With the COVID vaccine rollout still underway globally, it will take a fair while for the cruise industry to return to normal levels of confidence and capacity with a number of vessels being retired early during the pandemic. For the many Bribie Islanders and surrounding locals who missed their cruise fix in 2020 an alternative may be just the thing in 2021 while things slowly go back to normal.
With interstate border rules chopping and changing the lure of a Queensland tropical island may be just the ticket for the cooler months starting around Easter. Booking now could save you a bundle and also give you and your friends something to look forward to as moods brighten in 2021. Airlines are struggling and are offering flights to Hamilton Island from $155 each way in the coming months with specials cropping up from time to time.
Accommodation options on the island fit a range of budgets and include the Beach Club Resort, Qualia Luxury Spa, Reef View Hotel, the Palms Bungalows or a range of holiday homes for rent for groups. Golf carts are for hire and are a great way to get around the island from your room to the Marina and to the bush walking and sightseeing trails and lookouts and bars.
The Marina has a wide range of services such as restaurants, pubs, cafes, pizza bars, boutiques, bakery, information centre, boat hire and art galleries. An IGA store provides the place to pick up the basics and a bottle shop allows a cheaper alternative drinks on your balcony overlooking Catseye Beach. Your round of golf starts at the Marina where a boat will take you and your clubs to Dent Island to the championship golf course on a spectacular tropical island.
There are many walking tracks to Flat Top Hill, Hideaway Bay, Passage Peak, Coral Cover and Escape Beach. All these walks offer spectacular views and an abundance of wildlife with Passage Peak offering a view of Whitehaven Beach and the surrounding Whitsunday Islands.
After your morning walk you will be ready for a swim with the turtles at Catseye Beach or a sail on the catamarans on the aqua blue. Lunch at the beach bar followed by a swim in the many pools before cocktail hour awaits.
A must is the half day boat trip to Whitehaven beach a 40 minute ride away. Rated as the best white sand beach in Australia it won’t disappoint and the trip is a lot of fun with the helpful crew providing shade, drinks, food and transfers from the boat to shore. Water planes are also available for your visit providing spectacular views around the islands.
The best day out from Hamilton is the one day reef trip which takes 2 hours motoring out to the Hardy’s Reef platform in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The trip offers dive options for first timers or experienced divers, as well as snorkelling and underwater viewing craft. The array of coral and fish is amazing with huge Maori Wrasse, Queensland Groper, Trevally, Parrot Fish and a variety of smaller Finding Nemo like varieties as far as the underwater eye can see. On board lunch and drinks on the return journey gives you a chance to chat to other reef lovers and check your photos in an idyllic setting.
A half day boat hire will allow you to explore the islands and see the luxurious houses on Hamilton and surrounding islands and visit North Beach, a sandy haven in the coral crusted archipelago. No licence is required for these dinghies and there are jets skis available for the more adventurous.
Seven to ten days on the island is perfect and a ferry to Shute Harbour provides additional options if you want to extend your trip out. This ferry also gives you access to other nearby islands such as Hayman and Day Dream.
Your direct flight home to Brisbane, of one hour fifteen minutes, will make you wonder why you haven’t done this sooner as it’s all so easy for us here at beautiful Bribie Island to island hop.
By Staff Writer Mozza