The Whitsundays are made up of 74 island wonders, right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. A visit to the Whitsundays is a feast for the senses - the stunning natural landscapes of coast and islands are dotted with secluded beaches and friendly towns. Whether you choose to base yourself on the coast or on the islands, there's so much to do, you'll have to work out how to fit it all in!
Aside from being the obvious departure point for most trips to the Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach has long been a destination on the east coast road-trip and adventure trail. Its multiple hostels and massive beer gardens sit opposite a lawn-surrounded swimming lagoon, where nothing much happens but the passing of carefree youth. Though don't let that deter you. There are plenty of options for families and couples wanting to experience Airlie.
Airlie Beach offers freedom of choice and flexibility with the majority of tours and activities based out of the town centre or Port of Airlie to the south and Abell Point Marina to the north. You can choose between activities as diverse as sailing, bareboating, kayaking, jetskiing, jetboating, scenic flights, snorkelling, scuba diving, crocodile spotting, 4WD tours, mountain biking, bushwalking, segway tours, camping, hiking, golf, shopping, relaxation and more. Phew!
Head to the stunning Conway National Park for walking trails and scenic lookouts over the islands through lush rainforests. You may also want to check out the gorgeous Cedar Creek Falls and take a dip. This picturesque beauty is located 30km from Airlie Beach and 20km from Proserpine. It is located midway between these two locations and is a quick drive away. The drive to Cedar Creek Falls from Airlie Beach is in itself an experience, with the cane fields bordering the roads and beautiful landscape for as far as the eye can see. The falls are a short walk away from the parking area.
No trip to the Whitsundays is complete without sinking your toes into the white silica sands of famous Whitehaven Beach. Voted Australia's best beach, it's easy to see why - untouched by development, with clear blue waters complimenting the whitest sand you'll ever see. Spend the day on the beach or explore the breathtaking beauty of Hill Inlet, a stunning cove at the northern end of the beach where the tide shifts the sand and water to create a swirling fusion of turquoise colours.
There are several ways to experience the beauty of Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet. Many companies offer day trips to Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet by ferry, power boat or luxury yacht. You could also choose to take a scenic helicopter or seaplane flight over the beach, which is guaranteed to offer stunning views.
If you're on foot and want to experience the stunning view out over the inlet and beach, head to Tongue Point on Whitsunday Island. Many tour groups will tender into Tongue Bay where you'll hike up the hill to Tongue Point before descending down to the beach.
However you choose to explore Whitehaven Beach, it will be an experience that you will remember for a lifetime and worth every cent!
Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef on the Queensland coast, lies 74 island wonders. The majority of the Whitsunday Islands are uninhabited national park islands, but a few offer a variety of accommodation to cater to your requirements.
The largest of the Whitsunday Islands resorts, Hamilton Island, offers plenty to do, including a wide selection of bars and restaurants, an abundance of water sports and activities, and year-round cultural events. It is the only one with its own commercial airport, with short direct flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns. Whether you're arriving by plane or by boat, Hamilton Island makes it easy - with complimentary airport or marina to accommodation transfers.
Fancy a round of golf? Pop over to neighbouring Dent Island for a round with spectacular views.
With six different levels of accommodation to choose - ranging from plush, couples’ suites, to family-friendly apartments and holiday homes, a stay on Hamilton Island really does offer something for everyone.
When Aussie's think of Bowen, they think of the delicious mangoes that this charming area offers. Situated in the northern region of the Whitsundays on the shores of Edgecumbe Bay, 45 minutes north of Airlie Beach, this picturesque seaside town is a relaxed beachcomber’s paradise. Largely undiscovered, Bowen offers accommodation ranging from backpackers and caravan parks, to 4-star absolute beachfront apartments.
Bowen is one of the few places on the Queensland coast where you can walk off the beach and head underwater to see the living reef. Bowen has some of the best fringing coral in Queensland, just metres from the beaches. Scuba divers will not be let down either. Horseshoe, Murray and Rose bays are the most popular for diving from the mainland, where the depths are only six to seven metres.
The daytime low tides during Bowen's winter months offer visitors the opportunity to 'Walk to the Lighthouse'. The North Head Lighthouse is one of the oldest in Queensland, and connected to the mainland via a sand bar. While your feet may get a little wet, you will be amazed by the abundance of sea life in the shallows. You might see giant red starfish, watch green sea turtles dart away across the sea grass beds, and you may be surprised by feather stars uncurling and crawling away. Bowen's squirting sea cucumbers are also a favourite with the kids.
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