Hamilton Island with teenagers: Top 10 things to do Posted by Gemma Christie - 4 June 2015 Holidaying with your teenage children can be some of the most memorable time you all spend together. However we mustn’t look over the words “can be” too quickly. A teenager’s Facebook FOMO (fear of missing out for those of us needing to get up to speed with the lingo), headphones which appear to have been surgically attached to their ears, charming mood swings, reluctance to move quickly in the morning and an ability to see why gaming consoles aren’t a welcomed addition at the dinner table can make getaways challenging for any parent to say the least. We believe the key to a successful family holiday with teenagers is to choose a destination with plenty of things to do to keep kids of all ages busy, engaged and excited about the time you have together. If you’re looking for a Queensland family holiday suitable for the teens, Hamilton Island is an ideal choice. This tropical Great Barrier Reef resort is large enough to ensure there’s no shortage of on island activities to do together but also small enough for older teens to explore freely themselves while you soak up the delightful Hamilton Island weather knowing they’re not too far away. However without a doubt, the main drawcard for families holidaying with older children is Hamilton Island’s Great Barrier Reef location. If you’re wanting to experience the beauty of the Whitsunday Islands, there’s no better place to base yourself. With the Great Barrier Reef, the famed Heart Reef and Whitehaven Beach literally on Hamilton Island’s doorstep, ticking off these bucket list items together is not only easy, but the options for doing so are also endless. As the children are a bit older, they’ll be able to truly experience these Australian natural wonders and better still, remember the holiday for the rest of their lives. So if you agree and think Hamilton Island may be a good option for that upcoming Queensland family holiday, it’s time to get out the notebook and start planning. With so many things to do while here, it’s worth spending a bit of time mapping out a plan. To help you get started, here are our top 10 recommended activities on Hamilton Island which we’re confident you and your teenagers will love while holiday with us in Great Barrier Reef tropical island paradise. 1. Tick off a bucket list must – experience the Great Barrier Reef Rest assured there is a Great Barrier Reef experience to suit every type of family and budget. For those wanting the ultimate experience, then flying out to the reef is definitely recommended. A good option is the Fly / Cruise helicopter tour out to Cruise Whitsunday’s Reefworld. The tour includes a spectacular 35-minute scenic flight over the stunning Whitehaven Beach, past the swirling beauty of Hill Inlet and then for the kids’ prized Facebook happy snap, over the famed Heart Reef. If you’re wondering – yes, it does look exactly as it does in the photos. Simply breathtaking! Soaring over Heart Reef is a must do bucket list item for anyone visiting the Whitsunday Islands. Once you’ve arrived at Reefworld, the family will have around 2 ½ hours to enjoy plenty of time to explore the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef and a delicious buffet lunch (included in the tour). You’re sure to snorkel with hundreds of fish, turtles, manta rays and perhaps a visiting dolphin or two! Once you’re done, you’ll cruise back to Hamilton Island with Cruise Whitsundays. If you’re really wanting to splash out, why not fly both ways and soak up the beauty of the reef from above on the way there and way home! Exploring the beauty of the world heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. However, when adding a helicopter flight into the mix, the cost of the experience does begin to add up particularly when taking all the family. If snorkelling the reef is the main priority, perhaps the Great Barrier Reef Day Trip to Reefworld is a good alternative. Travelling by a Cruise Whitsundays catamaran, it will take approximately two hours to get out to Reefworld from Hamilton Island. You’ll then have just under four hours to snorkel to your heart’s content, marvel at the fish while keeping dry inside the Reefworld underwater viewing chamber and enjoy a hearty lunch (included in the day trip) before cruising back to the Hamilton Island marina later in the afternoon. Sailing out to Reefworld with Cruise Whitsundays is a great way to experience the Great Barrier Reef. If you or the kids feel as though one day of snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef simply isn’t enough, you can always wander across to Catseye Beach and snorkel the fringing