Riley Carter is an Account Manager for Hamilton Island Holidays in St Leonards. She lives in Berowra, and is a mum to two little boys. Here, she shares why this Queensland Island is such a great holiday destination for families.
In 2007, recently married and with children far down the to–do list, I was excited to start a dream role in International Sales with Hamilton Island. I never imagined that I would one day bring my own little family to experience my workplace and just how perfect it would be for kids!
My role was to represent Hamilton Island internationally, with a focus primarily on the USA. This amazing opportunity allowed me to travel to the US as an ambassador for Hamilton Island and, in turn, promote tourism to Australia in general. Part of my job was to welcome and host travel agents from all over the world to experience Hamilton Island firsthand and create further advocates for our beautiful island. It really couldn’t get any better!
Over the years, I was interested to learn more about what international visitors found appealing about Hamilton Island…
- The Brits loved the action of over 60 activities, and the opportunity to tick off the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach in one trip.
- The Germans loved the natural environment and hiking to the summit of Passage Peak, the highest point on the island and offering spectacular views over the Whitsunday region.
- The Americans loved the golf carts (golf buggies) and the fact that you can ‘cuddle a koala’ at the local wildlife park.
All of them all agreed that one of the best parts was that Hamilton Island was easy to get to with direct flights from Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Melbourne.
These days, my role is part-time with a focus on encouraging Australian travellers to visit Hamilton Island (while juggling two busy boys of one and three years of age!). I’ve wound back the wining and dining, and wound up the family time. Last year, I was so excited to take my young family to Hamilton Island and experience the place in a whole new way.
After a short 2.5 hour flight from Sydney, we landed on Hamilton Island and took the complimentary shuttle to our accommodation at the Reef View Hotel.
The kids loved the ride up the ‘see-through lift’, which is a glass elevator on the outside of the hotel, and we all enjoyed the stunning view from our room overlooking the calm vista of the Coral Sea.
It wasn’t long before we were down at the beach seeking out the resident turtles and road-testing each of the four swimming pools. No morning was complete without a visit to cuddle the koalas and say hi to the animals at WILD LIFE Hamilton Island (once you pay the one off entry free the park is complimentary for your stay).
My husband loved the adventure of the Jet Ski Tour of the island and, after a spot of taste testing at the Ice Creamery, the boys welcomed dad back into the harbour. We did manage to grab some time to ourselves, booking the boys into the Clownfish Club for the afternoon while we pampered ourselves at Spa wumurdaylin.
We were spoilt for choice with a dozen restaurants and cafés, and particularly appreciated those that cater for families with the Kids Stay & Eat Free program and children’s menus to tempt young appetites.
At the end of our stay, I wanted to take some ‘me’ time and walked to the top of Passage Peak. It’s something I try to do every time I visit the island. Hamilton Island has many beautiful walking trails and offers breathtaking views over the Whitsunday Islands.
Even though the style of my visits to the island have changed, I feel very lucky to have been part of the Hamilton Island family over the past few years with the Australian owners, the Oatley Family, making significant investments in the infrastructure – including the Hamilton Island Golf Club, Yacht Club and of course the luxury resort qualia. It’s a place I plan to return to ‘one day’ to experience a completely different holiday with my husband in child-free bliss!
- The Clownfish Club runs an equipment hire service of prams, toys and books, on top of their usual day care and babysitting jobs.
- Sunday Fun Day – Sundays are all about precious family fun with the ‘Kids Fun Zone’ at the Bougainvillea marquee including a jumping castle, face-painting, balloon-creating and arts and crafts. The Kids Fun Zone is also open every day during the Australian School Holiday period. Sunday evenings include Marina Daze, where a live local band plays down at the grassy area in front of the marina – it’s perfect for a casual pizza to watch the sunset.
If you’re looking at booking a holiday on Hamilton Island, I’d recommend you look at the following accommodation options, as they are perfect for families!
Yacht Club Villas
Luxury Family Accommodation (Luxury Holiday Rental, Includes Golf Buggy, Kids Stay & Eat FREE!
Nestled right on the water overlooking Dent Passage, the exquisite Hamilton Island Yacht Club Villas are a haven for those looking for a taste of luxury whether it be for a week or a lifetime. The brief: You are looking for a holiday experience that includes absolute luxury accommodation, but your requirements include bringing the whole family or a group of friends.
The luxury Yacht Club Villas boast a superb waterfront position with breathtaking ocean views. With a design emphasis on privacy and space, each villa spans three to four levels according to position. Designed by renowned architect Walter Barda, each four bedroom villa offers a spacious open plan living/dining room, state-of-the art gourmet kitchen with Miele appliances, four bedrooms and four bathrooms, a separate laundry, fully ducted air conditioning and a private golf buggy for guest use.
Reef View Hotel
Spectacular Whitsundays views, great for both couples and families, large and spacious rooms, Kids stay & Eat FREE!
The Reef View Hotel has many amenities, including a 35-metre swimming pool, the Reef Lounge bar, and in-house Pool Terrace Restaurant serving buffet breakfast, light lunches and à la carte dinner menu. Reef View Hotel guests have complimentary use of non-motorised water sports and the hotel has a Tours and Activities desk, lobby shop and fully serviced Business Centre.