25+ tips for travelling to Hamilton Island with young kids Posted by Hamilton Island - 6 February 2017 When you’ve got young children the idea of a holiday can induce feelings of stress, worry and outright panic rather than getaway excitement. You’re in desperate need of a break but you don’t want to end up broken from a holiday that doesn’t cater to your young family. We spoke to three mums with under 3s about their recent travels to Hamilton Island to find out about their holiday experiences with toddlers. In sharing their stories, they’ve helped us collect a range of tips and holiday ideas to ensure your trip to Hamilton Island is your best getaway yet! Mehrnaz German Fashion Blogger (www.shoplemonde.de) Mehrnaz, travelled to Hamilton Island as part of an Australian holiday from Europe with her husband, Chris, and their toddler. Playtime at Whitehaven Beach. Kayla Sydney-sider Kayla travelled to Hamilton Island with her husband and their two little girls, a six-month-old and a threenager (aka a three-year-old who thinks she’s a teenager). They came with their extended family and enjoyed a week on the island. Ready to snorkel on the Reef World tour. Tracy Travel bloggers Rob and Tracy (www.theblondenomads.com.au) visited the island with their two children, Marli (three-years-old) and Ziggy (one-year-old). This Sydney-based family came to Hamilton Island as part of their goal to travel with their young children and inspire other families to do the same. All smiles on arriving at Hamilton Island. You can fly directly into Hamilton Island from most capital cities: Mehrnaz Travelling with a toddler was a lot easier than I had imagined. We flew in from Melbourne and the flight was just a little over two hours. Once we arrived on the island, there was a shuttle bus waiting for us and we went straight to our hotel for check-in. This meant we were able to get outdoors for some playtime at the beach almost immediately. Going for a stroll at Catseye Beach. Tracy Once we arrived on the island we had a short wait while our luggage was unloaded, then there was a courtesy bus waiting to transfer us to our accommodation (the transfer is provided when staying at Reef View Hotel). Once on the bus we sat up the front and chatted to the friendly driver who gave us a great introduction to the island as we drove along – it was a great, stress-free start to our holiday and the kids loved riding in the bus! Straight to the beach! There are endless opportunities for play: Mehrnaz My daughter and I spent a lot of time at the beach. We loved the turquoise waters and played at Catseye Beach every day. We also visited the wild life park- twice! On one occasion we were able to have breakfast with a koala sleeping in a tree right above our table - it was magical! We also watched sunsets from One Tree Hill as a family. Taking in the sunset on One Tree Hill. Kayla We were surprised by how much there was to see and do on the island. There were heaps of things to keep our little ones entertained and we checked the App every day to see what was on offer. We spent a fair bit of time at the Resort Centre. Here we found a range of different games for kids and our favorite activity was the jumping castle. We also did 18 holes of mini golf, went bowling, tried our hands at the driving range, visited the wild life park and of course we went swimming! The large range of water sports equipment at the beach (which was complimentary for us to use as guests of the Reef View Hotel) was also great. Putting like a pro at mini golf. Tracy On our first full day on the island we hired a golf buggy (for three hours). This was a good amount of time for us to explore, get our bearings and enjoy the novelty of zipping around in a cute set of wheels. The kids thought it was great and with all that fresh air, Ziggy managed to have his morning sleep in his car seat! Family drive taking in the sights of the island. We all loved the breakfast with the koalas (which was included in our accommodation) and we also did the tour at WILD LIFE Hamilton Island. The kids loved McCulloch, the huge crocodile, who came right up close to the glass of his enclosure to say hello. They also loved the talking cockatoo, the baby koala and the wallaby joey. We visited the wild life park a few times, as once you pay the entry fee you are able to visit as much as you like, which is great for families. Remember... Never smile at a crocodile! Exploring the beach at low tide was something else we loved to do. To our delight we found that in the shallows there were sea snails and hermit crabs. As such, a lot of our time was spent with the kids happily playing at low tide on Catseye Beach. We also swam in the Resort Centre pool and bought a mocktail from the swim-up bar to share with the kids, which was a fun treat! Hunting for treasures on Catseye Beach. Tours: Mehrnaz We did a half-day tour to Whitehaven Beach and we loved the chance to share this amazing location with our daughter. She loved playing in the sand and it was a fun, family activity. Cuddles on Whitehaven Beach. Kayla Hands down, our tour to Reef World was the highlight of our trip. This tour gives you the chance to see the Great Barrier Reef, both from above and below the water. We loved having the chance to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and search for Nemo with our little girl! Getting ready for an adventure to the Great Barrier Reef. You get to see the reef from a semi-submarine on this tour. From the semi-submarine’s underwater viewing chamber, we could view marine life and my little girl thought she saw a mermaid/merman (alas, it was just her dad swimming by saying hello!). Watching the fish and Dad swim by on the Reef World tour. We were lucky enough to be travelling with my parents who baby-sat our six-month-old back on Hamilton Island (we decided it was going to be too long of a day for her to come with us). If my parents hadn’t been available, we could have arranged babysitting or the Clownfish Club. Tracy We went on Reef Ryder- Two In One, which was a short, three-hour tour that took us to Chalkies Beach for a snorkel and then across the bay to Whitehaven Beach. The kids loved the boat ride and sat on our laps. The hum of the engine put our one-year-old Ziggy to sleep on the way there and then again on our way back! Once on the beach the kids enjoyed exploring the island, playing in the sand and splashing in the shallows of the water, while us adults took turns snorkelling and swimming. We packed some snacks and found a shady spot under a