Hamilton Island Green in a Sea of Blue
Hamilton Island is located in the heart of the Whitsundays. It is surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP), the largest marine protected area in the world and a world heritage area.
Protecting Hamilton Island and its surroundings is not a ‘go green’ trend, it is a necessity. Thousands of tourists – both domestic and international – visit Hamilton Island each year and ecological sustainability is vital for both the protection and wise use of the island and the impact on its waters and its inhabitants.
Positive environmental initiatives have been adopted and implemented on the island for many years now and Hamilton Island is continually working on ways in which to improve such initiatives and reduce its impact on the environment. Below is a list of geographical facts about Hamilton Island and environmental initiatives in place.
Hamilton Island has over a dozen walking trails. Discover the island by foot and experience the wildlife, bushland, hidden coves and sea views. Trails are open from 6.30am to 5.30pm.
Below the high tide mark Hamilton Island itself is surrounded by fringing coral reef and mangrove communities, home to a diverse population of marine animals. Catseye Bay has a fringing coral reef and at low tide is a great spot to see array of colourful fish. The area is often visited by Green Turtles and between July and October, Humpback Whales and their calves are often spotted.
While Hamilton Island is the largest resort island in the Whitsundays, more than 70 percent remains preserved as natural bushland and is home to an array of beautiful flora and fauna including gumtrees, paperbarks, palms, pines and ancient cycads. Three types of eucalyptus grow naturally on Hamilton Island and the koalas at Wild Life Hamilton Island live off these leaves.
The island is home to a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and butterflies – many of which have adapted well to living around the resort.
Hamilton Island Enterprises (HIE) supports and participates in marine park research, including participation in the Eye on the Reef program collaborating with 40 marine tourism operators who report and collect data on the health and status of the Great Barrier Reef.
Hamilton Island prides itself on having state of the art sewerage treatment facilities that have been upgraded to cope with growing demand. The solid and liquid waste is treated through this tertiary treatment plant producing ‘A’ class treated effluent. Over 95 per cent of the treated effluent produced is reused for irrigating parks and gardens ensuring that the environment and surrounded reefs are protected from this waste.
Hamilton Island has a cutting edge, self-managed recycling program and facilities, the only fully operational recycling centre in the Whitsundays region. Glass is crushed on the island and is then used by the gardening department on garden beds and for drainage projects. Cardboard, plastic, paper, aluminium cans and steel cans are compacted and sold along with scrap steel, aluminium and copper on the mainland. Clay-based building products are used as landfill at the Hamilton Island quarry. Green waste and timber are ground to produce mulch, reducing the need for additional soil conditioning products to be delivered to the island.
To minimise silt run off into the surrounding waters and reef communities other initiatives such as silt and gross pollution traps on storm water drains and water courses are being continually installed.
Innovative building design, guidelines and regulations ensure soil disturbance is minimised, natural slopes are maintained and any silt or runoff which may otherwise enter the water is captured or contained.
Collection of litter washed up on beaches around Hamilton Island as well as the nearby islands is regularly organised. We use a barge and tenders together with volunteers to accomplish this three times per year.
Many buildings, such as the boutique hotel Beach Club, have been designed with ceiling fans to maximise the cooling effects of island breezes rather than rely solely on air conditioning, while the style of the building and sheltered porches retain heat in the winter months. Air conditioning systems are serviced regularly within accommodation on Hamilton Island; kitchen ducts are professionally cleaned and fridges and freezers are checked daily.
Many island developments are visually appealing and preserve the natural scenic qualities of the surrounding reef, islands and world heritage area. qualia has been built to harmoniously blend into the natural environment. Extensive use of natural light and cross ventilation have been central to design themes, the gardens have been carefully designed using predominantly indigenous species with garden waste being mulched and recycled to ensure water use is kept to a minimum.
Hamilton Island provides a range of informative activities, including snorkelling tours off Catseye Beach and the fringing reef, which highlight the value of the surrounding reef and world heritage area.
Hamilton Island encourages its guests to consider minimising the use of its housekeeping laundry services. Housekeeping uses only phosphate-free cleaning chemicals and, where possible, only non-toxic products.
Power-tags in rooms shut off electricity supply when guests leave their rooms to assist in saving energy. Where possible, energy efficient lighting is used to reduce power consumption.
Only service vehicles exist on Hamilton Island. Guests get around via shuttle buses, foot or the popular golf buggies. To improve the amenity of the island, the existing petrol powered buggies are being phased out and replaced with 85 per cent of buggies now electric powered.
Guests are educated to not feed the wildlife on Hamilton Island. Specially-designed rubbish bins (to keep the wildlife out) are cleaned regularly to maintain the balance of the island’s natural inhabitants.
Proactive management of water sport activities on the island prevents damage to the reef and marine creatures through continuous monitoring of any possible impacts that may occur with these activities.
Based at the Hamilton Island Marina, Sea Kayaking Whitsundays has Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation. Such accreditation is only awarded to Australia’s leading and most innovative ecotourism products that achieve best practice by using resources wisely, contribute to the conservation of the environment and help local communities while at the same time teaching guests about the environment. Sea Kayaking tours cater to all levels of fitness and give visitors an insight into the ecology, wildlife and history of the beautiful areas around Hamilton Island.
Looking after the Local Wildlife
Hamilton Island Enterprises is involved in several wildlife programs which are aimed at reducing the impacts the resort has had on the local fauna. This includes reducing artificial feeding points, reducing artificial habitats, invasive species management and wildlife relocation efforts.
What can you do to help Hamilton Island’s Environment?
During your stay on Hamilton Island we encourage you to make a conscious effort in helping us protect the magic of the Whitsundays. With your help, we can help preserve the natural beauty of the Whitsundays, so that our guests can enjoy it into the future. We hope that you have a wonderful stay on Hamilton Island.