Hiring a car in Hamilton Island/Great Barrier Reef Airport
You cannot hire a car on Hamilton Island, the entire island is car free. You can however hire golf buggies on an hourly basis, or for a day at a time. If you do still want to hire a car to explore the mainland, the closest car hire companies are located in Proserpine Airport (PPP) that services the Whitsunday Islands as a whole. Avis, Budget, Europcar and Hertz car rental companies all operate out of PPP Airport.
You can generally find the standard 4 door sedans, as well as options for economy and premium sized cars, from compact hatchbacks to SUVs. Many of the cars offered at Australian rental companies will have an automatic transmission, though you will find if you opt for a manual drive, the hire costs are a little lower.
Leaving Hamilton Island Airport
Marina Drive takes you through to most of the resorts on the island. There is also a shuttle service that runs every 15-40 minutes in three differing routes around the island.
Driving on Hamilton Island
The rental golf buggies do not require training (though you do still need a license), and cruising around in the buggies is stress-free, safe and a lot of fun.
If you’re carrying a foreign license, Australia requires you to hold an International Driving Permit (IDP). Please make sure you carry your IDP and license with you when you are driving in Australia.
What can you see and do on Hamilton Island?
Hamilton Island is all about the outdoors, from the reef, to the beaches and the open sea, and becoming one with nature has never been so easy as it is here, on the largest of the Whitsunday Islands.
You cannot in all good conscience come to Hamilton Island and not spend time exploring one of the world’s natural wonders: the Great Barrier Reef. Larger than the Great Wall of China, the reef extends over 2,300km and is made up of over 3000 individual reef systems, all coming in riotous colours. Diving beneath the water’s surface will allow you to glimpse some of the thousands of species that call the rainbow reef home; such as sea turtle, snapper, clownfish, coral trout, as well as species that live a little further out, like dolphins and whales.
You can also tee off at the Hamilton Island Golf Club, top up your tan on one of the island’s stunning white-powder beaches, charter a boat to island hop along the Whitsundays, or take it out to sea for a day of fishing or whale watching.
If you’re seriously thinking of hiring a car to explore the mainland, you can strike out north for a real adventure and go on the Great Tropical Drive, which runs from Townsville to Cairns (or vice versa). You can gain an insight into just how much of the coast the Great Barrier Reef straddles. If you do drive to Cairns, driving a little further north will lead you to Port Douglas, and the other famed natural site of the Daintree Rainforest.
Please note all information is current as of November 2015.