Magical and glittering like jewels on a vast cerulean cape, The Whitsundays are among Australia’s most iconic and prized destinations. A group of 74 islands that sits right at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, The Whitsundays boasts one of the world’s best beaches and a host of water and land activities that will make you want to linger just a little bit longer.
Of the 74 islands only 8 are inhabited, the rest are like slices of private paradise with white-sand beaches and coral reefs teeming with marine life. It simply is the perfect place for a romantic getaway or a fun family vacation.
Fun In The Sun
There is plenty to do to keep you busy in The Whitsundays. From the land to the sea, activities and attractions abound, ensuring there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Sail to the pristine Whitehaven Beach, snorkel in secluded lagoons or take a flight over the iconic Heart Reef.
Another favourite activity in The Whitsundays is bareboating. Called “bare” because the boat doesn’t come with a skipper or crew – you skipper the boat yourselves and go wherever you want. But if you’re inexperienced and just want to relax, you can hire a crew to take you around the islands in style.
Inland, the islands are bursting with outstanding natural beauty, including thundering waterfalls like Cedar Creek Falls, serene lakes, and caves adorned with age-old Aboriginal drawings. Hike through national parks and relax on the myriad of secluded beaches and hidden bays. If you prefer more action, head to the happy buzz of Airlie Beach township on the mainland. Whatever your fancy, The Whitsundays has plenty to offer.
A Feast Of Culinary Delights
Across The Whitsundays, you will find an exceptional range of cafés and restaurants, inspired by the wonderfully fresh, local produce on offer — with the most spectacular background — all the time. The perfect jump-off point to start your culinary journey is Airlie Beach on the mainland. Home to a plethora of dining options to suit every taste and budget, Airlie is a must-stop for foodies and gourmands. Remember to drop by the top restaurants here including Fish D’vine, Anchor Bar, and Fat Frog Beach Cafe.
Hamilton Island has the reputation for being the centre of fine wine and food across the islands, an accolade enhanced by playing host to the Great Barrier Feast series – billed as one of the top culinary events in Australia. Creating decadent and innovative food, set in the grounds of the prestigious Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Bommie Restaurant proudly wears the island’s fine-dining crown.
Place Of Tranquillity
There is something incredibly special about the tranquillity of The Whitsundays which allows you to leave the world far behind, slipping off into a realm of relaxation. Perhaps it’s the clear blue skies, the fresh ocean breeze, the spectacular vistas, or the soothing sounds of the sea. Whatever it is, a holiday destination like The Whitsundays is bound to offer more than just its natural charm to help you unwind.
The islands offer several highly luxurious day spas, where you can unwind in splendour. Spa Wumurdaylin on Hamilton Island defines the essence of pampering, where you choose from massages, body cocoon wraps or one of the alternative therapies on offer. For the ultimate in luxurious pampering Spa qualia’s signature massages, facials, and meditation pavilion are a must try.
Island Shopping And Leisure
Although the anticipation of sheer relaxation and amazing scenery may have initially tempted you to The Whitsundays, the throng of shopping and leisure opportunities will not leave you disappointed. For a lively, cosmopolitan experience, head to Airlie Beach, where you’ll find boutiques, souvenir shops, and beachfront markets stocked with arts, crafts, and fresh produce. Check the Saturday markets for more options and budget-friendly massages.
A short distance away, discover the region’s best-kept secret and take a tour of The Whitsunday Gold Coffee Plantation, not forgetting to bring home some award-winning coffee. Take up an on-island art class so you can capture the beauty of The Whitsundays yourself. Or, from Airlie take an hour drive to Bowen famous for its delicious mangoes. Make sure you stop at the Big Mango to get their popular mango sorbet or mango fudge to go.
Art And Culture
Unsurprisingly, the Whitsundays are culturally diverse, with deep indigenous roots and talented artists scattered across the islands, including potters, sculptors, photographers, and painters. One of the best ways to discover and immerse yourself in this cultural tradition is to follow the Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail and stop by the Ngaro Cultural Site at Nara Inlet on Hook Island.
The region is also home to writers’ festivals, musical events and the beautifully enthralling annual performance by the Australian Ballet, presented in the open-air on Hamilton Island. You could also time your vacation with the three-day Airlie Beach Music Festival and watch and rock along to more than 70 different bands.
Get Up Close & Personal With The Reef
A visit to The Whitsundays would not be complete without getting up close and personal with the world-famous Great Barrier Reef. Swim, snorkel, and dive with the colourful residents of the sea and the stunning corals of the reef. Some of the best spots in The Whitsundays include Blue Pearl Bay, Fairey Reef, Hook Island, Langford Island, and Border Island. If you’re the adventurous type, you can also try camping in the middle of the reef on a pontoon. It’s definitely something different.
Sleep In Luxe Island Accommodation
The Whitsundays offers a range of luxury resorts and hotels to suit every style and budget. All promise comfort, convenience, and top-notch services for visitors whether on holiday or business trip. We’ve rounded up a list of the best accommodation in The Whitsundays that makes an ideal base to explore its stunning natural attractions.
Yacht Club Villas
Hamilton Island, Queensland
Set on the scenic and serene Hamilton Island, Yacht Club Villas are luxurious waterfront private villas perfect for a family or group of friends.
Beach Club Hotel
Hamilton Island, Queensland
An idyllic couples retreat, Beach Club Hotel is a 57-room luxury property on Hamilton Island with direct access to the white-sands of Catseye Beach.
InterContinental Hayman Island Resort
Hayman Island, Queensland
Indulge in an iconic private island experience at InterContinental Hayman Island Resort, a stunning destination in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.