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The Whitsunday Islands lie between the central Queensland coastline and the Great Barrier Reef, a vast collection of tiny coral atolls and rainforest-clad islands, most of which are delightfully uninhabited. The region is an ideal playground for holidays that centre on being in, on or under the water – here’s our list of the top nine ways to experience this incredible destination.

Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

1. Go sailing:
raise the anchor and steal quietly away from your everyday life on a single-day or multi-day sailing adventure – it’s the ideal way to explore and enjoy the myriad secret coves and hidden beaches of The Whitsundays. Whether you’re an experienced helmsman, an enthusiastic amateur or a “bring me another cocktail please” kind of sailor, there’s an option to suit.

Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

2. Become a beach bunny: Whitehaven Beach is the poster child for The Whitsundays beaches – frequently appearing on lists of the world’s best beaches. It’s ridiculously beautiful – blindingly white silica sand lapped by bath-warm turquoise water. It’s the most famous of the many incredible beaches for which The Whitsundays are renowned – some well-known and others a little harder to find. Betty’s Beach, Chalkies Beach and Chance Bay are among our favourites, but half the fun lies in finding your own.

Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

3. Watch the whales:
between June and October each year, humpback whales bid farewell to the chilly waters of the Antarctic and migrate to the tropical waters of the Queensland coast. You can watch these gentle giants playing in the sheltered waters of The Whitsundays as they enjoy their winter holiday, and if you’re really lucky you might see a mamma whale swimming with her new-born calf.

4. Go bush: if you can manage to drag yourself away from those dazzling Whitsunday beaches, you’ll be rewarded with incredible hiking trails that snake through lush native rainforest. We love the Hill Inlet Lookout walk on Whitsunday Island – a short walk that ends with incredible of the bay below.

Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

5. Island hopping: did we mention there are more than 70 islands in The Whitsundays group? That means you could visit a new island every day for two months and still not have seen them all, although we suggest setting your sights a little lower. There are plenty of day trips that depart from Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island that are designed to give you a taste of the best spots, but be warned: they will definitely leave you wanting more! 

Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

6. Embrace your inner speed demon: if you prefer your island hopping to be served with a side dish of adrenaline, then we have the ideal solution. Jet ski touring is a fun but safe way to explore the islands and waters of The Whitsundays. You don’t have to be an expert (or even a speedster) to enjoy this experience, and you may be lucky enough to encounter local wildlife such as dolphins, sea turtles and dugongs.

Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

7. Get wet: with all that incredible scenery on offer, it would be easy to forget that a whole other world lies just beneath the surface of the Coral Sea. It’s up to you whether you choose a guided snorkelling cruise, a glass bottom boat expedition or simply don your facemask and snorkel and start exploring.

Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

8. Take flight: get a bird’s eye perspective of The Whitsundays with a helicopter or seaplane tour that’s designed to thrill. Some options even allow you to land on Whitehaven Beach or visit the Outer Reef – picnic optional.

9. Welcome to Country: the Ngaro people are the traditional owners of The Whitsundays, having engaged in a seafaring lifestyle that dates back an estimated 9000 years. Learning about the history and culture of the region’s original owners is a great way to enrich your holiday and pay your respects to the original owners. 

House of Travel acknowledge the Ngaro and Gia people as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of The Whitsunday Islands and recognise their continuing connection to the land and waters of this region. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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