QueenslandThe Whitsundays Lying in the heart of one of our greatest national treasures, the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands are its crowning glory. These 74 tropical islands prove that the region’s beauty is just as rich above water as below it.
Treasured as one of the world's most beautiful destination getaways, the Whitsunday Islands are famous for their pure-white silica sand, secluded reefs and beaches, diverse wildlife and crystal-clear waters. Stunning views, secluded beaches, fringing reefs and distinctive hoop pines complete the spectacular island picture. Explore an underwater world of vibrant colour, snorkeling and diving with manta rays, fish and turtles in the fringing coral reefs of this Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Witness the awe-inspiring acrobatic displays of majestic humpback whales visiting the Whitsundays every year between May and September. Walk along the swirling, pure-white sands of world-famous Whitehaven Beach and see graceful migratory waders and seabirds visit the islands. Hike through enchanted forests of towering native hoop pines on the headlands and hillsides to spectacular views. Keep your eyes peeled for unadorned rock-wallabies foraging about the forest for food. Visit Hook Island's Nara Inlet and explore the ancient rock art and middens of Australia's earliest recorded Indigenous groups—the Ngaro People—who were seen by Captain James Cook during his exploration of the Whitsunday Passage. Stay overnight and wake to the sound of waves breaking on the shore, camping at one of many secluded island campsites.
Soak up the laid-back atmosphere of Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach is the vibrant hub of the Whitsundays and the ideal mainland base for fun and adventure in the Whitsundays. It is the perfect launching pad for activities on the water and in the lush, green rainforest of the Whitsunday Coast. Soak up the laid-back, tropical atmosphere and instantly tune into holiday mode. Stroll through the boutiques, cafes and shops of the main street; relax by the Airlie Beach lagoon and head to the Saturday morning markets that offer a quaint range of local arts and crafts, fresh fruit and vegetables and much more. At the end of a great day, treat yourself at one of the alfresco restaurants - from fresh local seafood at a bustling seafood cafe, hand-made tapas made from fresh local produce to a romantic sunset dinner for two.
Take the family to Daydream Island
Following an extensive redevelopment Daydream Island now offers 277 refurbished modern rooms and suites with the choice of interconnecting rooms for families and special access rooms. There is an expanded food and beverage offering across the island with three restaurants and three bars including an exciting new Asian Fusion restaurant which joins the buffet and modern Australian restaurants. The island has a revitalised pool landscape allowing you to swim and enjoy unparalleled views across the Whitsunday’s. The swimming hub is complemented by a poolside bar inclusive of a new burger concept. The Living Reef also makes its return to the island in an even bigger and better capacity than before, with the free form coral lagoon wrapping 200 metres around the central building and holding over 1.5 million liters of water. Join the team of marine biologists and over 100 species of marine fish, rays, coral and invertebrates such as starfish, sea cucumbers and crabs.
Stroll the Hill Inlet Lookout Track
On Whitsunday Island within the Whitsunday Islands National Park, take an uphill stroll to look over the turquoise waters to Hill Inlet, a culturally significant area to the Ngaro people. From lookouts on the crest of Tongue Bay, admire breathtaking vistas over the inlet and marvel at the ever-changing shapes of blue water and white silica sand created by the moving tides. All the lookouts have excellent views, so if the first one is too crowded, simply move on to the second or third lookout platform. Continue the circuit track, heading downhill to the track junction, which leads either back to Tongue Bay or over to Lookout Beach. Watch out for migratory wading birds foraging in the shallow waters, and stingrays and sharks cruising out in the deep. Learn about the unique lifestyle of this area’s Traditional Owners—the Ngaro People—from signs along the way. With excellent anchorage at Hill Inlet and Tongue Bay, why not make a day of exploring this beautiful part of the Whitsundays? Whitsunday Islands National Park is part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, famed for its superlative natural beauty, outstanding examples of reef ecosystem development, evolutionary history and amazing diversity.
Big Mango, Bowen
The 10-metre high Big Mango represents the delicious fruit which carries the namesake of the town "Bowen Mango". Situated on the A1 Bruce Highway with sweeping views of the Whitsunday coast it’s the perfect pullover during the epic East Coast Australian Roadtrip. The Big Mango is located at the Bowen Visitor Information Centre, 4 kilometres south of Bowen on the Bruce Highway. Stop by the top of the Whitsundays to get your photo with the Big Mango! While you're there - drop into the Information Centre and try some delicious local mango sorbet. Located in the Big Mango grounds you will find public artwork displays from local sculptural artists. There is ample parking space for all size vehicles, the Big Mango is pet friendly and includes an off-lead dog park area.
Hayman Island, in the Heart of the Great Barrier Reef, presents astonishing natural beauty, restorative peace, indulgence and adventure. Australia's iconic private island resort is located off the coast of Queensland, nestled at the northernmost point of the Whitsunday archipelago, beyond verdant cliffs reaching into the endless sky. Within this private island resort, stylish elegance reflects the harmony of nature with beautifully appointed accommodation set against the backdrop of the Coral Sea. Discover endless opportunities to delight the senses in a place where the beauty of nature inspires each day. Relish in spectacular dining experiences, surrender to a spa treatment, explore private beaches and immerse yourself in captivating underwater adventures. Hayman Island is a unique destination of discovery set in one of the seven wonders of the natural world - Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
Great Barrier Reef
Said to be the world's largest living structure and the only one visible from outer space, the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 2,000 kilometres and is home to tens of thousands of species of brilliantly coloured fish, coral and other marine life including whales, dolphins and turtles. If diving is your passion, then this is your paradise. The Great Barrier Reef is a divers Mecca, and the Whitsundays has companies catering for every skill level from student to novice to divemaster. If snorkelling is more your style, then the warm shallow waters of the Great Barrier Reef in the Whitsundays provide some of the most colourful fish and coral formations anywhere in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. There are ample opportunities for beginner divers, inexperienced and experienced divers to experience the wonders of the underwater world in the Whitsundays. The Whitsundays is recognised as having some of the best fishing in Queensland. Charter vessels operating out of Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach and the resort islands offer a variety of trips to the rich waters of the outer Great Barrier Reef.