reef directly off the Hamilton Island coastline when it’s low tide. Snorkelling equipment can be easily picked up from the Hamilton Island Beach Sports hut. 2. Rev the engines – book an Offroad Adventure Tour around Hamilton Island If your teenagers are bursting with energy and hungry for any kind of adventure, they are sure to love the Offroad Adventure Tour around Hamilton Island. An adrenaline pumping experience that’s great for the whole family to do together, this one-hour quad bike tour will take the family bounding along on a spectacular journey through the island’s meandering fire trails as you make your way towards Resort Lookout. Here you’ll have time to stretch your legs and soak up a breathtaking 360-degree view of the Whitsunday Islands before you continue exploring tropical island paradise. One thing to keep in mind is drivers must be 18 years and over and have a full driver's licence. If your kids don’t fit this bill, not to worry as they can jump on the back as a passenger – as long as your back seat bouncers are eight years or over. Offroad Adventure Tour around Hamilton Island. 3. Pump the adrenaline – explore the island on a Jet Ski Tour A great way to get a different experience of Hamilton Island is by zipping around the coastline on a Jet Ski Tour – one that promises to please thrill seekers of all ages! Drivers do need to be over 18 years old so again this is a great one for the whole family. Mum and dad can each take the lead while the kids (10 years or over) jump on the back and hold on tight. What makes this tour so unique is the ability to explore secret destinations around the island that are very tricky to get to any other way. Thanks to the Jet Ski’s ability to whizz in and out of hard to reach places and your guide’s expert local knowledge, you’ll discover hidden coves dotted around the coast that larger boats simply can’t reach. You’ll hopefully spot some marine life along the way to so keep your eyes peeled for a turtle or even a whale depending on the season. Explore hidden coves on a Jet Ski Tour around Hamilton Island. 4. Swim with the locals – take a Turtle tour off Catseye Beach With all the excitement around heading out to the Great Barrier Reef, families often forget the amazing sites waiting a few meters from your Whitsunday Island hotel off Hamilton Island’s Catseye Beach. A Hamilton Island Turtle Tour is a fun and affordable activity you can easily fit into your holiday plans. It’s ideal for families with older children as a confident swimming ability is recommended. Life vests are provided along with the snorkelling equipment to make the swim that little bit easier however everyone will need to be comfortable in the water for it to be a fun experience. Once you’re all kitted up, your expert guide will take the group out to the colourful coral formations just a short swim off Catseye Beach. This fringing reef is bursting with an abundance of marine life including the famous turtles frequently spotted hanging out above the seabed. This is a great experience for those underwater holiday snaps so if you have a GoPro or waterproof camera handy, why not give the photography duties to one of the kids who will no doubt love taking spectacular shots of the family swimming with the friendly locals. 5. Sweat it out – hike passage peak Teens have plenty of energy to burn so why not get the runners on and set off exploring Hamilton Island’s spectacular bushland? There are plenty of great walks to choose from but for families with older children, Passage Peak, the highest point on the island, is highly recommended and a great challenge. Along the way, you’re likely to spot wallabies, kangaroos and Australian birds like the famed kookaburra and cockatoo and come across some great picnic spots making the hike all the more enjoyable. However a word of warning, Passage Peak is a hike to say the least. The path does get quite steep towards the summit but if you can convince everyone to make it to the top, the view across the Whitsunday Islands is spectacular and very much worth the effort. Take in a stunning view of the Whitsundays from the top of Passage Peak, the highest point on Hamilton Island. 