Whether it’s your first or fifth visit to the Whitsundays, there’s so much to see and do while you are here. The hardest part is choosing what you want to do first!
We’ve compiled our top ten ‘must do’s’ of the Whitsundays to help you plan your holiday:
Spectacular Whitehaven Beach
Undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Whitehaven Beach is a 7km stretch of stunning white silica sand on the eastern side of deserted Whitsunday Island. At the southern end of the beach you can swim, sunbathe and wallow in the crystal clear waters, and the northern end is home to spectacular Hill Inlet and the breathtaking lookout over the famous swirling sands. There are also several fringing coral reefs off the islands nearby which some tour companies visit during their Whitehaven Beach tours.
Snorkel or dive on the Great Barrier Reef
Cruise on board a high speed, modern and comfortable vessel through the Whitsundays, passing by island resorts, deserted islands, secluded bays and isolated beaches enroute to the outer Great Barrier Reef. Once recovered from the ‘WOW’ of your arrival at spectacular Hardy Reef, you’ll explore the underwater wonderland and be in awe of the magnificent corals and abundance of fish and marine life. The permanently moored Reefworld pontoon has a choice of spaces to relax in and a large range of activities.
Optional extras also include scenic helicopter flights over famous Heart Reef, guided snorkelling tours, professional photography to remember the day, or a massage on the pontoon or while cruising on the boat.
Reefworld is adjacent to a deep corals wall located in a calm and protected ‘river’ between reefs, where you can safely explore the length and depth of the reef life in the area. The prolific fish life will surprise and delight you – especially the giant grouper!
Sailing through the 74 islands
The Whitsundays is renowned as a sailor’s paradise, with the 74 islands providing protection from the open ocean. There are so many different options to choose from to sail this beautiful region – from a one day experience to hiring your own sailing yacht and captaining your own adventure!
It’s all about the journey as the sails flap in the breeze and you lie back on deck taking in the scenery.
Scenic flight over Heart Reef and the islands
The best way to truly appreciate the unique landscape of the Whitsundays is from the air. Seaplanes, fixed wing planes and helicopters all provide stunning scenic tours of the region from a short sightseers tour to a full day exploring the islands, Whitehaven Beach and reef including snorkelling at secluded, private reefs and/or a champagne picnic on the beach.
Island hop around the island resorts
Each of the different island resorts have their own vibe and facilities to explore. Jump on one of the scheduled ferry services to explore Hamilton and/or Daydream Island in a day.
Hamilton Island is the largest island resort in the region, with so many activities to fill your day – swimming at the beach or in the huge resort pool, exploring the island by golf buggy, visiting the Wildlife Park, racing a Go Kart, thrill seeking in a jet boat or jet ski, and so much more!
Daydream Island is famous for the Living Reef winding throughout the small island. Get up close, personal, and hands on with reef creatures and corals and learn all about the amazing Great Barrier Reef. There are also resort pools and a restaurant for lunch.
Explore and snorkel fringing coral reefs
You don’t need to go all the way to the outer Great Barrier Reef to enjoy spectacular corals and marine life. The Whitsunday islands are all fringed by coral reefs, teeming with scenic underwater life to be enjoyed. Take a shorter boat cruise to a deserted island and snorkel straight off the side of the boat.
Scenic drives around the Whitsunday Coast
While every shade of blue is what the Whitsundays is famous for, there’s plenty more to be explored along the coastline. Lush national park bush walks, waterfalls and the greens of the region’s cane farms make for an enjoyable day out. You can also take a drive to secluded beaches along the coastline for lunch.
The town of Proserpine is just 20 minutes from our park and is home to some great Art Deco buildings, friendly country pubs, and boutique shops. Bowen is 45 minutes north and features several beautiful beaches and a friendly town centre. Collinsville is approximately 2 hours from our park and is a small friendly mining town with the wonderful ‘Coal Face Experience’ a great day trip activity.
Enjoy the fun atmosphere of Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach is the hub of the Whitsunday Coast, and the gateway to the Whitsunday islands, Whitehaven Beach and the Great Barrier Reef. It is a cosmopolitan town, with oceanfront restaurants and cafes, all the conveniences a holidaymaker could need, and by night it’s a bustling entertainment precinct. Every night in Airlie Beach is a Saturday night!
The huge man made swimming lagoon overlooking the islands is a haven for all visitors to Airlie Beach.
Spend an unforgettable night sleeping at the reef
There can be few more unique experiences offered in the world than the chance to sleep under the stars, 40 nautical miles from shore on the Great Barrier Reef! Cruise Whitsundays’ “Reefworld” is located on Hardy Reef – one of the most spectacular stretches of the Great Barrier Reef and for a lucky few, it’s a once in a life time, breathtaking and memorable overnight experience.
Reefsleep guests travel with the other day guests to the outer reef. By day, all the amazing activities offered on the Great Barrier Reef adventure are there to be enjoyed –snorkelling and swimming with thousands of fish, or optional extras like scuba diving, massages and scenic helicopter flights over nearby Heart Reef. But by 3pm, the day guests depart and you get Reefworld all to yourselves. Watch the sun set over the reef while you sip champagne and then see the reef really come to life in the darkness of the night. You sleep under the stars in a comfy swag on the top deck of the pontoon, the tranquility of the ocean lulling you to sleep. In the morning, enjoy more private time with the reef before the day guests rejoin you. This isn’t a five star accommodation experience – it’s a five million star, once in a lifetime experience!
Walk one of the many beautiful scenic island or coast national park walks
By far the vast majority of the Whitsunday Islands are national park, as well as much of Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday coastline state and national parks. There are a large number of walks suitable for all fitness levels to enjoy on the coast and islands. The Whitsunday Great Walk is a challenging 28km trek but with spectacularly stunning scenic views as a reward. You could also try the Ngaro Sea Trail, following in the footsteps of the first Whitsundays locals – the Ngaro people who inhabited the Whitsunday islands and coast.
There’s also plenty of shorter walks on the islands and coast – just ask our tour desk staff for advice. Our favourite is the Coral Beach walk down near Shute Harbour!