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Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited island of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland, Australia. It is positioned approximately 887 kilometres (551 mi) north of Brisbane and 512 kilometres (318 mi) south of Cairns. It is also the only island in the Great Barrier Reef with its own commercial airport, with short direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns. Like most in the Whitsunday group, Hamilton Island was formed as sea levels rose which created numerous drowned mountains that are situated close to the east coast of Queensland. == At the 2011 Australian Census, the island recorded a population of 1,208 people. Hamilton Island is a popular tourist destination all year round. In late August, the island plays host to its annual Hamilton Island Race Week yachting festival, in which more than 250 yachts from across Australia and New Zealand gather for a week of races around the Whitsunday Islands. This is only one of many events hosted on the island. Hamilton Island has won multiple awards including the Australian Traveller 'Most Desirable Island Escape' Award in 2015.