Experience the Underwater Marine Sculptures
The Whitsunday Reef Recovery and Public Art Project involve collaboration between government, industry, scientists, artists, indigenous and community for the design and installation of underwater marine art and coral reef restoration. One of the major objectives of this project is to provide new tourism experiences which will further enhance the visitor experience and education. With the art pieces having a marine wildlife theme, they believe they will provoke conversation and deeper consideration of the marine environment, indigenous culture, coral reef restoration and sustainability. They hope that you enjoy the ‘Ngaro underwater marine sculpture trail’ and will share your unique experience with friends, family and social media and together they will take positive actions for a healthier Great Barrier Reef. The Tourism Recovery Fund (TRF) is an AUD7million initiative, jointly funded through the Australian and Queensland Governments, to help the tourism sec-tor recover following the devastating impact of ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie to the Whitsunday region in March 2017. The objective of the TRF is to facilitate recovery, rebuild and/or create new tourism experiences and infrastructure that will drive demand, improve quality, and increase tour-ism expenditure, with flow-on economic benefits across the tourism supply chain.
Marvel at the beauty of Hill Inlet
Hill Inlet in the Whitsundays is a stunning inlet located at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays. As the tide shifts, the white sand and blue hues of the inlet blend seamlessly to create a breathtaking mosaic. Hill Inlet is best viewed from the lookout at Tongue Point on Whitsunday Island. Most people moor their boats in Tongue Bay, take a dingy ashore and make the short uphill walk to the lookout for breath-taking views. If possible, try to reach the lookout when the tide is low to fully experience the beautiful fusion of colours that emerge. Not all operators visit Hill Inlet and the Tongue Point lookout on a Whitehaven Beach visit, so be sure to check before you book if you'd like to go to the lookout. There are several ways to experience the beauty of Hill Inlet. Many companies offer day trips to Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet by ferry, power boat or luxury yacht. Most overnight sailing trips also stop here. It’s also possible to view Hill Inlet from the air by helicopter or seaplane.
Stroll Whitehaven Beach
Whitehaven Beach is a pristine, award-winning beach on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays. Whitehaven Beach stretches over seven kilometres and boasts brilliant white silica sand that is among the purest in the world. Sink your feet into the sand and wade into the warm waves that gently lap the shore and you'll soon realise why people come here from all over the world. At the northern end of Whitehaven Beach is Hill Inlet, a stunning inlet where the tide shifts the sand and water to create a beautiful fusion of colours. Many people claim Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach are the most beautiful places they've ever seen. The look-out at Tongue Point is the best spot from which to view the swirling sands of Hill Inlet, so if you don't mind a short bushwalk, book your Whitehaven tour with an operator that visits the lookout. Whitehaven Beach can be experienced in several ways. If you're interested in a day trip there are ferries, yachts, powerboats and luxury cruising yachts that depart from Airlie Beach. A variety of sailing companies also offer multi-day charters that include a memorable visit to Whitehaven Beach.
Scuba dive The Pinnacles, Hook Island
Arguably the best dive site in the Whitsundays, with hard corals comparing favourably to those seen on the outer Great Barrier Reef. The best dive is off the western beach, adjacent to the Woodpile and swim east at a depth of seven to 15 metres. Large coral bommies dominate the terrain, reaching nearly to the surface. Acropora corals are everywhere and huge porite corals in the shape of boulders and massive towers can also be seen. Manta rays are very common in the cooler months, May to September, as are big Maori Wrasse. This dive is not for the faint-hearted as black and white tip reef sharks are frequently seen! In the shallow water, particularly off the western beach, the coral cover is nearly solid, mostly staghorn, with only a few sandy patches. Excellent snorkelling just off the western beach too. Diving depth is three to 18 metres. Diving visibility is typically three to 15 metres.
Hamilton Island is nestled amongst the Whitsunday Islands, a group of 74 islands just off the Queensland coast, at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Hamilton Island is one of the most popular Whitsunday islands offering an idyllic island experience. Set amidst pristine surroundings, Hamilton Island offers a multitude of activities and luxurious accommodation options to suit the most discerning traveller. You’ll be spoilt for choice with sea-kayaking, game fishing, scenic helicopter flights and ‘Breakfast with the Koalas’ at Wild Life Hamilton Island. Of course, you might simply want to concentrate on doing nothing at all, and lay around one of the pools or simply relax on the beach. Hamilton Island is also a gateway to other gems in the Whitsundays including Heart Reef, Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach. Choose from the luxurious and intimate setting of qualia, the beachfront luxury of the Beach Club or the sweeping views of the Coral Sea at The Reef View Hotel. If it's a little more independence you're after, you can choose from the Polynesian style Palm Bungalows or the high-rise Whitsunday Apartments Hamilton Island which are ideal for families or groups of friends or choose an independent holiday home for a self-catering holiday.
Discover more in Queensland
- Atherton Tablelands
- Boodjamulla (Lawn Hill) National Park
- Cape Tribulation, Daintree National Park
- Cape York
- Carnarvon Gorge, Carnarvon National Park
- Fraser Coast
- Gold Coast
- Great Barrier Reef
- Hervey Bay
- Magnetic Island
- Mission Beach
- Outback Queensland
- Port Douglas
- Seventeen Seventy
- Southern Queensland County
- Sunshine Coast
- The Whitsundays
- Thursday Island
- Tropical North Queensland