tree. There we had a picnic on Whitehaven Beach, which was a lovely spot to relax. Playtime on the pristine white sands of Whitehaven Beach. Dining options: Mehrnaz We tried almost every restaurant on the island. Our favorite places were Romano’s and coca chu. We found both to be very family friendly. And we loved having holiday ice-creams down on Front Street! No holiday is complete without at least one ice cream! Kayla Indyana, our three-year-old, is extremely fussy but to our relief, we were able to find her something on the kids’ menu at each place we visited. The restaurant we really enjoyed was Mantra Ray; it served great pizzas and café-style food. Everything was so yummy and fresh. Something for the whole family at Manta Ray. Tracy We were very impressed with our dining experiences on the island. We went to TAKO, Sails, the Reef View Hotel and coca chu for our dinners. Our young children are generally starving by 5pm, so we were always the first to arrive at the restaurants when they opened their doors at 5.30pm. We loved the ‘kids stay and eat free’ inclusion that came with our accommodation. We also enjoyed fish and chips on Front Street for lunch, and having breakfast with the koalas is a must-do for everyone! Picnics in the sun at the marina. Staying at the Reef View Hotel: Kayla We had a Coral Sea View Room and we loved looking out each morning to those breath-taking views of the ocean. It was a completely unforgettable experience. We found the room size was perfect for our family of four and the large sized bathroom, with bath, was great for the kids. The spacious room at Reef View Hotel. Mehrnaz We had a wonderful suite with a beautiful view of the Coral Sea. There was plenty of room for a travel cot and room to move around. Morning visit from the local cockatoos. Tracy The hotel was great. The room was big enough for a cot, alongside the two queen-sized beds. The bathroom had a bath, which was useful. The glass lifts were also a hit with the kids, as were the friendly cockatoos that came to visit! The breakfast buffet was very good as well. Did someone say pancakes? Getting around the island: Mehrnaz We loved exploring the island on foot. It is great that there are next to no cars on Hamilton Island - this made walking around feel much safer. Walking along the path at Catseye Beach. Kayla We used three modes of transport. There was the free shuttle bus service, golf buggy hire (with child car-seats included for free) and our own legs. We walked a lot, as places like the marina are only a 15-minute walk from the Reef View Hotel. Hiring a golf buggy was also a good idea. We used it to explore parts of the island that would have been too far for us to walk to with the girls. On our little adventure around the island we stumbled across the duck pond, which the girls loved. The girls say hello to the resident ducks. Tracy We hired our golf buggy for three hours and explored the island. We also loved the free shuttle bus and found it easily fit our pram. We also found it was straightforward to walk to the beach and Front Street from the hotel. Saying hello to a local while out for a drive. Overall holiday experience: Mehrnaz It was so nice to enjoy the calm and peaceful island life. We have lovely memories with our little girl from our time spent in paradise. The best way to describe our trip was relaxing. Time to build sandcastles at Whitehaven Beach. Kayla Having travelled to Hamilton Island before children, it was nice to come back and create new memories with our kids. We will return to the island again, (and hopefully soon!) as we found it perfect for our family. It's all in the swing! Tracy As a travelling family we have been to a lot of destinations and stayed in a wide range of accommodation options. We were very impressed with our time on Hamilton Island. With the layout of the island, the free shuttle bus, the ‘kids stay and eat for free’ inclusion, all the beautiful swimming pools, beach and wild life experiences, we had a wonderful time and were never without something to do. We would have liked an extra day or two, as we wanted to enjoy some of the island’s walks… but we will just have to come back again soon! Last swim at Catseye Beach before heading home. Ten quick tips for staying on Hamilton Island with under 3s: Download the Hamilton Island App- it will help you book dinner, find out what activities are on each day and the map of the island is a great tool. Take advantage of the “kids stay and eat for free” inclusion built-in to many of the accommodation packages. With plenty of places to dine, it is cost effective and simplifies dinnertime. The Tour Desk is there to help. They will assist you to find the best excursion for your family’s needs. Get in contact with them before you travel and lock in a fantastic experience. Don’t forget that the Clownfish Club is available for your childcare and babysitting needs. Leave your little ones in experienced, trusted hands and enjoy some precious, childfree time on Hamilton Island or away on a tour. Don’t want to lug your whole house with you? You can hire some items like prams for as little $15 a day. Phone (07) 4946 8941 to make a booking and see what is available for hire. If you’d like us to go one step further and arrange provisions, the comforts of your nursery and the best accommodation for your young family then booking a “Baby’s first holiday” package is the way to go. Let us take over the planning and organisation – so all you need to do is enjoy your down time. If you do hire a golf buggy make sure you put down the ages of your children on the booking form, (for under four-years-old) so the right car seats can be fitted and available for you. If you leave something at home the General Store will have you covered for toiletries, snacks and those baby bag essentials (yes, we have baby wipes!). Or get in early and have an IGA order placed and ready for collection on the island. Need to keep the kids busy in between activities? There is a kids’ playground behind the main pool near coca chu for playtime fun. A family holiday is a great time to capture memories and Hamilton Island Photography is on hand to take a family portrait while you’re all in holiday mode. About the Author Part of the Whitsundays, and in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, Hamilton Island is one of Australia’s most spectacular and sought-after holiday destinations. On a holiday to Hamilton Island, you'll be surrounded by pristine white beaches, and a kaleidoscope of coral and marine life.