We recently returned from a relaxing and wonderful babymoon at Hamilton Island which was a great way to celebrate/commiserate (haha) our last holiday as just the two of us. Whilst I originally had my heart set on a bigger trip overseas, a small week away was just what the doctor ordered. We spent 5 nights/6 days on Hamilton Island which was just enough time to see the sights, eat loads of amazing food and spend a fair amount of time relaxing!
How to Get There
The flight from Sydney to Hamilton Island takes 2.5 hours and Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar all fly to Hamilton Island on a daily basis. Make sure you provide your flight details to the hotel before you arrive, and they will greet you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel (the island is so small this takes only about 10 minute).
When to Go
I went on my babymoon at 6 months (24 weeks), which is towards the end of the second trimester and was the recommended time to travel. A lot of women prefer to take their babymoon closer to when the baby is due in the third trimester, however I was worried that a) I may go into labour early or have a complication or b) I’d be too tired and waddly to enjoy much. It’s worthwhile checking with the airline before you fly – when flying with Jetstar, you must carry a letter or certificate from your medical professional stating it is safe for you to fly if you are 28 weeks or more. It also depends on how far you are travelling, and whether you have a single or multiple pregnancy.
Where to Stay
Reef View Hotel
We stayed at the Reef View Hotel, which was one of the cheaper accommodation options, and loved every minute of it! The hotel overlooks Catseye Beach, is located only a 10 minute walk from the Marina and offers a free airport shuttle bus. Whilst the decor is a little dated, we loved the huge rooms and seats on the verandah to enjoy the view, the included buffet breakfast was delicious and filling and we got to take advantage of free watersports equipment hire. The bath tub was also a big bonus and I enjoyed soaking my sore, pregnant body in there as much as possible.
Beach Club is located across the road from the Reef View Hotel and is adults only – this definitely was appealing for our last holiday before bub! But it was a few hundred dollars more than Reef View per night, and our preferred dates were booked out so we had to give this one a miss. Beach Club also offers direct access onto their reserved section of Catseye Beach and they have their own sun lounges for guests only.
Qualia is a world-class luxury resort with a luxurious price tag to match (the basic rooms go from $1300/night) and I couldn’t bring myself to part with that amount of money before we start the expensive process of raising a child. However, if your budget allows, the resort sounds like heaven on earth. Qualia is located away from the other properties, near One Tree Hill, and each pavilion is nestled into the bush with water views. There is champagne on arrival, private infinity edge plunge pools and you get your own private golf buggy to drive around the island for the duration of your stay.
Where to Eat
Manta Ray is located by the marina and offers a casual and relaxed atmosphere for lunch and dinner. They also do takeaway pizza delivery service from 6pm until 9pm if you can’t be bothered to leave your hotel! There are many fancy and expensive restaurants on the island and we enjoyed the comparatively cheap and simple meal of pizza and salad. I recommend booking ahead (they take bookings online and over the phone) as we had to wait 20-30 mins for a table.
Another cheap and cheerful option on the island is the Marina Tavern. They offer pub-style food classics and are open for lunch and dinner. This is a no-frills place and doesn’t take bookings, but is a great place to unwind with a snack and a drink after a busy day of sightseeing.
Coca Chu, an Asian fusion restaurant, was one of my favourite places to eat on the island. We had daikon and mushroom cake and salt and pepper cuttlefish to start, Sichuan duck for our main course and banana and caramelised white chocolate spring rolls for dessert. They are open for dinner only and bookings are highly recommended.
Pool Terrace was our hotel restaurant, and we enjoyed the buffet breakfast there daily. I avoided the pre-cooked eggs in the bain-maries and got the chef to cook me a well done omelette every morning which I highly recommend to any pregnant ladies nervous about getting sick from undercooked eggs. I also had a quick burger at the restaurant before we flew home (no one wants to deal with a hangry pregnant lady on a plane!) and it was pretty average so I wouldn’t prioritise this restaurant over the others.
