Set in the Great Barrier Reef amid the 74 islands of the Whitsunday group, Hamilton Island offers boating enthusiasts a holiday experience to rival all others. Spectacular cruising grounds, world-class facilities and a history of sailing and yachting events make Hamilton Island the ultimate location for private and charter boats.
Hamilton Harbour – Arrival and Orientation
Visiting vessels are based at the Marina Village inside a manmade harbour on Hamilton Island’s west coast. Access to the harbour is via Dent Passage, a small channel between Hamilton and Dent Islands. Fringing coral reefs necessitate careful navigation on approach. The harbour entrance is clearly defined by port and starboard beacons. These also keep boat traffic clear of the island’s jet airport, whose runway lies just to the south.
The proper procedure for docking is to contact Hamilton Island Marina over the phone prior to arrival. Ideally berths should be booked well in advance. Charter companies usually take care of reservations on behalf of their clients. Vessels may be asked to stand off the harbour entrance while a tender is launched to guide them in.
Hamilton Island Marina
Hamilton Island boasts a resort-style Marina Village, mixing maritime services with a range of holiday facilities designed to please everyone in the family or group. There are currently around 200 wet berths to accommodate various size vessels and a small number of swing moorings, located across the Dent Passage. For the price of a daily mooring fee visiting crews enjoy unrestricted access to island restaurants, bars, swimming pools, sporting services, shuttle buses and more.
Marine resources include a shipyard with hardstand, travelift, chandlery and on-site trades. Power, water and high-speed wireless Internet (Marinanet) are available at every berth. Laundry, shower and toilet amenities are located on shore. Within walking distance are a post office, bank, supermarket, newsagency, shops, eateries and various outlets for entertainment. The marina pontoons are not gated and therefore do not require a key.
Hamilton Island Yacht Club
New to the marina precinct are the Hamilton Island Yacht Club and adjoining luxury villas. The Yacht Club building sports an innovative roof design by Sydney-based architect Walter Barda. Though presently brown in colour, this copper crown, inspired by sailing silhouettes and resident oceanic life, will eventually patina to a naturally harmonious aquamarine.
The Yacht Club was officially opened in August 2009 to celebrate the start of the year’s Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Over the forthcoming years it is expected to become the island’s nautical hub and a centre for fine dining with bars, function rooms and services for members and guests.
Whitsunday Cruising Grounds and Charter Boat Holidays
Within two to three hours easy sailing distance are fabulous anchorages such as world-famous Whitehaven Beach. The Whitsunday region plays host to the largest bareboat charter fleet in the entire southern hemisphere. International charter specialists’ Sunsail have a base on Hamilton Island at the Marina Village. Sunsail offer self-skippered and fully crewed charters. These are commonly pre-booked although walk-ins are welcome too.
Most mainland-based charter companies can also accommodate guests wanting to begin or end their boat rental on Hamilton Island. Briefers and de-briefers are sent to meet clients to ensure their holiday goes smoothly. An extra provisioning service is usually available in advance of the charterer’s arrival. Boats for hire include monohulls, catamarans and power cruisers. Vessels range in size to suit differing group dynamics and budgets.
Hamilton Island Sailing Events
Held annually in August, the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week is a prestige yachting event attracting global attention. Though the IRC Grand Prix boats receive most media coverage the majority of entrants are actually in the cruising divisions. Participants receive a free marina berth for the duration of the regatta. Race Week is as much a social as a sailing event with a full program of off-water activities for the whole family to enjoy.