Hamilton Island is located off Airlie Beach on the Queensland coast and is one of the 74 Whitsunday Islands. The island has some 1,200 residents, some of whom are retirees. Commercial vehicles are not permitted on the island, and most guests walk, or are ferried around by golf buggies or personal buggy hire.
It is the only island in the Great Barrier Reef with a substantive commercial jet airport, and it is reachable with direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns. Hamilton can also be reached by boat. Resorts on the surrounding islands also use Hamilton Island as a gateway airport and then transfer their guests via boat to their accommodation.
Despite its small size—the island is only 2 sq mi/5 sq km—it is one of the most developed on the reef and visitors are drawn there by a wide range of activities—including a marine village, restaurants, cafes, bars and watersports—a variety of accommodation types, a unique culture and easy access to the Great Barrier Reef. In addition to underwater attractions, there is a nature park on nearby Dent with emus, koalas and kangaroos.
The island comes to life in August with Hamilton Island Race Week when some 250 yachts descend on the surrounding waters for a series of yacht races. Other sporting events include triathlon and marathon races.
A championship golf course, golf club (on Dent Island) and yacht club, with villas available as rental properties, gave the island an additional boost in tourism, and its year-round good weather makes it a popular vacation spot for Australian travelers. It is an excellent family destination. http://www.hamiltonisland.com.au.
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