We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to holiday destinations in Australia and naming the pick of the bunch is no easy task. But the Whitsundays have got to be in the running. This island cluster sits right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef and is about as heavenly as it gets. From the iconic luxury of Hamilton Island to the charm of mainland Proserpine, the Whitsundays will see you OMGing at every turn.
Lindeman Island has seven heavenly beaches to visit, including the legendary Gap Beach, an ideal spot for a snorkel. Next is South Molle Island. This hilly oasis has lush pockets of rainforest, secluded bays and dazzling reefs to explore. Lastly, for a quiet and authentic vibe, you can’t miss Midge Point. No matter what you want from a location, the Whitsundays can deliver – which is another reason why we love it!
Whitsundays’ Top 10
10. Ngaro Cultural Site The Ngaro tribe have been around for over 9,000 years, so checking out their paintings on these cave walls is pretty special.
5. Brampton Island Perfect beaches and an epic national park filled with native bush and wildlife.
9. Hamilton Island Wildlife Park Cuddle a koala, plod alongside a wombat and scope out the crocs at this cool place.
4. Bowen Packed with family-friendly beaches and beautiful parklands ideal for a big picnic or BBQ.
8. Hook Island Go for an eye-opening dive at Crayfish Beach and take the scenic walking trail all the way to Butterfly Bay.
3. Airlie Beach This icon is perennially busy. Laze in the sun, swim in the surf and try your hand at beach volleyball. Don’t forget to hit the Saturday Markets!
7. Daydream Island This aptly named island is perfect for a snorkel. Lovers Cove is especially famous for its colourful reef packed with coral and fish.
2. Hayman Island Float on the turquoise waters of the Hayman Lagoon and Whitsunday Passage, then snorkel in Blue Pearl Bay.
6. Historical Proserpine Museum Learn about the history of this sugar cane and cattle town.
1. Whitehaven Beach Holy moly! Spotless white sands and clear-as-crystal water. Visit, and prepare to never want to leave.
- Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail - A National Park region that’s been inhabited for more than 9,000 years by the aboriginal people of Australia.
- The Proserpine Historical Museum - A cultural centre related to the local arts and crafts, as well as the sugar cane and cattle industries in the Whitsundays region.
- Bowen Murals - Various sites with murals depicting the early history of the Bowen region near Whitsundays.
- Whitsunday Reef Festival - An annual event featuring food and live entertainment to celebrate the history of the Great Barrier Reef.
- Hamilton Island Church, Whitsundays - A picturesque chapel surrounded by landscaped tropical gardens and featuring colourful stained-glass windows.
Whitsundays Art & Culture
- The Great Barrier Reef Dancesport Open Championship - A great annual event for your holiday.
- Topdeck - Meet an aboriginal dance troupe, stargaze in The Outback and much more with one of the numerous tour options.
- Carols by Candlelight - An annual Christmas event held at Arlie Beach, Whitsundays region.
- Great Barrier Feast Series - Learn to create local cuisine from a world-class chef on Hamilton Island.
- The Australian Ballet - Annual pas de deux in paradise, held every November on Hamilton Island.
- Colour Me Crazy - Shop for unique gifts and accessories from around the world, as well as unusual apparel and jewels.
- Tropical Beach Hut - Shop for tropical or beach-themed gifts and wall art.
- Shopping on Hamilton Island - Browse an array of boutiques at the island shopping centre, the Marina Village.
- Centro Whitsunday Shopping Centre - A variety of shops featuring local and international food, fashion and furnishings.
- Whitsunday Shopping Centre - More than 50 specialty shops just a short distance from Arlie Beach.
Gay & Lesbian Whitsundays
- Dream Yacht Charter - Sail the islands of the Whitsunday group. Yachts and catamarans can accommodate two to 12 people and are available by boat or with a full crew.
- Waterfront Whitsunday Retreat - Luxury retreat with the exclusive amenities of a boutique hotel with a deep-water pool and guest BBQs.
- Shenannigans - A popular Irish bar in the downtown area for late-night socializing.
- Mama Africa’s and the Juice Bar, a large club, are open late when the bars close, located at Magnum’s.
- KC’s - Great steakhouse with live entertainment in the evenings, located on the main street in Whitsundays.
- Illawong Sanctuary and Fauna Park - See koalas, emus, dingo, wombats, kangaroos and other native wildlife in natural settings.
- Whitsundays Whale Watch - Go on a whale-watching tour to experience humpback whales up close on their migration.
- The Goorganga Wetlands - See native and migratory birds throughout the network of small creeks.
- Proserpine River Eco Tours – A great tour for families and animal lovers out of Arlie Beach.
- Hook Island Observatory - Located 9m beneath the ocean so tourists may observe marine life and colourful coral reefs.
- Experience diving on the Great Barrier Reef to see spectacular coral and tropical marine life.
- Rent a yacht from Arlie Beach and sail the islands. Fully manned yachts are available if you prefer.
- Sail from Meridien Marinas Abel Point for deep-sea fishing or exploring the 150 islands in the Whitsunday group.
- Explore Shute Harbour’s beautiful beaches and take scenic walking tours or hikes.
- Visit Whitsundays Sports Parks and enjoy outdoor or indoor sports and classes.
Check out some spunky yacht dwellers during August’s Airlie Beach Race Week. You may think winter is a weird time for a weeklong regatta, but it ensures peak sailing conditions.
Early September brings the glitzy and glamorous Great Barrier Reef Dancesport Open Championship to Airlie Beach.
Late September sees the Whitsunday Great Walk. This 28km journey starts at Brandy Creek, takes in the beauty of the Conway State Forest and then finishes at Airlie Beach, where participants jump in the sea to cool off. Fun!
One of the best parties in town is definitely the Reef Festival. Held every October, this vibrant celebration is packed with stuff to do, watch and eat.
When To Go
The Whitsundays’ tropical climate means hot summers and mild winters.
Popular to the point of being packed in summer, you can expect crowded beaches and plenty of parties at this time of year.
Summer also brings sudden tropical storms. Happily, they pass as quickly as they arrive.
Whitsunday Transit supplies a decent bus, train and shuttle service, mainly around Airlie Beach and Proserpine.
Island hopping is easy via everything from catamaran to sea plane.
Hiring a car is a popular option for those who like to really get amongst it all.
The Whitsundays are an exceptional collection of islands off the coast of Queensland, Australia. The attractive archipelago between Mackay and Townsville is coveted by locals and visitors alike for beautiful scenery, unspoiled nature and some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. Coastlines throughout the Whitsundays contain sand so white, fine and pure in fact that NASA uses it to produce superior telescope lenses. Seventy-four islands in the Whitsundays chain make up a remarkable conservation area and national park. Bordered by the Coral Sea and Great Barrier Reef, the islands offer tranquil and exotic escape, luring urban dwellers from Cairns and Brisbane, among other cities in Australia. From the popular small resort town of Airlie Beach to 6 km long Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island, the Whitsunday region is a veritable tropical paradise. For water sports, golf, sunset sails and wildlife exploration, the Australian destination is tough to beat.
Attractions & Activities
Restaurant & Nightlife
The Whitsundays have a tropical climate, with hot weather throughout the year and a rainy season between January and March.
- Summer (December to February) 24-31°C
- Fall (March to May) 18-31°C
- Winter (June to September) 15-28°C
- Spring (October to November) 21-31°C
Whitsundays On Wikipedia
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