10 things to do with kids on Hamilton Island Posted by Katrina Whitehead - 16 November 2015 While Hamilton Island is most definitely family friendly, it’s also not of the screaming-babies-and-tantruming-toddlers-at-every-turn kind. Instead, we found the island to be incredibly relaxing. It attracts travellers of all ages, and has a natural and laid-back vibe that’s entirely conducive to a family holiday. One of the things we loved the most was how easy it was to keep our two kids - aged five and two - entertained from dawn to dusk, while feeling we were also having our own relaxing, grown-up holiday. These days, that’s a rare feat. While there are all kinds of great activities to choose from, here are our top ten things to do with kids on the island: 1. Swim, swim (and swim some more) Our kids love getting wet, and if you’re considering heading to a tropical island for your holiday, chances are yours do too. With beautiful weather all year round in the Whitsundays, it’s always warm enough for a dip, and several of the resort pools are heated in winter. The kid-friendly Bougainvillea Pool, in front of the Reef View Hotel, feels like a secluded lagoon, and is right on the edge of stunning Catseye Beach. We spent a lot of time swimming, which meant our kids were completely shattered by bedtime - an added bonus. In fact, you could spend all day simply pool-hopping without getting bored. Any guest of the island has free use of the lovely Main Pool, Sails Pool or Bougainvillea Pool, all of which are on the resort side. Guests of the Reef View Hotel can also use the Reef View Pool, and both Beach Club and qualia have their own luxurious, heated sanctuaries (though these are definitely kid-free zones). Most of the holiday homes also have their own private pools. The Main Pool, with its swim-up bar, and the lovely, deep Sails Pool are both right on Catseye Beach. As a family, we loved the Main Pool, as it is right next to the Hamilton Island Beach Sports hut on Catseye Beach - so we could flit between the pool and the sea. It also has a fun swim-up bar - a big plus for parents. We also really enjoyed the lovely Bougainvillea Pool, which has a tranquil, tropical feel, with a shallow section for the little ones. It also overlooks the ocean. We found all the pools beautifully clean, vast and refreshingly uncrowded. 2. Cruise in your open-air buggy The ever-present, softly humming golf buggies are one of the most distinctive things about Hamilton Island, and give the island a breezy and relaxed feel. You can hire buggies from Hamilton Island Buggy Hire by the hour, the day, or even overnight. There are two-seater and four-seater versions available, and they’re very easy to drive. If you’re hiring one overnight, don’t forget to plug it in! Cruising around in a golf buggy… the perfect island transport. As it wasn’t peak season when we visited, hire didn’t need to be for consecutive days, and we were also able to return our buggy for the day we spent off the island exploring the Great Barrier Reef. We hired a four-seater buggy for our stay, and the kids loved cruising around the island - especially at the end of the day when they were tired and starting to unravel. Who doesn’t love getting around in a buggy? 3. Visit One Tree Hill at sunset Once you’ve picked up your buggy, be sure to head to the new bar at One Tree Hill, which serves some takeaway gourmet nibbles, a variety of drinks and $10 cocktails. Make your way there before dinner, and watch the magnificent sunset over the Whitsundays. If you’re after a particularly energetic evening stroll, you can also tackle the hill on foot (though you’ll need a pram for the kids, as the hill is gruelling). You can also take your own drinks and snacks if you prefer, and there’s plenty of casual, child-friendly seating at the lookout. The view is spectacular, and will help you slip straight into holiday mode.. After an inspiring day visiting the Great Barrier Reef, head to One Tree Hill on Hamilton Island and watch the spectacular sunset over the Whitsunday Islands. Don’t miss the unforgettable sunsets at One Tree Hill. Grab a drink and some nibbles, sit back and take it all in. 4. Work up a sweat on Catseye Beach As well as swimming, we also spent lots of time down on Catseye Beach, making the most of all the quality beach equipment that’s available for hire, or free of charge to any families staying at the Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows, or any of the Hamilton Island Holiday Homes. There’s plenty to do for all ages, including stand-up paddleboards, sea kayaks, catamarans and windsurfers. Simply make your way to the Hamilton Island Beach Sports hut and see what’s available. And of course, the blissful Hamilton Island weather means you can enjoy the activities on Catseye Beach all year round. How inviting is that water? Head to Catseye Beach and make use of the complimentary, non-motorised watersports equipment. The catamarans are easy to sail and great fun, and each adult can sail with two young kids on board. Both our kids loved accompanying one of us on the catamarans and sitting on the front of the stand-up paddleboards and kayaks. After a tip-off from one of the lifeguards, we even managed to spot some sea turtles on a morning kayak - a real highlight of our holiday. You can also ask at the hut for junior life vests, and beach lockers are available for a small fee. 5. Visit the Great Barrier Reef or Whitehaven Beach While the idea of taking two young kids out into the middle of the ocean for an entire day did seem a little daunting, we felt we couldn’t visit Hamilton Island without taking a trip to the Great Barrier Reef. The island also offers some fantastic, family-friendly tours to the world-famous Whitehaven Beach. Fortunately, our trip to the reef was an absolute highlight of our visit to the Whitsundays, and our kids both thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef was a real highlight of our family holiday. 