The Whitsundays are a group of 74 island and located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, on the tropical coast of Queensland, Australia. The region is also home to the Whitsunday Coast, which includes the town of Airlie Beach and nearby Mandalay House. The Whitsundays is a feast of the senses, surrounded by natural beauty, dotted with secluded beaches and friendly towns from which to explore.
Consistently rated amongst the top beaches in the world, Whitehaven Beach is the jewel in the crown of the Whitsundays. The crystal clear aqua waters and pristine silica sand of Whitehaven stretch over seven kilometres along Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays. It defines nature at its best and provides the greatest sense of relaxation and escape.
The largest of the Whitsunday Island resorts, Hamilton Island offers an experience like no other: beaches, coral reefs, fascinating flora and fauna, fine food and wines, and activities almost too numerous to mention. Hamilton Island’s new world-class facilities include the Hamilton Island Golf Club, the architectural wonder of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Spa Wumurdaylin, and a host of new or refurbished hotels and resorts makes it a fresh and lively place for resort guests and day visitors. 70% of the island is national park, striking a balance between extensive holiday facilities and the island’s striking natural beauty.
The par 71 championship Hamilton Island Golf Club on neighbouring Dent Island is the only championship island golf course in Australia. The island’s natural beauty, together with its mountainous terrain affords stunning 360 degree views across secluded beaches to adjacent islands and the mainland beyond.
Hayman Island is the northern most of the Whitsunday island resorts, the epitome of tropical paradise. Boasting one of The Leading Hotels of the World, Hayman is Australia’s most awarded private island destination. Guests can select from a variety of activities from water sports to bushwalks to tours of the nearby Great Barrier Reef. By night, guests can relax with fine wine and award winning delicacies, in the luxury of this five star resort. The excellent snorkelling off the island’s northern beach, Blue Pearl Bay, makes it a popular spot for guests and day visitors alik
Daydream Island is one of the closest of the Whitsunday Island resorts to the coast, being completely inhabited by Daydream Island Resort and Spa. The resort is set in a luscious, exotic landscape, where visitors can snorkel or dive fringing reefs and enjoy activities including water sports, mini golf, movies at the open-air cinema or swimming in one of the resort pools. Unique to the island is a man-made outdoor aquarium, the Living Reef, and the award-winning Rejuvenation Spa offers a range of health and beauty treatments. The island is accessible by resort guests and day visitors.
Hook Island is a rugged island, mostly national park, with breathtaking lookouts and excellent snorkelling and scuba diving. The diversity of coral in the fringing reefs on the northern shores offers excellent opportunities for snorkelling and diving. A visit to the historical observatory is a must-do, descending nine metres below sea level to view coral and marine life. Several Aboriginal cave shelters can be found on Hook Island by following the island walking tracks. Absorb the natural essence of Hook Island by camping or staying at the Hook Island Wilderness Resort.
Named after its key feature, Long Island is 9km long and only 400m at its widest point. The closest island to the mainland, Long Island is a wonder to explore filled with 13km of National Park walking tracks and plentiful flora and fauna. The fringing coral reefs are expansive throughout the many bays on the island, great for snorkelling and beachcombing.
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 one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Whitsundays region benefits from being located as the closest point off the Queensland coast to the Great Barrier Reef, which ensures it is the ideal hub from which to explore this aquatic wonderland. Stretching over 2000 kilometres in length, the Great Barrier Reef protects the Whitsunday Coast and Islands from huge ocean swells providing the region with some of the safest sailing and cruising waters in the world. The magical, naturally formed Heart Reef is located in the Whitsundays and is a sight to behold when viewed from the air. Take a seaplane or helicopter flight to admire this beautiful sight, or surprise a loved one with the ultimate romantic gesture over the region’s most romantic natural icon. If scuba diving is your passion, then this is your paradise. Home to tens of thousands of species of brilliantly coloured fish, coral and other marine life including whales, dolphins and turtles enjoy the diversity of your underwater playground. Local companies are able to cater for every skill level from novice to dive master. If snorkelling is more your style, then the warm shallow waters of the Whitsundays provide some of the most colourful fish and coral formations anywhere in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Or stay dry, and enjoy the reef views from an underwater viewing chamber, glass bottom boat and coral semi-submersible. The Whitsundays also has some of the best fishing in Queensland. Charter Vessels operating out of Shute Harbour, Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island offer a variety of trips to the rich waters of the outer Great Barrier Reef chasing, tuna, mackerel and coral trout, or tagging and releasing sailfish and the legendary black marlin.
The Great Barrier Reef is home to a stunning array of animals, from microscopic plankton to whales weighing more than 100 tonnes. More than just fish and coral, the Great Barrier Reef supports:
The different types of animals found along the Great Barrier Reef help make it one of the richest and most complex natural systems on earth. While there is a lot known about some of the animals that make the reef home, vast amounts of information and species are yet to be discovered.