Holidaying on Hamilton Island what are the best gluten free options?

Travelling with food intolerances can be challenging and its often a good plan to have some self catering options. Recently we were at Hamilton Island and had decided to stay at the lovely hotel, Beach Club, which is an adults only venue. The hotel is set on Catseye Beach and the rooms look out onto the beach and either have external balconies on the first floor or verandahs on the ground floor. We were in the fortunate position of being able to walk from our verandah to the pool or the beach and having the verandah to read, sunbathe or just relax.

Staying at Beach Club does mean eating out three meals from the range of options available on the Island. The in house dining is very accomodating of gluten free and there were great options on the breakfast menu, as well as light lunch options with sandwhiches on gluten free toast or a ceasar salad without croutons. The dinner menu was also sufficiently broad and we ate in the restaurant for dinner on three nights. They were kind enough to swap out oysters three ways from the degustation menu as we just won’t eat them and subbed another entree. The degustation menu included an yuzu carrot sorbet as a palate cleanser which was delicious. Yuzu is a type of citrus and it blended well with the carrots. The menu is changed every few weeks however the barramundi with sauce vierge was delicious and the universal poll from the infinity pool was that it was the best option on the menu.

Other lunch options on the island are very limited if you are gluten free. The bakery and fish and chip shop do not really offer any suitable options and only the tavern opens consistently for lunch. The main resort has a lunch venue called Sails however many of the options are fried and therefore the risk of cross contamination is quite high for those who are gluten sensitive. The only suitable option was a pumpkin and quinoa salad but that makes for a fairly boring lunch option.

The IGA on the island does have a reasonable deli section with prawns, cheese, cold cuts , olives and a few easy vegetable options (mini cucumbers and capsicums) as well as a general supermarket option. It was quite easy to put a grazing platter together and this was a reliable gluten free option.

The restaurants on the Island have increased in options since our first trip in 2021. For a start more of them had re-opened including Mariners, a seafood restaurant, Bommie restaurant , the yacht club’s premium restaurant in addition to the existing venues such as Coca Chu, Manta Ray, the Clubhouse (on Dent island golf course) and Romano’s.

Bommie restaurant is based in the yacht club which is at one end of the marina and literally shaped like a boat. The internal decor was also quite nautical. The menu was a minimum of three courses for $130 with a few extras available and there was the option of a degustation menu as well. Since we had already opted for the degustation the first night at Beach Club we really weren’t up to it and found three courses quite adequate. The restaurant was the only one on the island that baked a gluten free bread in a mini loaf shape, which was served with dukkah and olive oil before the entree. The entrees involved a choice of four dishes and so between the two nights we tried the kingfish sashimi wrapped in nori, the cauliflower roulade with Spanish ham and a carpaccio. They were all delicious although I did think the roulade could have had some stronger accompaniments as a contrast. With the main they had an option of scampi as an addition which went surprisingly well with the lamb and the market fish. Actually I would have happily eaten a platter of the scampi!

The Clubhouse on Dent Island was a lovely day trip combined with a two course lunch. There is a short boat trip across the passage followed by an optional buggy tour of the golf course. This is the best way to see the course and was a lot of fun as the paths were quite steep. The clubhouse has wonderful views over the Whitsundays and Passage Peak, apparently during whale season its also a great viewing spot. The food is lovely and most dishes, excluding the pasta, were able to be made gluten free. It was impressive that with the market fish, which was a freshly caught barramundi they served seared scallops as the accompaniment was usually crab coquette which couldn’t be made gluten free. In the unlikely event you have room for dessert we really enjoyed the trio of sorbets with lychee, cherry and blood orange.

Being on an island always makes me crave a good seafood platter. Mariners have one as a special and made it gluten free which I think was a better option. The prawns and the Balmain bugs were delicious. The platter included fresh fish, salmon tartare , octopus and calamari. The fries are not gluten free so there was a little extra salad on the platter which was a good alternative as the serving size was quite large.

Another popular option on the marina was Romano’s who offered gluten free pasta as well as a number of other gluten and dairy free options. The prawn and crab meat tagliatelle (or in my case farafalle) was very tasty with a seafood and wine broth . We also enjoyed the confit duck and mushroom risotto which was not only generously sized and very flavoursome. Romano’s like many of the restaurants requires pre booking, however this venue offers some casual dining at the bar and at a few outside tables.

One of the favourite restaurants on our last stay was Coca Chu. The restaurant is in a separate building overlooking one end of Catseye beach and has a busy family restaurant vibe with large shared tables in the centre, but quieter tables on the verandah with a beach view. The food is excellent and we can recommend the betel leaf prawn as well as the salt and pepper squid. A blend of Australian and Asian flavours there are some Thai curries, a delicious sesame chicken and snake bean stir fry, crispy duck with a plum sauce and a crispy barramundi with nahm jim.

Ideally if you are booking a trip make sure you prebook restaurants well in advance. Popular options are likely to be booked out early. You can book on this link Hamilton island restaurants and bookings.

For more travel inspiration have a look at my other travel blogs Finding the best Gluten Free options on the North Coast of NSW , A tea lovers guide to the Blue Mountains and Gluten free Canberra .

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