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Hamilton Island

Listed under Tropical Island in Whitsunday Group, Australia.

  • Photo of Hamilton Island
  • Photo of Hamilton Island
  • Photo of Hamilton Island
  • Photo of Hamilton Island
  • Photo of Hamilton Island
  • Photo of Hamilton Island
Photo of Hamilton Island
Photo by flickr user Craig Anderson
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When I was a little kid growing up in Australia, I first heard about Hamilton Island when it was written on my Grandad's t-shirt, surrounded by palm trees and blue squiggle waves. He hadn't been, a friend of his had, and I think it was the original 'My friend went to Hamilton Island and all I got was this lousy t-shit' t-shirt, before that slogan was coined, but the point is that this was the first luxury island resort I'd heard about.

Then it was the 80s when Bond owned Queensland and my Dad talked about it being a 'banana republic', and I had trouble getting my head around the idea of a 'holiday island', but from the holiday brochure Grandad got out I saw an ocean sparkling like layered cellophane and an island that looked like it had been made out of balls of bright green crepe paper. The sand was practically white - which was a bit of a shock too, I always drew my sand with yellow crayon - and all the people in the photos looked bronzed, long limbed, slightly shiny and rich. The women also wore bright coloured eye shadow but that wasn't anything to do with the island per say. There were photos of koalas in trees and of people water skiing and messing around on the beach, underwater shots that made my eyes bulge, and romantic photos of couples wandering lovely beaches in the evenings, or swinging in hammocks holding complicated jungle-esque drinks that even then I knew to be cocktails - the height of wealthy-cool for me. I'm pretty sure this was the first time I'd ever seen an infinity pool as well.

I was also told that it was expensive, but that could have been just to put me off, these days it doesn't look to be too outrageous and there seem to be several different accommodation options, not just the ritzy hotels I saw in that brochure. Most memorably, both then and now, is the island's proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, the rest is a bit of a pretty-dream-blur of generic tropical perfection – but then that's what you want from a tropical island – a tropical island!

On the practical side this is the second largest island in the Whitsundays, and the only one with an airport big enough to deal with commercial aircraft. It's also got a ferry service, but that's where the transport options end – if you want to get around on the island you have to rent a golf buggy from the Oatley family who pretty much own the whole island – or at least have a stake in most of the local going concerns.

Written by  Kat Mackintosh.

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