6. Sail, paddle and play – make the most of the Catseye Beach Sports One of the first things you’ll notice when arriving on Hamilton Island is the host of vibrant activity down on Catseye Beach. Colourful catamarans, kayaks and stand up paddle boards dot the azure blue Whitsundays water as people and families of all ages make the most of the beautiful Hamilton Island weather. The best part about it, particularly for your fun seeking, active teenagers, if you’re staying at Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows or a Hamilton Island Holiday apartment or home, all of these beach sports are free for the family to use at any time. The kayaks and stand-up paddle boards are relatively easy to quickly get the hang of and are a great way to explore at a relaxed pace. When it comes to hiring the mini catamarans, kids of all ages will love trying to master sailing these colourful vessels. Once you do, there’s nothing more enjoyable than soaking up the Whitsundays sun as you cruise the protected waters of Catseye Bay. But don’t worry – if you find out it’s not as easy as it looks and you’re spending more time stuck than sailing, lessons are available to help you along the way! Hire a catamaran on Hamilton Island’s Catseye Beach. Photo credit: Jeremy Somers 7. Satisfy a need for speed – Hamilton Island Go Kart racing If you’ve spent a morning relaxing on the beach, take your experience of tropical island paradise up a notch by taking the family go-karting at Hamilton Island’s Palm Valley. Parents and teens alike will love racing around the exhilarating custom built, outdoor track. Reaching speeds of up to 45 kilometres per hour, the family can take on the challenge in either single or duo karts and see who comes out on top as king or queen of the track. Hamilton Island’s go-karts are a hit among those enjoying the Hamilton Island weather from a Great Barrier Reef hotel or Great Barrier Reef accommodation. 8. Soar above Hamilton Island – give parasailing a go! Although the view is stunning from the shore, nothing beats soaring above Hamilton Island and looking down on the spectacular Whitsunday islands from above. Parasailing is a great experience that you can do in tandem with your teenage child and one that will no doubt rank highly on their list of holiday highlights. Once booked in and it’s your time to fly, you’ll both jet out on a speedboat off the Hamilton Island coast. When the conditions are right and you’re firmly attached to your parachute, the boat will take off as you begin to soar up to 150ft in the air. The rush is exhilarating and the view breathtaking! When you’re done, you’ll smoothly be drawn back into the boat and cruise back to shore. Keep in mind, a child must parasail tandem with an adult (18 years and over) unless they are over 65 – 70kg (weight will vary depending on the weather) in which case they may be able to parasail on their own. 9. Explore the most beautiful beach in Australia – Whitehaven Beach Whitehaven Beach – recently voted by the Tripadvisor community as the number one beach in Australia – is a spectacular natural wonder which definitely needs to make the list of things to do when visiting Hamilton Island. Located on the East Coast of Whitsunday Island, Whitehaven Beach is easily accessible from Hamilton Island by boat, helicopter or seaplane. We recommend a half or full day cruise out to the beach as a great, affordable option for families with older children. Sailing out to Whitehaven Beach from Hamilton Island will take approximately 30 minutes each way. Once there, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy playing as a family on the pure white sand (balls and beach sports equipment are provided for the active beach goers), swimming in the refreshing Whitsundays water or exploring one of the many great walking trails. If you have time, head north along the beach to Tongue Point for a spectacular view over the stunning swirling colours of Hill Inlet. The swirling colours of Hill Inlet, Whitsunday Island. 10. Watch the sunset There’s no better way to top off a great day spent in Great Barrier Reef paradise than watching the sunset together over the Whitsunday Islands. One Tree Hill is a renowned spot to do just that. Head up there early to enjoy a drink and a pre dinner bite to eat at the One Tree Hill Cafe and secure your prime position. Before you know it, the sky will turn a brilliant shade of pink as the sun disappears over the horizon. As you marvel at the site together as a family and reminisce about the excitement of day, we hope you all agree your Hamilton Island adventure is up there with some of your best family holidays to date! Watching the sunset over Hamilton Island and the Whitsundays from One Tree Hill. Photo credit: Lauren Bath. About the Author As Hamilton Island’s Communications Manager, Gemma is passionate about both writing and all things to do with Hamilton Island tropical island paradise. Sharing all the news, insights and interesting stories from the destination perfectly combines both loves. When not writing, Gemma can be found dancing for no reason, going out for breakfast, soaking up the beach or spending time with her family doing all of the above.