton Island from the air

What To Do On Hamilton Island

There are so many things to do on Hamilton Island! Between hikes and bushwalks, scenic lookouts, beautiful beaches, tours, water sports, bars, restaurants, shops, and even a wildlife center, you will never be bored on this adorable island. You can explore mostly on foot, and use the assistance of golf carts where necessary. Or some people love to just hang out by the pool and sip cocktails in the sunshine. You can have plenty of relaxation or adventure, or both on Hamilton Island!

If you’re not sure whether you base yourself in Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island for your Whitsunday adventure, you can really do both! Tours to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach depart from both locations. Airlie Beach does have more options available in terms of tour variety, accommodations, and shops.

So if you want more variety you can stay in Airlie Beach. But if you want the secluded feel of staying on an island, and you can still book lots of similar tours, staying on Hamilton Island makes for a beautiful holiday as well. 

Hamilton Island beach

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