Hamilton Island Tourist Attractions
Although it has an area of only 6 sq.km, Hamilton is the island in the Whitsunday group best equipped to cater for tourists, with 2500 beds in apartment complexes and two high-rise hotels. In addition there are many day trippers to the island during the holiday season.Hamilton's excellent communications also contribute to its popularity as a holiday area. Its airport has a runway which can take large jet aircraft, in contrast to the other holiday islands whose airstrips are suitable only for light aircraft. There are flights to Hamilton Island from all the Australian capitals (Ansett and Eastwest Airlines). Negotiations are in progress on landing rights for direct flights from New Zealand, Tokyo and Singapore, and the island may one day have an international airport.Hamilton Island is also easily accessible by sea. There are regular services by fast catamarans from Shute Harbor on the mainland; the crossing takes 30 minutes.
A popular excursion is through the hills in the north of Hamilton Island to the fauna park on the coast. Apart from the descendants of the goats, which in the past were left on the island to provide subsistence for shipwrecked mariners, and of the red deer which were formerly raised here the animals are mainly indigenous species - kangaroos, koalas, dingoes, crocodiles, Tasmanian devils and many brightly colored lorikeets and white and yellow cockatoos. The cockatoos have almost become the island's heraldic emblem, and it is because of them that the flower tubs on the balconies of houses have to be protected by wire netting. The two trained dolphins in a large pool are a very popular attraction. It is planned to construct a large walk-through oceanarium in the harbor area which will allow visitors to get a close-up view of the marvelous underwater world of the coral reefs.There are pleasant walks on the island through almost unspoiled natural surroundings, with steep-sided hills, the highest of which is Passage Peak (230m), with magnificent panoramic views from the top. For those who would find the ascent in the tropical sun too strenuous there is the One Tree Hill Lookout on the way to the fauna park, from which there are fine views over the island and Catseye Bay.Near this viewpoint is a small white church in Queensland style, All Saints, to which many young couples, particularly from Japan, come to be married; and indeed the island as a whole is a favorite with young Japanese honeymooners.Opposite the little church is the Motorcycle Museum, housing the large collection assembled by Keith Williams, who started life as a designer of motorcycle racecourses.
In picturesque Catseye Bay with its marvelously beautiful beach is a modern resort complex (children welcome). On the slopes above the water are a white villa belonging to Keith Williams, one of the 'discoverers' of the island as a holiday resort, a Polynesian-style house which can be rented and the former holiday home of ex-Beatle George Harrison. Beyond a hill is the harbor area, with shops, boutiques, restaurants, a night club and a supermarket, all designed in typical Queensland style.
Hamilton Island offers opportunities for every conceivable form of sport. On the main island there are tennis and squash courts, a fitness center and facilities for all kinds of water sports (swimming, water-skiing, wind-surfing, parasailing). Visitors can hire small dinghies, sailing boats, large yachts, with or without crew, and catamarans, and they can learn to dive. The spacious marina has moorings for 400 boats and yachts.