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Things to See & Do in the Whitsundays, Australia

Queensland Australia
Whitsundays Queensland
Queensland Australia
Queensland Australia Tourism QLD

Things to See & Do in the Whitsundays, Australia

story by: Inspire Queensland

Are you longing to escape the rat race for a week or two and embrace a more leisurely pace of life?  

A week spent in the stunning Whitsunday Islands will feel like a month, as time slows down and your biggest decision is whether to have another cocktail poolside or squeeze in another snorkelling trip before dinner.  

You don’t need Photoshop expertise to capture the incredible colours of the water that surrounds these islands. Tiny particles of coral sand in the water scatter the sunlight as it enters the water, causing that astonishing glow that will elicit sighs of envy from the folks back home when they see your holiday snaps. The islands themselves rise up out of the Coral Sea and are cloaked in lush rainforest – the perfect contrast to white sand and blue water.  

Don’t miss the stunning sunrise over Whitehaven Beach, considered the jewel in the crown of the Whitsundays and regularly tops lists of the world’s best beaches.  

Whether you’re keen to set sail on a Pacific adventure or you prefer to take it easy on dry land, there are 74 islands here which are best explored by boat. Luckily, there are plenty of fun sailing tours to choose from – whether you’d prefer an overnight stay or a day trip, the choice is yours. 

Our favourite things to see and do  

THE GREAT BARRIER REEF – The world’s largest living structure, the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is just a short trip by boat or air from the Whitsundays.  
HEART REEF – This is a stunning composition of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart. Located in Hardy Reef, Heart Reef is best experienced from the air by helicopter or seaplane, as visitors are unable to snorkel or dive there due its protected status.  
SAILING – Be the master of your own destiny and charter a yacht to skipper yourself, or take a cruise and let someone else do the sailing for you.  
SCENIC FLIGHTS – For a bird’s eye view take in the panorama of the Whitsundays landscape from a seaplane or helicopter, or perhaps even a skydive!  
WHALE WATCHING – From June to September, whales are a common sight frolicking amongst the islands. There are no whale watching tours, but whale sightings are a bonus on most day tours.  
PAMPERING – There’s nothing like a little indulgence on holiday and if you happen to find yourself in a little rain spell, it’s even better as there’s no need to feel guilty about missing hours of sunshine while being pampered indoors.  
GET WALKING – Travel by foot through National Park tracks winding their way down to protected coastlines and deserted beaches and up to spectacular lookouts. From a couple of hours to a couple of days, trails and treks cover the Whitsundays.  
FOOD & WINE – The Whitsunday region has an abundance of local produce including a major coffee plantation, beef, fresh seafood and 30 different fruit varieties; the most famous of course is the Bowen Mango. Be sure to visit the Whitsundays Farmers market, on every first and third Saturday of the month at the Whitsunday Gold Coffee plantation in Proserpine. 

Airlie Beach  

The Whitsunday Coast is an inviting peninsula that stretches from the central town of Airlie Beach to secluded beaches along the coastline and inland to the hinterland. Airlie Beach is a lively place with  
restaurants, bars, a beautiful swimming lagoon set in parkland overlooking the islands, and a strip of shops, boutiques and cafés to enjoy during the day. It is the main launching pad for activities and adventures in the Whitsundays and feels almost as tropical as staying on an island, but with the conveniences of supermarkets, banks, restaurants and shopping. It is the epicentre of access to the islands and the reef by day, as well as a great nightlife. 

Hamilton Island  

Whether you’re looking to do plenty or nothing at all, Hamilton Island is the ultimate getaway. In the middle of the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island is part of one of the natural Wonders of the World, the Great Barrier Reef. And that’s the just the start of it. There are more than enough activities on Hamilton Island to keep you entertained for weeks, from snorkelling the reef to scenic helicopter flights. And believe us, after all that, you’ll be hungry. Which is great, for when it comes to food and wine Hamilton Island has an endless array of dining options. With direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane & Cairns or a 30 minute ferry ride from the mainland, Hamilton Island is the ultimate Great Barrier Reef getaway. 

Whitsundays Sightseeing 

Great Barrier Reef Adventures 
Cruise onboard one of the Whitsunday’s premier day cruise vessels and experience the ultimate outer Great Barrier Reef trip. The activities at the reef pontoon - underwater viewing chamber, snorkelling equipment, semisubmersible and glass bottom boat rides - let you explore the underwater world of magnificent corals and abundant marine life. 
DEPARTS: Daily  
DURATION: Full Day 

Overnight Reef Sleep 
Travel to ‘Reefworld’ aboard a high speed vessel and enjoy all the activities of the Great Barrier Reef Adventure. When the day trippers depart soak up the tranquility of the Great Barrier Reef as the underwater world comes to life as the sun sinks lower on the horizon. Settle in to your room or get your swag ready for a night sleeping under the stars! 
DEPARTS: Daily  
DURATION: 2 Day/1 Night 

Whitsunday Islands & Whitehaven Beach 
Cruise past some of the Whitsundays remote areas, beautiful bays, peaceful islands and onto dazzling Whitehaven Beach. This is a must see, with crystal clear aqua waters and pristine white silica sand stretching for over seven kilometres along Whitsunday Island. Wander along the beach to your own secluded stretch, laze on the beach or cool off in the azure waters. 
DEPARTS: Daily  
DURATION: Half Day 

Whitehaven Beach Camira Sailing Adventure 
Experience a full day sailing adventure through the Whitsunday Islands National Park onboard Camira, one of the world’s fastest commercial sailing catamarans. Explore beautiful beaches and bays with snorkelling stops en route to the famous Whitehaven Beach. Sink your toes into the stunning white sand and crystal clear waters. An awesome day out on the water. 
DEPARTS: Daily  
DURATION: Full Day

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