The free bus can take you anywhere on Hamilton Island. Our family used this all the time and we didn't need a golf buggy... They are too expensive! We went to One Tree Hill every day and never got tired of the beautiful view
When taking a trip out to the Great Barrier Reef (which was absolutely sensational) make sure you take sea sick tablets.
We went with the Reefworld people and they were fantastic, they sold tablets on the boat (unfortunately they don't work for everyone). We went a few days after the Tsunami and obviously the waters were rather choppy, many people on our boat were ill (about 20). The staff ran around providing sick bags and cold cloths for peoples heads, they were great but if you can avoid it, take the tablets.
If you are like me and the tablets don't work all i can say is that the Barrier reef is so beautiful that despite how sick i was, i would still do it again.
There are 3 different colour coded Island Shuttle busses running most of the day and night, and all of them are FREE!!!! How good is that!! The most commonly used one is the Green Shuttle and it does a loop all day long in 15 minute intervals from the Whitsunday Apartments on Resort Drive as far as the Marina Tavern at the Marina. This is the shuttle to catch if you just want to go down to the Marina for dinner. The other shuttles are orange or purple and they will take you further afield, as far as the Golf driving range in the south to Coral Avenue on the northern most tip of the Island. The orange and purple shuttle service do the same route, just going in opposite directions and they pick up every 30 minutes.
We used the green shuttle every day, as its a great cheap alternative to hiring a golf buggy, which is your only other way around the island, apart from walking!
There are 2 ways to get to Hamilton Island. You can fly direct into Hamilton Island, or come in via ferry from the mainland - that is from either Shute Harbour or Able Point Marina at Airlie Beach - see my Airlie Beach page for info on transfers from Shute Harbour.
We have done both... and either way is great!! :o)
It is a good idea to split your Whitsunday trip into staying partly on Hamilton Island and partly at Airlie Beach on the mainland. That way, you get the best of both worlds and experience an amazing adventure with so much to see & do!!
Jetstar have a regular service direct to Hamilton Island from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and quite often have great deals. Check out their site below.
A great way to see the Whitsunday Islands is on a cruise, you have the opportunity to spend a day on some of the islands as well as cruising past many of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays group. Whilst we were on Hamilton Island we saw a very large cruise boat anchored offshore for several days.
The free bus service is excellent and has two routes, one bus gets you to most major destinations including the walking and hiking tracks. This route takes 33 minutes to complete the round trip every 33 minutes. We took it early on during our holiday and it gave us a good knowledge of where most attractions were located and the distances should we decide to walk somewhere. The other bus service runs from the marina/restaurant area to the various resort accommodation locations.
We used the service regularly, particularly in the evening to return to our accommodation after dining at the marina, it saved us having to walk up the huge hill. For those who do not want the expense of hiring a buggy this bus service is ideal.
There are over 600 "Buggies" for rental on Hamilton Island and although you can see the island easily using the local bus service or walking if you are fit it is nice to have a "Buggy" for one day, it helps you get to those far off places, to go over the island for that last time, and most importantly it is fun.
Hire charges are approximately Au$90 for a 24 hour period, however you can hire for shorter and longer periods. The Hire Office is close to the central Administration Office near the Main Pool.
By far the easiest way to get to Hamilton Island is to fly straight there! Virgin Blue offer flights from Brisbane - or with a connection in Brisbane from Sydney and you can also fly on Jetstar direct from Sydney. There is a bit of competition on the route, when I looked you could score one-way fares for as low as $150 each way with either airline.
Not a bad start to your holiday - flying straight into the resort, jumping on a bus and hitting the beach within an hour! For information on fares and schedules, check out http://www.jetstar.com.au or http://www.virginblue.com.au
It may also be worth keeping an eye out in the papers on on these airline's websites as they quite often offer very good package deals with airfares, accommodation (and often meals) all rolled into one.
The only way to travel on the island is via shuttle which starts early evening OR by buggy (yep, just like the ones you use for golf!). Hire is around $80 a day and truth be known, they are not really necessary.
You require an international or Australian licence to drive a buggy.
Walking to the Marina (where most of the shops and nightlife is located) only takes a few minutes and all of the pools and bars are a short walk away.
Do yourself a favour and only hire a buggy for a half day or two - that way you can see a bit of the outer island, such as the golf course and the lookout but don't get conned into thinking you need it each and every day to get around!
The most popular form of travel around Hamilton Island is the golf buggy - you will see then everywhere, parked outside of accommodation, along the paths by the pool, and most scarily tearing along the roads at 10pm at night with drivers "well-lubricated" by a few drinks over dinner!!
You can hire then at the resort complex and there seems to be plenty of space to leave them. While the would be good if you were planning to do lots of activiteis like golf driving, target shooting or the wire-flyer which are on the opposite end of the resprt from the accommodation, I think they would be a bit redundant for just getting between you room and the beach or pool.
On the island there are a number of free bus services. They are clearly marked in colours. Hop on and off at your leasure.
They don't have cars on Hamilton. Just these little golf buggy thingys.
Cute hey (the buggy that is haha).
Getting around the Island is easy with the hire of a golf buggy. It's easy to hire, just bill it to your room. Hire for a few hours or all day.