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HAMILTON ISLAND – The land of Koalas, Crocs & Buggies

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Sipping our tea and nibbling our toast we look up at the gum tree next to our table and see a fluffy Koala happily munching on a eucalyptus leaf. This cuddly bundle of grey and white is so close to us we could reach out and give him a pat! Our two mini Blondies – Marli and Ziggy are giggling and pointing in excitement between mouthfuls of breakfast and we take a moment to appreciate this special experience – it’s not everyday you get to have breakfast with a Koala!!

Nestled amongst the Whitsunday Islands in North Queensland is the beautiful Hamilton Island, our home for the next 5 days, and this awesome breakfast experience with a cuddly Koala is just one of the exciting activities available to guests who visit the island. We have escaped the winter chill of Sydney for this mini adventure and the moment we step off our Jetstar flight we instantly slip into holiday mode – it’s hard not to when you are surrounded by palm trees, blue water and sunshine!

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Eager to explore this tropical paradise we wave goodbye to our furry Koala friend and jump into a golf buggy that we have hired for the day. As the most popular mode of transport on the island, golf buggies are available for hire, and are definitely a fun novelty for guests. Carseats are required by law so with our little ones safely buckled in we set off to explore in style – the kids happily waving to everyone as we pass. If you don’t hire a golf buggy there is also a free Island Shuttle bus that circles the island every 15 – 40 minutes.

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Cruising around in our cute set of wheels we visit all the must see spots like One Tree Hill (which is great to do roly-polys down if you ask the kids!) and the picture perfect Chapel – both provide us with spectacular views of the pristine waters the Whitsundays are famous for. By chance our stay coincides with the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, which is the busiest week of the year on the island, it’s Australia’s largest offshore yachting regatta as over 250 yachts and their crews come together for 7 days of racing and activities, this event has added some extra festivities and flair about town that we are excited to be a part of.

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We are staying at the Reef View Hotel thanks to Jetstar Airways which certainly lives up to its name. This amazing hotel (that was booked at the same time as our flights on the Jetstar Website) boasts glass lifts on the outside of the building and as we rocket up towards our room we are treated to an amazing view over the lagoon and beach below. Once in our room it is not long until we are greeted by the friendly but sometimes noisy locals on our balcony!! The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is probably Australia’s best known parrot. They are extremely intelligent, can be very mischievous and live for more than 70 years! We make a point not to feed our new friends although they are very good at helping themselves so we make sure we shut our doors!

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A trip to Hamilton Island is not complete without a visit to the world famous Whitehaven Beach so as a new day begins we hop onto our Reef Ryder Tour boat and jet off between all the impressive yachts moored in the marina. First stop is Chalkies beach which is just across from Whitsunday Island. We spend our time exploring above and below the tropical water. Being on the Great Barrier Reef we are not disappointed as we snorkel the fringing reef and spot stunning corals and marine life just off the beach, it truly is a stunning sight! Looking across the water we cant help but notice the glowing white sand on Whitehaven beach so we head over for a closer look. Made up of 98% pure silica the sand is bright white and unlike regular sand it doesn’t retain heat so you can happily walk barefoot on a hot day.

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As the kids enjoy building sand castles and playing in the shallows, Rob and I take in the sights of this picture perfect location. We reminisce of our time here back in 2007 before we were married and had kids and agree it is just as beautiful now as it was almost 10 years ago! Just to add some excitement to our day the sky darkens, black clouds roll in and the heavens open. With the kids tucked away under towels we brave the rain and head home.

Back on the Island it is not long before the sun is shining again. We head to the Wild Life park which was a huge hit with the kids. Besides enjoying breakfast with the Koalas you can also view a range of Aussie animals including Crocodiles, Kangaroos, Snakes, Cassowary, Bettongs, Wallabies and Dingos. Once you gain entry into the park you can visit as often as you like. A highlight for us was seeing the cutest baby Koala with her mumma and of course McCulloch the huge Saltwater Croc who sat himself right up against the glass of his enclosure… and just on cue, as we approached, he opens his mouth wide showing us his impressive teeth and probably measuring us up for his lunch!! To look this ancient reptile in the eye with only a layer of glass between us is a little unnerving but an amazing experience.

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There are a variety of water sport activities available from Catseye Beach (the main beach on the island) but we simply enjoy exploring the beach at low tide or jumping in one (of the many) resort pools available. We are excited to find most of the shells in the shallows of the beach have small Sea Snails or Hermit Crabs inside them! Marli loves to name them and we have to keep a close eye on Ziggy as he tries to eat them!!!

In the evenings if we are not out enjoying the race week festivities on front street we are dining in style in some very impressive restaurants. As part of the islands ‘kids stay and eat free deal’ our little Blondies enjoy their meals for free which was a huge bonus for us. After watching the sun set at the beach or from our hotel balcony with our feathered friends, we were lucky to have an amazing view of the moon rising right over Passage Peak (one of the islands large mountain peaks). With the kids all tuckered out and asleep it was nice to share some quiet time together taking in this amazing sight.

Having travelled to a lot of destinations we are very impressed with Hamilton island and its set up. It is family friendly and offers a wide range of activities to suit everyone. If you are looking for a great value holiday with the family, this should be at the top of your list! We definitely can’t wait to come back again –  thanks for the memories Hamilton Island!!

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Interesting Facts about Hamilton Island

  • Bob Oatley an Australian winemaker and his family purchased Hamilton Island in 2003.
  • 30% of Hamilton Island is developed with 70% remaining in its natural state. The Island is 740 hectares – 5kms from north to south and 3.5kms from east to west.
  • Drinking water is provided by a combination of rainwater harvesting and seawater desalination. A reverse osmosis seawater desalination plant was commissioned in 1996 and can supply up to 1.3 million litres of potable water per day.
  • All green waste on the island is recycled by turning it into mulch. In addition to this Hamilton Island recycles 1 tonne of metals per month.
  • Hamilton Island recycles approximately 1 mega litre of grey water daily which is used for gardens all over the island.
  • Hamilton Island operates its own Public School for children aged 5 – 12 years. There are approximately 40 students currently in attendance.
  • Each year, Hamilton Island hosts approximately 500 wedding ceremonies, ranging from wedding groups of 2 to 200 guests. There are over 10 ceremony locations and 15 unique reception venues available on Hamilton Island for weddings.
  • Anyone is able to buy land or property on Hamilton Island as it is officially designated as an Integrated Tourist Resort. There are no restrictions on land/property purchases by non- Australian citizens.

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All images are owned by The Blonde Nomads. Copyright © 2016
For more travel stories and highlights visit our blog.
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2 Responses to HAMILTON ISLAND – The land of Koalas, Crocs & Buggies

  1. leonie morris 5, September, 2016 at 5:00 pm #

    Loved this story, and the photographs were fantastic. Just goes to show you can have a fun holiday with littlies.
    Hamilton Island seems like a great place for family holidays.
    Well done Blonde Nomads

    • linda callaghan 21, September, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

      Brilliant photos and such an inspirational write up on just one of the many amazing locations in Australia. Definitel feel the travel bug coming on. Thank you for sharing your family adventure and looking forward to reading more!

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