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Hamilton Island is well known for its beaches, marina, restaurants and bars but did you know that there are a number of bushwalking trails that will get you to peaceful coves, deserted beaches and stunning viewpoints. This is the perfect experience to reconnect with nature and make you feel like you are a castaway on a deserted island. All this, not far from the resort area.
In fact, about half of Hamilton Island is not developed and there is plenty of space to get away from everything. If you plan a trip to Hamilton Island, do not forget to bring your bushwalking shoes!
The first hike that you might consider is Passage Peak which is the highest point on the Island. The view is fantastic, but it will get your heart pumping. This is most definitively the best sunrise spot. You will need to check the weather the day before for a clear day and start the trail when it is still dark. If this is what you intend on doing, do not forget your water bottle and your camera!
If you are up for a longer stroll, do the loop at the back of the island. This will take you to South East Head where you will find probably one of the most Instagram ready spots on the island. The vegetation changes and becomes a bit more arid, this area gets blown by heavy winds and salted by sea fog. No tick forest here but rather low vegetation which enables uninterrupted sea and island views. As you may know, the Whitsundays is blessed with 74 islands, and you can see a few from there. Pentecost Island was named by Captain Cook when he travelled in the area on the Endeavour. Also observable in the distance are the Linderman Islands group.
Less of a steep hill but still a healthy heart-pumping activity, take a right at Saddle Junction and head for Coral Cove or Escape Beach. Bring a pick nick and enjoy the secluded beaches all to yourself. Spend the afternoon splashing around, try the big swing and relax.
The loop will also bring you to the big chair, where you can be the king of the hill for a moment and admire the Whitsunday kingdom for an instant. Bring your imaginary crown and you will feel like the middle kingdom is all yours. The steep hills may bring you out your dream but worth the snaps.
If you decide to partake in any of those wonderful bushwalks, don’t forget to wear appropriate footwear, fill up your refillable water bottle, and wear reef-safe sunscreen if you are going to go for a dip in one of the secluded beaches. Don’t forget to leave only footsteps and take only photographs.
So, there it is, just one more good reason to plan a trip to Hamilton Island. I hope to see you soon in the Whitsundays. Until next time, travel safe and give a little bit of love to our planet.
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I think every Australian has a favorite beach…… From bringing back childhood memories to best surfing wave EVER in living memory, we all have a special one…… or two. And must admit that we definitely are the lucky country when we talk about beaches. From spectacular cliffs, roaring swells, white as milk sand, turquoise waters, the Australian beaches can be declined in many forms.
What is a “tropical” beach?
I have been lucky to visit and live near an incredible number of beaches in Australia and though I share a bit of my knowledge with you. I believe that there are some definite jewels out there that deserve your consideration when planning a trip in your own backyard. Whether you like a bit of luxury and action or deserted stretches of sand, there is something for everyone. There is quite a lot of variety, but what makes an amazing tropical beach? Well, in my mind, when I think about tropical beach, I think : • Blue water hues declined in rich shades of turquoise to deep blue; • White as milk to golden shades of sands; • Some unique character; • and green, lots of green….. with palm trees and tropical vegetation (dare I say, not sub-tropical – sorry Noosa, love you though….).
I think most beaches in Australia would qualify hands down for the first two or three criteria but the last one…. Greenery and topical vegetation….. that is a bit of a hard find in a country best known for its recurring droughts. To be honest, there are some amazing beaches with sand as white as snow and water as transparent as a glass but bare in vegetation….. I remember travelling in northern Western Australia, driving and driving in the red dessert and then boom! Suddenly, white dunes and the most amazing transparent water plus a stunning reef a few meters from the beach .
But near no vegetation. … green was not part of the local colour palette …. So although, one the most unique beach I ever been to…. I have not included it in this list…. Back to the main point….. amazing TROPICAL beaches, according to me (no affiliate links and photos from yours truly) !
1. Cape Tribulation (near Port Douglas, Queensland)
Green, green, and green. If you like lush jungles then you are in for a treat. The Daintree forest is the oldest remaining tropical forest in the world (yes older than the Amazon). It will satisfy your need for tropical green. Don’t miss the spectacular native fan palm which is uniquely Australian.
In fact, the Daintree forest is a World Heritage site and is home to incomparable flora and fauna – just like it’s neighbour, the Great Barrier or Reef. The mountain backdrop from the beach is stunning, the water is inviting and the sand is golden. Bonus,if you like kilometres of deserted beach, with not a soul in sight, then this location will make you as happy as Larry.
