The Whitsundays, QLD
Welcome to The Whitsundays – one of nature’s most remarkable gifts, blessed with the breathtaking beauty of the Great Barrier Reef along with literally hundreds of tropical islands and some of the Worlds most beautiful golden beaches.
For visitors this means that plenty of activities abound from beach games at island resorts and championship golf courses with a view, to the buzzing nightlife in the coastal town of Airlie Beach.
Choose to sail in the blue calm waters, water ski, parasail, camp or enjoy the many facilities of a luxury resort. Nature’s tropical selection of island and coastal delights awaits you.
Welcome to Destination Paradise – the islands, the waterways and the coast – there are so many holiday temptations in the Whitsundays.
- Brampton Island
- Daydream Island
- Hamilton Island
- Hayman Island
- Lindeman Island
- Long Island
- South Molle Island
You can skipper your own vessel, go sailing for the day, snorkel and scuba dive at one of the most widely recognised dive destinations in Australia, fish for Coral Trout or the legendary Black Marlin, water ski, explore rainforests, go horse riding, be pampered in a luxury resort or party the night away in Airlie Beach. The choice is yours – limited only by your imagination.
This tropical sub-rainforest region is around 1,125 kilometres north of Brisbane, or 650 kilometres south of Cairns. The Cumberland and Northumberland Island groups, commonly called the Whitsunday Islands, form the largest offshore island chain on Australia’s east coast and provide a magical holiday escape with something for everyone.
Sail in sheltered waters
The Whitsundays are one of the world’s best year-round aquatic playgrounds. The calm and protected waters of the Whitsundays are nothing short of magical and offer some of the best sailing waters in the world.
Here is the perfect opportunity to skipper your own yacht or cruiser – even if you have never sailed before. Fully qualified staff will brief you on sailing and send you on your way. They’ll help you design possible itineraries, and direct you on anchorages, tides, weather and so on to ensure that you get the most out of your bareboat holiday.
For those not so confident behind the helm of a yacht then a skipper can be organised for you until you are ready to take over. Or you can charter a trained crew and let them do the work for you. Vessels range from Maxi Racers to catamarans of all sizes.
Want to meet new people? Board a fully crewed overnight charter boat and have the time of your life. Day sailing trips are also available.
What to do once you’re out in these perfect, crystal blue waters? Try snorkelling, swimming, parasailing or scuba diving. Or maybe just laze around the deck with a book and a cool drink. You can also tour some of the Whitsundays’ 74 islands. Only eight of these contain holiday resorts offering everything from wilderness to five star luxury. The rest are uninhabited. Make sure you cruise by Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. It features a seven kilometre stretch of pure white silica sand and is one of the most photographed beaches in the world.
The Whitsundays describes 74 islands and the Queensland mainland coast from Mackay to Townsville. The climate is warm all year around, with an average temperature of 27.4 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit). The days are long and leisurely with an average of eight-and-a-half hours of sunlight to each day.
The idyllic scene is set; the tough part is deciding where in paradise to begin.
The coastal centre is Airlie Beach, a cosmopolitan village that offers a good base to access the islands, entertainment, community markets, and regular jazz at the local club. From Airlie, you can take a series of day trips or larger cruises around the islands, or head for a longer island stay.
Most of the islands in the Whitsundays are uninhabited and many are national parks. Seven islands hold resorts, of varying accommodation standards. You can explore the others by boat, either skippered or on your own.
The islands include spectacular Whitsunday Island, Whitehaven, with white, soft sand, Daydream, Hook, Lindeman Island, Long Island, dreamy South Molle and Brampton Island. Hamilton Island, with its five-star resort, is the scene for Hamilton Island Race week every year.
See some of the highlights of Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour and the Whitsunday Islands in the short video below (duration: around 5 minutes).
The pleasures of these tropical islands are many. Take a reef trip, dive, snorkel, swim, fish, take a satisfying, long trek in the lush, green rainforests, or admire coral through a glass-bottomed boat. From July to September, you can catch glimpses of humpback whales on their annual pilgrimage.
Diving the coral depths
There are more than 1,000 islands in the Great Barrier Reef – not to mention the 70-plus islands in the Whitsundays – making it almost perfect for the keen diver and sailor. The water around Great Barrier Reef islands fulfils all your fantasies – warm, crystal blue, and clear enough to see every subtle colour on coral or a fish’s tail.
Not surprisingly, certain islands have become meccas for scuba-divers all over the world. Dive sites are sprinkled up and down the Queensland coast, and diving operations are concentrated in mainland towns like Airlie Beach, Mission Beach, half-way between Cairns and Townsville, and Port Douglas.
It is the easiest thing to go on a diving tour, whether you are experienced, intermediate or a beginner. Qualified divers are waiting to coax you into the crystal-clear waters all year round. You can choose the length of your diving trip. Charter a boat and take a day trip from the mainland, or join a longer diving trip that weaves in and out of the islands. Or, make diving part of your stay at one of the reef islands.
Some of the best scuba-diving in the world is to be had amid the rich marine ecology at Lady Elliott Island, off Bundaberg, where visibility regularly exceeds 20 metres. Whitsunday Island is a beautiful place to dive or even just snorkel. You can push off the beach at Whitehaven and be surrounded by clouds of unafraid marine-life in the calm, clear waters. Lizard Island is also renowned for great diving and snorkelling.
Nearest Airport: Proserpine
The Whitsundays Destinations
- Bush Walking
- National Park