Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsunday Islands is a group of 74 islands bordered by the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the sheltered waters of the Coral Sea. With palm-fringed secluded white sand beaches surrounded by clear blue waters, the Whitsunday Islands are the epitome of a tropical paradise. Whitsunday Islands
Whitsunday Islands
Site Requires Javascript - turn on javascript!

Whitsunday Islands

With palm-fringed white sand beaches surrounded by clear blue waters, the Whitsunday Islands are the epitome of a tropical paradise.

The Whitsunday Islands is a group of 74 islands bordered by the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the sheltered waters of the Coral Sea. With palm-fringed secluded white sand beaches surrounded by clear blue waters, the Whitsunday Islands are the epitome of a tropical paradise.

Formed millions of years ago, the name was given to Australia's largest group of offshore islands by Captain Cook, who sailed through the passage on Whitsunday in 1770.

Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, QLD. © Tourism and Events Queensland

Whitehaven Beach,
Whitsunday Islands, QLD

The traditional owners of the Whitsunday Islands were called the Ngaro, and are among the earliest recorded Aboriginal groups in Australia. The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail, which connects South Molle, Hook and Whitsunday Islands, follows in their ancient footsteps.

Some islands are little more than a strip of finely crushed coral sand, held together by the roots of a single palm tree. Others are home to luxurious resorts. The Whitsunday Islands are the romantic destination of more wedding proposals and honeymoons per square metre than anywhere else in Australia.

 

Butterfly Bay, Whitsunday Islands, QLD. © Tourism and Events Queensland

Butterfly Bay,
Whitsunday Islands, QLD

One of the best ways to soak up the sun-drenched beauty of this island paradise is to sail onboard a self-skippered or crewed catamaran or yacht, visiting a different island or reef each day. Boats charters depart from Airlie Beach or Shute Harbour.

The largest island, Whitsunday Island, is also the site of Whitehaven Beach, a seven kilometre stretch of deserted white sand. It's one of the most photographed beaches in Australia. Fly over iconic Heart Reef, landing nearby to enjoy snorkelling in the privacy of your own remote coral atoll.

Daydream Island, QLD. © Tourism and Events Queensland

Daydream Island, QLD

Daydream Island is one of the closest of the Whitsunday Island resorts to the coast. Unique to the island is a man-made outdoor aquarium, the Living Reef, where you can hand feed the resident stingrays, sharks and barramundi fish.

Hamilton Island is the only island in the Great Barrier Reef with its own jet airport. Its is home to a range of accommodation options but none surpasses qualia, voted Best Resort in the World in the 2012 Conde Nast Traveler Readers' Choice Awards. Board a helicopter for a round of heli-golf on nearby Dent Island, Australia's only championship island golf course. In May each year Hamilton Island comes alive with million dollar yachts for Hamilton Island Race Week.

One&Only Hayman Island, Hayman Island, QLD. © One&Only Resorts

One&Only Hayman Island, QLD

Hayman Island is the most northerly of the Whitsunday Islands. Its private five-star resort is one of the most awarded in Australia. It's a popular spot for both guests and day visitors.

Hook Island and South Molle Island are much less developed, and mostly covered by national parks. On Hook Island you'll find breathtaking lookouts and several Aboriginal cave shelters along the island's walking tracks. The Pinnacles, just off Hook Island, is renowned as one of the best dive sites in the Whitsundays. The closest island to the mainland is Long Island. It's a wonder to explore filled with walking tracks and plenty of wildlife.

Upolo Cay, QLD

Sea Plane, QLD

You can even sleep on the reef on a purpose-built pontoon and watch it come alive at night from the comfort of an underwater observatory.

Once you've explored the islands from land and water, take to the air in a seaplane or helicopter and see their aquamarine beauty from a completely different perspective.

MAKE YOUR TRIP HAPPEN

Find accommodation, attractions, tours, events and restaurants to help you plan your trip.

+ More filters + More filters - Less filters

More Holiday Ideas

See what else there is near here to inspire your holiday planning.

Queensland

Queensland

From Brisbane, visit Moreton Island, Surfers Paradise, and Noosa on the Sunshine Coast. Head inland for Outback Queensland or north for World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, Bundaberg's natural attractions, and Mackay, a gateway to the idyllic Whitsundays. In Queensland's tropical north, Townsville, Cairns, Port Douglas and Mission Beach line the coast along the Great Barrier Reef, up to the Daintree Rainforest.

View more information

Add to your dream trip
Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Explore the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, which stretches for more than 2,000 kilometres along the Queensland coastline. Snorkel, scuba dive or take a scenic flight over the reef. Sail the palm-topped Whitsundays, trek the ancient Daintree Rainforest or relax on luxurious tropical islands such as Hayman and Lizard. Island-hop or stay in one of the many coastal getaways like Cairns, Hervey Bay, Missions Beach or Port Douglas.

View more information

Add to your dream trip
Whitsundays Sailing

Whitsundays Sailing

It's hard to beat the romance of sailing through the Whitsundays - 74 idyllic, mostly uninhabited islands tucked inside the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Think clear moonlit nights, spectacular sunsets, secluded beaches and pure air. You can sail, swim, snorkel and dive at sheltered anchorages such as Blue Pearl, Butterfly and Hook Island Bays. Soak up the resort atmosphere of Hamilton Island, bushwalk through national park on South Molle and relax in Hayman Island's five star luxury. Visit Whitsunday Island and walk the pure white, silica sands of Whitehaven Beach.

View more information

Add to your dream trip
Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach

The coastal village of Airlie Beach is a vibrant town filled with palm-fringed beaches, waterfront parks and alfresco dining restaurants. You are sure to instantly warm to its bohemian charm and carefree and relaxed attitude. Airlie Beach is also the gateway to the Whitsundays, the 74 pristine islands in the north of Queensland's Great Barrier Reef where you can visit luxurious island resorts and sip cocktails by the pool, bask in the sun or relax in a spa. Queensland's warm, tropical climate means that winters at Airlie Beach are very mild and perfect for enjoying water activities all year round.

View more information

Add to your dream trip