Travel Guide

Four ways to explore The Whitsundays

Sundays in The Whitsundays? Yes please.

Daydreaming about lazing on a beach that seems completely undiscovered – stretching out on white sand surrounded by effervescent blue waters? Breathing underwater as you dive past schools of extraordinary fish? You don’t need to trek to Greece or Bali to soak up this sunny fantasy; a slice of paradise is right on your Aussie doorstep in the Whitsundays. The region itself, almost smack-bang between Cairns and Brisbane, is made up of 74 different islands – including the vibrant Airlie Beach and coveted Hamilton Island. Plus, there’s no need to wait around for summer: the Whitsundays are warm and sunny all year round! So, take advantage of half-price flights from the start of April and start planning your getaway. Whether you take on the Whitsundays by sea, soar above in the skies, dive down below or stay dry on land, there’s something out-of-this-world-beautiful everywhere.

See it by sea

Exploring the Whitsundays by boat is a magical experience that will stay with you forever. Expect seabirds hovering above your head, humpback whales breaching beside you and the golden sun shimmering across endless waters. From Whitsunday Coast Airport, where a salty sea breeze will hit your face as soon as you touch down, you’re a 30 minute shuttle from Airlie Beach. Alternatively, Hamilton Island Airport’s arrival gate is a stone’s throw from the water and only a short ferry from the iconic white sands of Whitehaven beach. Each of these spots are excellent launching points to explore the islands by sea, with a range of options sure to satisfy all types of explorer. Whether you want to take it slow and watch for whales for days on end on a sailing boat, zoom by on speedboats or jet-skis, or try your hand at finding a beautiful tuna or Red Emperor with a spot of fishing, we have activities available for every kind of sea-explorer and family.

Explore it from below

The Whitsundays’ waters are filled with colourful sea-life and a vibrant coral ecosystem. The whole cast of Finding Nemo dwells not far below the surface, where you’ll stumble upon four of the world’s seven species of marine turtle, giant manta rays, reef sharks and thousands of different fish. Take a closer look on a snorkelling tour, or with gear for which can be purchased at any number of shops on Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach, or provided to you on most boat trips. To get a little deeper, try scuba diving! The most popular locations for a dive in the Whitsundays are Hook Island, Bait Reef and The Hangover, located just off Airlie Beach.

Admire it from above

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure in the world and can be seen from outer space! Since we don’t recommend heading up that far, we have plenty of activities to safely see the reef from above. Most aerial activities leave from either Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island, with helicopter and seaplane being the two most popular options. From up in the blue skies, the sandy shores seem to sprawl to the horizon like a golden mega city. Sea eagles, ospreys and more of the region’s 175 bird species fly around with majesty. But if peacefully hovering above isn’t what you’re after and you’d rather join the birds in flight, then skydiving may be what you’re looking for. There’s no better way to appreciate the archipelago than plummeting straight towards it!

Back on shore

When the views of the ocean are as beautiful as they are in the Whitsundays, it’s easy to forget to turn around and look inland. But you’d be missing out if you didn’t explore some of the above-ground attractions scattered throughout all the islands. For golf enthusiasts or fans of unique experiences in general, head on over to Dent Island – Australia’s only championship golf course on its own island! A little further south in Mackay, you can experience the Sarina Sugar Tour, which whilst inland, is far from dry. There, you’ll learn about the production process of all kinds of yummy drinks, with tastings of fairy floss and ginger beer for the kids, and liqueur and rum for the big kids. If you’re looking to chase waterfalls, they’re never too far away. Notable options include Nara Inlet and Stonehaven Waterfalls on Hook Island and Cedar Creek near Airlie Beach. They are particularly impressive during the wet season, ensuring that the Whitsundays has something incredible to offer all year round!

Start planning your visit The Whitsundays here, with our range of curated experiences certain to make your holiday extraordinary. With a collection of 74 islands to explore, The Whitsundays is a coastal hideaway that you can truly disconnect at during a short break in Queensland.

Experience Oz

We acknowledge and pay respect to the Traditional Custodians of Country and their connections and continuous care for the skies, lands and waterways throughout Australia.