The Whitsunday Islands are a collection of islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
All of the islands are situated between Bowen and Mackay and are centered around Whitsunday Island.
The islands occupy at beautiful location in very close proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, which is one of the major attractions for visitors to the islands.
There are around 74 islands in the Whitsunday group, many of which are developed to a certain extent to at least accommodate tourism of various sorts to the area.
Whitsunday Islands: What to Do
The Whitsundays provide an endless list of possible activities for visitors. Given their beautiful location, the Whitsundays are known for a number of wonderful beaches.
he most famous of which is Whitehaven Beach, located on Whitsunday Island. The most photographed beach in Australia, and the winner of the Pacific’s Best Beach Award 2015 by the TripAdvisor Traveller’s Choice Awards, Whitehaven Beach will truly take your breath away.
Stretching for over seven kilometres, Whitehaven Beach provides some of the most stunning scenery in Australia.
Head to Hill Inlet on the northern boundary of the beach to see a stunning inlet where the tide beautifully swirls the white sand with the bright turquoise water, creating an constantly changing tropical beach view.
Take a trip up to the lookout at Tongue Point to see a wonderful elevated view of the coastline that makes up Whitehaven Beach.
Likewise, boaters will find anchoring in Tongue Bay to be provide wonderful views of the coastline as well as calm waters.
There are a variety of cruises, and trips to Whitehaven beach that will allow visitors to truly enjoy its beauty.
Additionally, campers can book a national park campsite and even camp on the southern edge of the beach. If you are visiting the Whitsundays, you have to make a trip to Whitehaven Beach.
Whitehaven Beach isn’t the only beach worth visiting in the Whitsundays. Each island as well as a number of locations along the Whitsunday coastline on the mainland, has its own wonderful beaches, that are sure to meet your needs if you are looking for a wonderful beach day.
Whether you want to just relax in the warm white sand, play beach games, or adventure out in the water on a snorkeling, diving, or fishing trip, the beaches and coastlines in the Whitsundays never fail to entertain.
The Whitsundays are also famous for their sailing holidays. With beautiful, calm water, thanks to the Great Barrier Reef, which protects the region from ocean swells, great weather, and a number of small islands to weave in and around, it is the perfect location for a relaxing sailing trip.
If you are an experienced sailor, you can plan your own trip and navigate your own path around the islands.
You can also book yourself a crewed charter and be as involved in the navigation as you want.
If you really just want to relax and take it all in, you can enjoy a cruise on a luxury yacht where the hardest thing you will have to do is decide where you want to lounge while you take in the views.
Sailing the Whitsundays is a fantastic way to experience the area from a different perspective and in a more private setting.
One would be remiss to discuss the Whitsundays without talking about the Great Barrier Reef. Listed as a World Heritage Site and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier Reef stretches over 2,000 kilometres, making it the largest natural structure in the world.
The Whitsunday Islands National Park are the closest point in Queensland to the Great Barrier Reef, making it the perfect place from which to launch your reef adventure.
There are a number of different tours, trips, and adventures, either below the surface, on the surface, or from the air, that launch from various Whitsunday islands that allow visitors to see, experience, and explore the reef and everything it has to offer.
In addition to its beauty as a natural structure, the reef serves as the home to over 1,625 species of fish, 215 species of bird, six of the world’s seven species of sea turtle, 30 species of whale and dolphin, and 133 species of shark and ray. The Great Barrier Reef is a must see.
The Whitsundays are also regarded as a scuba diving mecca. In addition to the Great Barrier Reef, many of the islands have smaller fringing reefs right offshore, allowing visitors to simply dive in right outside their back doors and find interesting marine life to observe.
There are also a number of iconic sites in the Whitsundays, such as Blue Pearl Bay, Black Island, the Stepping Stones, and the Cathedral that cement the area’s reputation as a world class dive region.
Whether you are a novice or a master, there are dive sites for you in the Whitsundays.
Even if you are hoping to learn and become certified, there are a number of settings in which you can gain experience from certified instructors in the Whitsundays, including at a legitimate dive school at Airlie Beach.
Of course, what would any vacation destination be without places to pamper yourself and indulge in some spa treatments, shopping, and good food.
Many of the islands have spas that offer any range of treatments that are sure to relax, rejuvenate, and please.
Additionally, the region offers some excellent shopping and dining.
Whether you are looking for designer shops, boutiques, gift shops, or markets, the Whitsunday Islands has you covered.
Likewise, the islands offer everything from fine-dining, to basic and affordable cafes and eateries.
Airlie Beach is considered the main hub for shopping, dining, and nightlife, making it the perfect place to start, or finish, your Whitsunday adventure.
Whitsunday Islands: Where to Stay
Between the Whitsunday coastline and all the islands, there is not shortage of options for visitors to the island.
Whether you are looking for an luxurious stay at a five-star resort, a comfortable hotel, an eco-resort, a motel, a beautiful campground, a quaint bed and breakfast, an affordable backpacker’s hostel, or anything else, there is something for you in the Whitsundays.
How to Get There
The Whitsundays are very accessible. If you are planning on traveling from abroad or via air, it is recommended you fly into Sydney, Cairns, Brisbane, or Melbourne.
From there, there are connections to the two airports in the Whitsunday Region, the Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island, and the Whitsunday Coast Airport in Prosperine, about 25 minutes from Airlie Beach.
If you will be driving or taking a train, you will want to travel to Airlie Beach, from which there are a variety of ferry services that will take you to the various islands.
Likewise you can charter private yacht or seaplane transfers from the Whitsunday Coast.