Tako is a casual Mexican restaurant (apparently with a Japanese fusion-twist, which I didn’t really get) that gets very busy, very early. We got there at 6pm and got a table straight away, but within 30 mins the queue was out the door. You can only book for 10 diners or more, so get there early or be prepared to wait. We enjoyed corn chips with various salsas to start and a chorizo quesadilla which I wish was bigger! For main course we had the 300g slow cooked Angus beef flank served with a red cabbage relish which came with tortillas. Dessert was my favourite (of course) and was Churros de desayuno – Mexican dough sticks served with chocolate sauce and caramelised condensed milk.
We had a delightful meal at Romano’s which offers seafood-focused Italian cuisine, but it was so dark in the restaurant I didn’t even bother to take photos. We had the house made focaccia with confit garlic and rosemary to start whilst we enjoyed a drink and waited for our table. I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry so I got the saffron and parmesan risotto with wild mushroom ragù which was more than enough, and Zoltan wolfed down the rolled slow roasted pork belly, braised cabbage and apples, which came with parmesan polenta.
Beach Club Restaurant
The restaurant at the Beach Club hotel is pretty expensive, and I saved this meal for our last night on the island. There are 2 options for dinner which are the 3 course a la carte menu which costs $95 and the 5 course tasting menu which will set you back $125. I enjoyed a mojito-inspired mocktail to start, followed by pork belly for my entree and lamb for my main. My favourite dish was the whipped vanilla bean cheesecake – it was so light and fluffy and just sweet enough.
What to Do
Go for a hike
Passage Peak is a challenging 5km hike, but there are smaller, easier walks dotted around Hamilton Island. We did the Flat Top Hill Lookout walk from the Resort Trail Entrance which took around 30 mins. I consider myself relatively fit, but this uphill walk in the heat really took it out of me and I spent hours recovering afterwards! So my advice to any fellow pregnant ladies is due the walk super early in the day before it heats up, and force yourself to do it as a slower pace than you are used to. The view was definitely worth the effort though!
Watch the Sunset at One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill is easily accessible by the free shuttle buses, golf buggy, or by walking which is what we did. Make sure you treat yourself to a mocktail at the top!
We spent a lot of time on this gorgeous beach, relaxing on one of the many deck chairs with a book, napping, and trying out all the watersports! We tried kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, windsurfing on a catamaran and snorkelling. All of this equipment was provided free of charge as we were guests at the Reef View Hotel. I also learnt the hard way that you get seasick much more easily when pregnant, and the first time we were on the catamaran I got quite ill as I was lying down. The second time I made sure to sit up and stare at the horizon as much as possible and felt much better.
Take a snorkelling day trip
We did a half day snorkelling trip around the Whitsunday Islands to Butterfly Bay with Explore Hamilton Island which was a great way to see the Great Barrier Reef.
Take a day trip to Whitehaven Beach
We also booked our half day Whitehaven Beach tour with Explore Hamilton Island and couldn’t fault this tour either. Whitehaven Beach is unmissable in my opinion with some of the whitest sand in Australia and clear turquoise waters.
Get a pregnancy massage
I booked in for a pregnancy massage at Spa Wumurdaylin and it was SUCH a treat. At $145 for an hour it was definitely not cheap, but worth every penny. Funnily enough one of my favourite parts of the massage was being able to lie on my stomach (they had a special pregnancy pillow with a hole for your tummy) and I didn’t realise how much I missed lying face first over the past 6 months!
Check out one of the many pools on Hamilton Island
There are numerous pools dotted around Hamilton Island which you can use including the Reef View Hotel pool, Sails Pool and Bougainvillea Pool. My favourite was the Sails Pool (pictured in both photos below) as it was huge, right by the beach and always had deck chairs available.
I hope this post has inspired you to book a trip to Hamilton Island ASAP – babymoon or not! We had such an amazing time that I know we’ll be back soon as a family of 3.