With 72 islands spread across Queensland’s Coral Sea, you might feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choice when it comes to your Whitsunday holiday. Not to worry: we’ve put together a helpful guide to the islands so that your most difficult decision is deciding how many sunhats you’ll need to pack.
Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland
1. Luxury escape: Stunning Hayman Island is the northernmost of The Whitsundays, home to a resort that has been synonymous with luxury since it first opened in the 1950s. These days it’s known as the InterContinental Hayman Island Resort, and any stay here is guaranteed to dial up the luxury, making it ideal for special occasions – you can even choose to arrival by private helicopter if you want the full rockstar experience. Think stylish rooms, food that is pure temptation and an onsite spa that is certain to erase any thoughts of the world beyond the resort.
2. Spoilt for choice: Hamilton Island is the largest island in The Whitsundays group, comprising four separate resorts which cater to every type of holiday experience, from ultra-luxurious (qualia) to family-friendly (Reef View Hotel). Across those four resorts you can choose from 13 restaurants and four pools, some of which are family friendly while others are exclusively for adults. The island has its own airport so it’s easy to get there from the mainland, and with 740 acres to explore, you’ll appreciate the use of golf carts which are the island version of a ride-share service.
3. Eco-aware: Elysian Eco Resort is billed as “the most secluded island in the Whitsundays and the first solar powered resort on the Great Barrier Reef”, but that’s just a taster of its eco-credentials. Surrounded by rainforest, this resort is tucked away in a private cove at the southern tip of Long Island, with a maximum of just twenty guests at any time in order to minimise the impact on the island and surrounding marine environment. The resort also offsets its emissions by 150 percent by investing in Australia’s first Gold Standard project. It uses biodegradable cleaning products and amenities, minimises waste via its own worm farm, grows its own produce and even provides a leading brand of reef-safe sunscreen for its guests.
4. Wildlife encounters: Australia’s indigenous fauna – both marine- and land-based – is quite unlike anywhere else, and within the Whitsundays there is ample opportunity for a variety of wildlife encounters. Whether it’s breakfast with koalas on Hamilton Island or feeding baby stingrays at Daydream Island, every day brings a fresh chance to meet the locals.
5. Mainland base: ok, so it’s not actually an island, but if you’re into active relaxing while on holiday, Airlie Beach is a great option. As the mainland gateway to the Whitsundays, you’re ideally placed to access a myriad of adventure-based activities, from shark cage diving on the Great Barrier Reef to exploring 14 kilometres of mountain bike trails on an e-bike tour of South Molle Island. For a truly memorable Whitsundays experience, we recommend a tandem skydiving jump that ends with a landing on iconic Whitehaven Beach.
The team at House of Travel would love to chat about which Whitsunday Islands experience is best for you.