Hamilton Island (Queensland)
Hamilton Island marina, 2008
|Area||5 km2 (1.9 sq mi)|
|LGA||Whitsunday Regional Council|
|Population||1347  (as of 2006)|
Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia. Hamilton Island, like most in the Whitsunday group, was formed as sea levels rose creating numerous drowned mountains that are situated close to the east coast of Queensland, Australia. The island is a popular tourist destination and was featured in the successful "Best Job In The World" promotion.
In late August the island plays host to its annual Hamilton Island Race Week yachting festival, in which more than 150 yachts from across Australia and New Zealand gather for a week of races around the islands. 'Whitehaven Day' is when the yachts descend upon Whitehaven beach for a big beach party. However this is only one of many festivals hosted on the island.
The island was purchased in 1975 by Keith Williams and Bryan Byrt, and in 1978 Keith Williams commenced construction of Hamilton Island Harbour and the resort complex shortly after. The resort opened in phases between 1982 and 1984. In 1985, a fire destroyed most of the central portion of the resort complex, which was completely rebuilt by 1986. The current Whitsunday Holiday Apartments opened in 1986 followed by the current Reefview Hotel in 1990. In 1992, the resort was placed in receivership and between 1995 and 2003 it was owned by BT Australia and managed by Holiday Inn for a portion of that time. In 1999, the five-star Beach Club opened. In 2003, the Oatley family acquired the resort and expanded developments to include an expanded Marina precinct, a yacht club and a luxury resort known as qualia which opened in 2007-8.
Unlike most islands off the east coast of Australia, Hamilton Island is used almost exclusively for tourism. However the island is catering for a growing number of residents, both employees of the various businesses on the island and also those people choosing to retire and enjoy the lifestyle. The island is on long term lease from the Commonwealth Government by the Oatley family. The Oatleys own and run Hamilton Island Enterprises which operates the majority of accommodation and businesses on the island.
Hamilton Island Airport is the only airport in the Whitsunday Islands that is big enough to cater for larger commercial aircraft. Hamilton Island is also catered for by several ferry services, which can only carry passengers. Mainland motor vehicles are prohibited on the island with the exception of those for tradespeople and island public transport. Private transport needs are mostly served by a fleet of golf buggies, available to tourists for rent and are included as part of some accommodation packages. A public shuttle bus operates on the island serving major points of interests and accommodation sites.
Visitors can catch glimpses of migrating whales as they make their way through the warm waters of the Whitsundays around July–September each year.
In 2009, Tourism Queensland promoted the Great Barrier Reef as a global tourism destination with a website encouraging people worldwide to apply for "The Best Job In The World:", to be a "Caretaker of the Islands" to "house-sit" the islands of the Great Barrier Reef for half a year, based on Hamilton Island.
In 2009 there are two key infrastructure and tourism developments completed for the resort. The Hamilton Island Yacht Club was officially opened by (now former) Queensland Premier Anna Bligh during Hamilton Island Race Week and was completed in late 2009, and the Hamilton Island Golf Club is new Championship resort course which opened in August 2009. The 18 hole course on neighbouring Dent Island measures 6,715 yards/6,140 metres and is billed as the only championship island golf course in Australia.
35th America's Cup Challenge
October 1, 2013 - The Hamilton Island Yacht Club was confirmed as the "Challenger of Record" for the 35th America's Cup. Only moments after the win by USA team Oracle, Hamilton Island Yacht Club (HIYC) issued it's challenge for the 35th America’s Cup.
The HIYC challenge has been accepted by the Golden Gate Yacht Club, which remains the Defender and Trustee of the world’s oldest international sporting trophy. Australian billionaire Bob Oatley was said to be financially backing the Hamilton Island Yacht Club as the Challenger of Record for the 35th America's Cup.
GGYC and HIYC expect to have a Protocol Governing the 35th America’s Cup, including dates, venue, boats and other details, agreed and published in the first few months of 2014.
For three decades HIYC has run the "Audi Hamilton Island Race Week", which has become the largest annual regatta in Australia.
HIYC is led by sailing legend Bob Oatley, whose series of yachts named Wild Oats have dominated ocean racing in Australia for years, including having won six of the last eight Sydney-Hobart races. An Australian team led by Mr. Oatley won the last Admiral’s Cup, widely regarded as the world’s top prize in ocean racing.
The challenge was filed by Mr. Oatley and his son, Sandy, on behalf of HIYC shortly after ORACLE TEAM USA won the thrilling deciding final race in the 34th America’s Cup against Emirates Team New Zealand on San Francisco Bay on September 25th.
Annual Sporting Events
- Hamilton Island Triathlon
- Hamilton Island Race Week (Sailing)
- Hamilton Island Cup (Outrigger Canoe Racing)
- Hilly Half Marathon (Cross Country Running)
Hamilton Island was the first stop for Oprah Winfrey on her Ultimate Australian Adventure in December 2010. During her stay on Hamilton Island Oprah and 93 of her fans went on an all expenses paid trip from Hamilton Island to the Great Barrier Reef and had a Barbecue reception on Whitehaven Beach hosted by celebrity chef Curtis Stone with entertainment provided by The Ten Tenors.
- "Hamilton Island (Urban Centre/Locality)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2009-01-15.
- Media backgrounder. Hamilton island Official Website, accessed 3 December 2009]
- The Best Job in the World website - Department of Tourism, Regional Development and Industry
- Best Job in the World
- BBC: Wanted: Paradise island 'caretaker'
- CNN: Life's a beach with dream Australian island job
- Hamilton Island Golf Club
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aXi4Hc4cLlg%7C Press conference
- John Stensholt (30 September 2013). "Bob Oatley funds Hamilton Island-based bid for America's Cup". BRW. Retrieved 1 October 2013.