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Located across Queensland’s north-east coast, Queensland’s many islands offer a magical holiday destination, packed with culture, adventure and an idyllic escape from the everyday.
The Whitsunday Islands - an archipelago of 74 islands off the northeast coast - are all fringed with stunning white beaches and surrounded by glimmering oceans with the deepest turquoise, aqua and indigo colours you’re ever likely to see. Spend your time sailing the crystal-clear waters, discover extraordinary marine life, or wander your way through prominent landmarks, from the Great Barrier Reef, to the pure sands of Whitehaven Beach.
The Whitsundays has the very best in tropical island resorts; here, you’ll find Hamilton Island, Daydream Island or Hayman Island to name a few. The mainland-side of the Whitsunday Coast is just as enticing, boasting beaches and national parks galore, and the coastal enclave of Airlie Beach.
SOUTHERN GREAT BARRIER REEF ISLANDS
If you want to know where to find colourful corals and amazing marine life, look no further the Southern Great Barrier Reef really is ‘where great begins’, you need only to set foot on the warm, white sands of countless tropical islands scattered lovingly along the Central Queensland coastline. The Southern Great Barrier Reef runs from the Capricorn Coast and Yeppoon in the north, down through the Gladstone and Discovery Coast region to Bundaberg and the Coral Coast in the south, which is only four hours' drive from the state's capital Brisbane. The picture perfect islands that can be found here are Heron Island, Lady Musgrave Island, Lady Elliot Island, Great Keppel Island and Pumpkin Island.
TROPICAL NORTH ISLANDS
The islands of Tropical North Queensland are among the most beautiful in the world. Whether you want to camp out and fall asleep beneath a blanket of stars, or prefer to lie back in luxury and enjoy a little five-star pampering, there is an island that’s right for you. And with many of the islands accessible by ferry or even water taxi, getting there is easy. For a family-friendly, easily-accessible option, Fitzroy Island is hard to go past. Or try Lizard Island, where the reef begins just metres from the beach and where world-famous dive sites such as Cod Hole are within easy reach.
Secluded sands and aqua-marine water are the very definition of a picture-perfect holiday, and Fraser Island, just 35 minutes by boat from the mainland, offers an abundance of both. The sand is as fine as flour and a dazzling shade of white. You’ll have miles upon miles of shoreline to yourself and a landscape which is virtually untouched.
Find out more about Fraser Island and the Fraser Coast HERE
Whether you’re looking to do plenty or nothing at all, Hamilton Island is the ultimate getaway. There is 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, as there is an endless array of wine and dine options here.
GETTING HERE: Whether you plan on arriving by plane, helicopter, boat or ferry, there are many hassle-free ways to get to and from Hamilton Island. Hamilton Island Airport services direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns. If travelling from the mainland, ferries cruise to Hamilton Island throughout the day from Port of Airlie and Shute Harbour on the mainland.
Daydream Island Resort, the jewel of the Whitsundays, is in the most idyllic of locations. It is home to The Living Reef – a unique free form coral lagoon with over 100 species of marine fish and over 80 species of coral. Following an extensive redevelopment in 2018-2019, our stylish and tranquil island resort offers a range of refurbished spacious and modern rooms and suites with stunning views overlooking the pool and garden landscapes or with ocean views. This island paradise has great accommodation options for families and is the perfect place for kids to explore, learn and play.
GETTING HERE: Access to the island is by 30-minute ferry transfer from either Hamilton Island or Port of Airlie.
Intercontinental Hayman Island is a secluded piece of paradise that will amaze you with its breath-taking natural beauty and serene location. From the moment you arrive you will discover an idyllic destination of privacy and pampering; where diving the Great Barrier Reef, basking in your private pool, sailing the Coral Sea, indulging in culinary artistry and soulful spa treatments are but yet the beginning.
GETTING HERE: After your direct flight to Hamilton Island, onward travel by boat, helicopter or private charter awaits you. All three luxury transfer options connect with commercial flights to gift a seamless journey to Hayman Island.
The vibrant hub of the Whitsundays and the ideal mainland base for fun and adventure. Soak up the laid-back, tropical atmosphere and instantly tune into holiday mode. Stroll through the boutiques, cafés and shops of the main street; relax by the Airlie Beach lagoon and head to the Saturday morning markets that offer a quaint range of local arts and crafts and much more!
GETTING HERE: Airlie Beach can be reached by car, coach, rail or air. Whitsunday Coast Airport (Prosperpine) is approximately 40-minute drive from Airlie Beach and there are shuttle transfers available. The drive from Townsville is 3.5 hours, or 2 hours from Mackay.
