Named by Captain Cook in 1770, Whitsundays is a collection of over 60 islands that are part of the Great Barrier Reef between Bowen in the north and Mackay in the south.
It includes Hamilton, which is the main commercial airport for the area. It is 900 kms (560 mi) north of Brisbane. Flying time to Hamilton Island from Brisbane is about 1 hour, from Sydney about 1 hour 45 mins, and Melbourne about 2 hours 30 mins.
Description and Geography
The Whitsunday Islands were formed when the sea rose and drowned the valleys between mountains. The Islands are continental Islands in that they are formed by the land jutting out of the sea rather than being built up by coral. There are over 60 islands in Travel Destination Whitsundays, comprised of 4 groups – Whitsunday Group, Lindeman Group, Molle Group and Northern Group. They spread over approximately 200 kms (120 mi) of the Great Barrier Reef. The weather and climate is the same as Hamilton Island.
Things to do
Travel Destination Whitsundays is the most popular destination for yachting in the Southern Hemisphere. The fact that there are a lot of islands providing shelter regardless of wind direction, makes it an excellent cruising ground. If you can sail yourself and want to really get away from it all, a bareboat (sail it yourself) charter is the way to go. If you would rather sit back and let someone do the work of sailing, navigating, cooking and looking after you, then the sole or shared charter trips leaving Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour are for you.
Top things to do include:
- Whitehaven Beach
- Flying over Heart Reef
- Turtle spotting
- Sailing on the reef
- Paddle boarding
- Visit Hill Inlet
- Snorkelling The Great Barrier Reef
- Driving a golf buggy
Visit Whitehaven Beach by air (seaplane or helicopter) or by boat for a look at one of the most spectacular beaches on the planet. 7 kms (4 mi) long and made up of white sand, Whitehaven Beach has been voted the cleanest beach in Australia. The sand does not have any silicone in it to retain the heat, so it is cool to walk on, even on the hottest day in the most direct sun. Day trips to Whitehaven Beach leave from Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach.
Map of Whitsundays
Zoom in and out for an interactive map of Whitsundays