If you wish to visit, there is nothing like a sleep over in the jungle if you can. Otherwise, I recommend that you base yourself in Port Douglas (then you can also visit 4 Miles Beach and rent a car or hop on one of the local tours available). It is a long day driving and you will have to take the ferry across the Daintree River but, oh so worth it. I have to admit, when talking about best tropical Australian beach, I think this is it…
Yes! Palm Cove has palm trees. Ok, I have to say, palm trees, as we picture them, are not native to the area (well ,I will not get into a botanical debate here) but still….. We like the look. What I like about Palm Cove is that the numerous hotels, restaurants and shops are low key and the foreshore and buildings are well integrated. It creates quite a cosy and laid back atmosphere where you can sit in a terrace, sip a cocktail and overlook one of the finest beach in Australia. Also, Palm Covehas self-proclaimed itself spa capital of Australia, so you can enjoy a massage to the sound of the ocean….. Not bad, if you want to enjoy some luxury.
If you wish to go there, there are plenty of hotels and restaurants to choose from but it can be a bit expensive. If you need more accommodation choice, Cairns is not too far and you can rent acar and make it a day trip.
If you have time, you can rent a car and drive to Port Douglas. The picturesque winding road is an attraction by itself and you will find many look outs to stop at as well as beaches to discover on the way.
Also known for the Mindil Markets, which are the biggest food, arts and craft outdoor markets in the area. Join the locals, raid the food stalls and have a pick nick on the beach where you can admire the stunning sunset over the ocean horizon….. Just magical. During the day, when there is less people, you can enjoy the beach and the palm tree lined dunes.
Mindil Markets occur only during the dry season. There are plenty of hotels in Darwin and surrounds.
Catseye beach is the main beach on Hamilton Island. A family friendly, water sports lover, palm tree lined beach.
You can rent: paddle boards, kayaks, wind surf, little catamarans, snorkeling equipment for your joyful family entertainment or romantic getaway. If you are not keen on the ocean or have small children then there are swimming pools a few meters away with deck bars. From the beach, you can admire Whitsunday Island and the turquoise ocean. Turtles and Manta Rays are a frequent sight.
The view from the hotels rooms and apartments opposite the beach is phenomenal and honestly unbeatable.
Hamilton island is accessible by plane from major Australian cities or by ferry from Airlie Beach.
5. Mission Beach (Between Townsville and Cairns, Queensland)
Last but not least. A tranquil little coastal town where you can admire one of the strangest big birds on earth: The cassowary. It is a bizarre vulnerable species of fruit eating “emu “ or “ostrich” – like -stature, and it roams free in the area. Quite unique in the world.
The beach is an endless stretch of golden sand. If you like to walk and walk…. Just enjoy….. Peaceful and inimitable. Have a rest and enjoy the tropical greenery outlook from the beach. You will not be disappointed. Feel relaxed in a split second. Just walk and swim….
Best to drive there from Cairns or Townsville. Ideal to reconnect with nature.
When to go
As for most tropical areas, the climate is divided between the wet and dry season. Best time to visit is during the dry season which is April to October if you want to maximise your chances of pleasant weather and avoid stingers. There are still plenty of nice days during the wet season but you need to know that drenching rains are more frequent on the radar and that swimming is restricted to stinger nets and pools (a stinger suit is necessary otherwise).
Admittedly, during the wet, the weather report will tell you that there is a possibility of showers on most days…. A lot of times, it means a light and pleasantly refreshing shower in the evening but other times it will mean five days in a row of intense non-stop rain and involves flooding of major roads. Don’t be fooled. Check the amount of rain predicted to differentiate the two. I may suggest that if you go during the wet season, it is even more important to check the cancellation and re-scheduling policies of your airline and insurance company. Take an appropriate insurance if you need to and check the weather before you go. Cyclones do happen, and trust me you don’t want to be there when a big one hit. Avoid being disappointed and re-schedule instead. It sucks, but it’s a reminder that mother nature still has the upper hand……
On this note, I have been living in the tropics for many years and love it. Even the wet season….. You can still get stunning days.
Hope that you will consider my recommendations for your next trip and that you will share my love for Australian tropical beaches….
And if you end up deciding to go on a tropical trip, be prepared by downloading my PACKING CHECKLIST….. It is an interactive Excel spreadsheet that will allow you to plan your trip in the sun….
Here at Tropical Suitcase, we love tropical living and we invite you to join us , explore the world and plunge into your suitcase…… what is in it? You could be in for a surprise! Start by checking out our WEBSITE or visit us on FACEBOOK.
Go on find your favorite beach. Explore it and make sure you only leave steps in the sands and smiles on people’s face.