6. Eat, eat (and eat some more!) Hamilton Island has a wide range of dining options, and there is plenty of choice for families, ranging from quality takeaway, to fine restaurants that happily welcome kids. If you’re staying at the Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows or any of the Hamilton Island Holiday Homes, you can also take advantage of the island’s ‘Kids Stay & Eat Free’ offer, where kids up to 12 can eat for free in participating restaurants if they’re dining with you before 7.30pm and choosing an item from the kids’ menu. We found the kids’ menus to be diverse and quite generous, and our kids ate very well all week (essential after all that swimming). Great value takeaway options at the Hamilton Island Marina: Bob’s Bakery and Popeye’s Fish and Chips. Feeing a hungry family is easy on Hamilton Island. Head to Bob's Bakery for great coffee, takeaway pies, sandwiches and sweet treats. For lunch, we would often head to the Marina, where we had a choice of Bob’s Bakery (which serves up fresh pies, sausage rolls, sandwiches, freshly made rolls and all kinds of yummy treats), Popeye’s Fish and Chips (which also offers BBQ chickens), and the Marina Café (which does delicious smoothies and toasted sandwiches). For dinner, we would eat out at one of the many restaurants across the island (but be sure to make an early booking in advance). We loved the pizzas and steak at Manta Ray, and the ever-changing menu at coca chu. Inspired by the hawker-style street food of South East Asia, the food is mouth-wateringly good and the kids enjoyed a delicious meal of soy chicken, rice and Asian coleslaw. Most Sundays (and some other selected afternoons), you can also head down to the Hamilton Island Marina with a picnic rug and some takeaway dinner to enjoy some great live music and watch the sunset. It’s very kid-friendly, and the perfect place to meet friends. Take a picnic rug and a bottle of wine, and enjoy some live music at Marina Daze. 7. Enjoy breakfast with some koalas Our kids really enjoyed this activity - where we ate our breakfast right next to two sleepy and adorable koalas at WILD LIFE Hamilton Island. The activity was included as part of our stay at the Reef View Hotel (we were given a choice of three breakfast venues every day, to keep things interesting). If you’re keen, you can also take a paid visit of the park afterwards, where you can get up close to snakes, lizards, koalas and kangaroos, and the park’s own crocodile. Breakfast with sleepy, cuddly koalas: a big hit with young kids. 8. Go go-kart crazy If you’re after a bit of adrenaline after all that relaxing and good food, the go-karting track is always popular with young kids (who can accompany an adult in a duo-kart as long as they are over four). These speed demons take on the Hamilton Island racing track. The team at Palm Valley Activities is very friendly and helpful, and we actually had the track entirely to ourselves. 8. Play a round of mini-golf This was a favourite activity for our five year old, although our two year old also joined in with gusto. The course is challenging enough to be fun for adults, but also fun enough for kids to stay focused for 18 holes. 18-holes of mini-golf fun. 9. Take a tube ride While a little too much for our two year old, our five year old had a fantastic time on the tube ride - which involved being towed alongside my husband on a giant, inflatable ring behind a speedboat. The driver went suitably slowly, and both my son and my husband had a great time. To arrange a tube ride, simply make a booking at the Hamilton Island Tour Desk, or head down to the Marina and visit the watersports team. Here you can book tube rides, wakeboarding or waterskiing sessions. Another great, child-friendly activity is to hire a dinghy from the watersports team, which allows you to explore the surrounds of the island at your own pace. You can get up close to seasonal wildlife, go fishing, or take a swim at nearby Henning Island Beach. 10. Make use of the Clownfish Club And lastly, if you’re after some precious adult time on your holiday, the Clownfish Club offers a large and friendly environment for kids, and a team of trusted child-care workers. The club takes kids from as young as six weeks, and you can leave children in very capable hands for just a few hours, or even a full day. Hamilton Island’s kids club, Clownfish Club, offers fun for kids from six weeks to 14 years. A FEW TIPS: Pre-book your golf buggy in peak season to avoid disappointment (and weary thighs on the trek up to One Tree Hill). If you’re staying at the Reef View Hotel or Palm Bungalows, ensure breakfast is included in your room. It’s a great way to start the day, and also means you can eat with the koalas whenever you like. Make your restaurant bookings as early as possible, to ensure you can get a suitable table at a child-friendly hour. About the Author When she’s not daydreaming about her next holiday, Katrina spends her days working as a freelance writer in Sydney. She’s her happiest when embarking on a new adventure, accompanied by her husband and two young kids. While her travels have led her all over the world, she still thinks there’s nowhere quite like Australia. And at the end of a long day, when she’s dreaming about escaping to a tropical paradise, Hamilton Island always comes to mind.