Experience nature at its best on Heron Island, world famous for its spectacular coral reef and a sanctuary for an extraordinary variety of marine life. It’s here that the Southern Great Barrier Reef’s well-earned reputation as one of Australia’s premier dive destinations truly comes to the fore. Heron Island Resort welcomes guests all year round, with regular transfers available by ferry or seaplane.
GETTING HERE: The nearest urban centre and commercial airport is located 72kms from Heron Island in Gladstone. Regular flights to Gladstone are available via Brisbane with either Qantas or Virgin Australia. From Gladstone there are three transfer options to choose from – boat, seaplane or helicopter.
If sleeping out under stars is more your style, then Lady Musgrave must be your next port of call. It is one of the few islands anywhere along the entire Great Barrier Reef where you can swim, snorkel and dive by day and camp out by night. This is truly unspoilt, authentic island living at its best and with a maximum of 40 people allowed to camp at any one time, you will have an uncrowded Barrier Reef adventure to boot. If you choose to daytrip instead, you can view the reef by glass bottom boat, go diving, snorkelling, take island walks and discover the amazing and pristine reef habitat many marine and land animals call home.
GETTING HERE: Lady Musgrave Island is accessible by boat from Bundaberg, with the trip taking approximately 2 hours 15 minutes
Welcome to Lady Elliot Island – home of the Manta Ray! Located at the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef and known for its abundance of spectacular marine life and unspoilt coral reef. The Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is a family run and operated eco-tourism business, offering a range of accommodation options designed to minimise impact on the Island while enriching the overall guest experience of the environment and seasonal wildlife.
GETTING HERE: Access to Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is on small aircraft chartered from Seair Pacific - as Lady Elliot Island is the most remote Great Barrier Reef Island regularly accessed. Flights depart from Bundaberg, Hervey Bay, Brisbane or Gold Coast Airport
An island paradise where the ‘squeaky-clean’ white sand flows between your toes and the ocean sparkles before your eyes. Great Keppel Island – the largest in the Keppel Group - is almost 1500 hectares and is a sanctuary to extensive native flora and fauna including more than 100 species of bird life. With many types of accommodation available on the island, it is a desirable holiday destination for all!
GETTING HERE: Great Keppel Island, is just a 30-minute ferry ride from Yeppoon on the mainland and regular ferry services depart from Keppel Bay Marina and Rosslyn Bay, providing easy access for day trips or overnight visits.
Welcome to Fitzroy Island – where the rainforest meets the reef!
An unspoilt tropical paradise of rainforest and beaches within the calm sheltered waters of the great barrier reef. Some of the activities you can participate in while visiting Fitzroy Island include walking and hiking trails, snorkelling, swimming, sea kayaking, ocean trampoline, viewing the reef by glass bottom boat or simply relaxing to take it all in. The resort has great accommodation options for couples, friends and families.
GETTING HERE: Fitzroy Island is easily accessible by ferry just 45-minutes from Cairns on the Fitzroy Flyer!
As the northern most resort on the Great Barrier Reef, and a luxury lodge of Australia, Lizard Island is truly secluded from the rest of the world. Boasting 24 private beaches and close proximity to one of the best dive sites in the world at Cod Hole, the best way to experience Lizard Island is to get out on the water. Lizard Island Resort offers guests luxury accommodation with an array of private villas and suites to choose from. Your stay is all inclusive where you will enjoy gourmet meals, unlimited non-alcoholic beverages, a fine selection of wine, beer, basic spirits and sparkling wine, unlimited use of paddle boards, kayaks and much more.
GETTING HERE: The island is accessible only by a scenic 60-minute private charter flight from Cairns.
Green Island is a coral cay North-East of Cairns in Tropical North Queensland, where you will find unspoilt rainforest, stunning beaches and surrounding reef. The island is the perfect option for a day trip from Cairns, or spend longer and stay at the luxurious Green Island Resort. Offering one of the most unique eco-experiences in Australia, and a range of activities from snorkelling, diving, kayaking and more, Green Island is an experience unlike any other.
GETTING HERE: The island is a 45-minute boat ride east from Cairns, and is complimentary for guests of the resort. The island is also accessible by helicopter transfer.
Escape to a tropical island paradise surrounded by secluded bays, golden beaches and activities to excite everyone! Magnetic Island has the natural beauty and serenity of an untouched paradise within a thriving community, and plenty of outdoor activities to keep you busy including boat trips, parasailing, snorkelling tours, walks, golf and much more. The island is a food lover’s dream with a range of restaurants, and a variety of accommodation to suit all.
GETTING HERE: The island is just 20 minutes by ferry from Townsville with regular departures throughout the day.
Here's a taste of some of our favourite hotels and resorts in the Queensland Islands
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