Hamilton Island is located in the heart of the Whitsundays and surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park - the largest marine protected area in the world, and a world heritage area.
A few things you might not know about Hamilton Island’s environment:
- As well as being surrounded by spectacular waterways, the island also boasts some incredible natural bushland. In fact, there are over a dozen walking trails that weave around the island (open 6.30am until 5.30pm).
- Below the high tide mark, Hamilton Island is surrounded by fringing coral reef and mangrove communities and is home to plentiful marine life. The area is often visited by turtles, and between July and September, humpback whales and their calves are often spotted.
- Only a third of the island is developed, and the rest remains preserved as natural bushland - 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.
Protecting the environment
Thousands of Australian and international tourists visit every year, and ecological sustainability is vital for the protection and smart use of the island and its surroundings.
Hamilton Island Enterprises has several important environmental measures in place, and we’re continually looking for ways to improve these initiatives and reduce our impact on the environment:
We support and participate in marine park research, including the Eye on the Reef program, in which we collaborate with 40 marine tourism operators who report and collect data on the health and status of the Great Barrier Reef.
State-of-the-art waste facilities.
We pride ourselves on having innovative 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 the environment and surrounded reefs are protected from this waste.
Cutting-edge recycling program.
We have an innovative, self-managed recycling program and facilities, and the only fully-operational recycling centre in the Whitsunday region. Glass is crushed on the island and is 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.
Waste run-off minimisation.
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 watercourses are being continually installed. Innovative building design, guidelines and regulations ensure soil disturbance is minimised, natural slopes are maintained and any silt or run-off which may otherwise enter the water is captured or contained.
Collection of litter washed up on beaches around Hamilton Island, and nearby islands, occurs three times a year. We use a barge and tenders together with volunteers.
Many of our buildings, such as those in 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.
Designed in keeping with the natural environment.
Many of the island’s buildings have been designed to be in keeping with the island and its surrounds. qualia, for instance, has been built to blend harmoniously into the island’s 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, and garden waste is mulched and recycled to ensure water use is kept to a minimum.
We provide 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 percent of buggies now electric powered.
Management of watersports activities. Proactive management of watersports activities on the island prevents damage to the reef and marine creatures through continuous monitoring of any possible impacts.
Environmentally-accredited sea kayaking.
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 local wildlife
We are involved in several wildlife programs aimed at reducing impacts on local fauna, including:
- Reducing artificial feeding points
- Reducing artificial habitats
- Invasive species management
- Wildlife relocation efforts
- Educating guests on the importance of not feeding wildlife
- Implementing specially-designed rubbish bins (to keep the wildlife out), which are cleaned regularly to maintain the balance of the island’s natural inhabitants.
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 preserve the natural beauty of the Whitsundays, so future generations can enjoy it just as we do.