Swim among turtles and marine life, spot a school of whales migrating, feel the softest sands beneath your feet, and explore the turquoise waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Welcome to an experience of a lifetime – the Whitsunday Islands.
To experience the most of the Whitsundays, you’ll need to hop from island to island, to explore what the area has to offer. Here are our picks of the best Whitsundays islands that shouldn’t be missed.
From adrenaline rushing water sports to romantic sunsets, Hamilton Island offers a wide range of things to do for everyone. It’s a great place to unwind and slow down to the island vibe, as well as being a fantastic place for thrill seekers and marine life lovers.
One of Australia’s favourite holiday destinations, its white beaches, crystal clear teal waters, and abundance of marine life makes Hamilton Island the busiest island in the Whitsundays. With a population of just over 1,000, the island has its own airport, supermarket, post office, and plenty of accommodation for visitors.
From Hamilton Island, you can easily access the Great Barrier Reef. Go on a snorkelling or diving tour and take advantage of the fantastic dive sites around, including Paradise Lagoon, Stepping Stones, and Manta Ray Drop Off.
Spoil yourself with aerial views in a helicopter or seaplane, and explore the reef, Whitehaven Beach, and the famous Heart Reef featuring a stunning composition that has naturally formed in the shape of a heart.
There’s plenty of water sports options from jet ski tours through hidden coves to parasailing, kayaking, waterboarding and more. You could even embark on a fishing expedition.
Be on the lookout for turtles and whales in the outer waters around the island. And don’t forget to dip your toes in the beautiful waters of Catseye Beach while admiring the spectacular sunset. For the best sunset landscape, head to Hamilton Island’s hilltop bar, One Tree Hill, for unbeatable views.
A quick five minute boat ride from Hamilton Island, Dent Island is an oasis of green rolling hills surrounded by the magnificent blue waters of the ocean.
This is the place to be if you are an avid golfer, given how it is home to the Hamilton Island Golf Club. Start your morning with sunrise yoga on a helicopter pad, a healthy breakfast prepared by the golf club, and then head to the course for some swinging action.
Beyond golfing, Dent Island also offers amazing walking tracks to explore more of the island and calm waters for kayaking and canoeing. Access to Dent Island is easy from Hamilton Island, with ferries leaving every hour.
Renowned for being one of the most breathtaking beaches in Australia, Whitehaven Beach spans a spectacular 7 kilometres filled with white sands surrounded by the turquoise sea.
Explore the beach through its walking trails, and head to Hill Inlet for a picturesque view of marbled colours as the change in tides swirl bright white sands and aqua seas together. The view from above resembles that of a magnificent abstract watercolour masterpiece.
Camping is permitted on the southern end of the beach, although most visitors only spend a day here.
If you’re looking for luxury and finesse, Hayman Island is the Whitsundays island for you. Home to the 5 star InterContinental Hayman Island Resort, the recent $100 million renovation has given the resort a luxurious facelift that doesn’t go unnoticed.
The atmosphere is fantastic, with majestic rainforests, rocky coves, mangroves, palm fringed beaches, and a botanic garden all to be explored.
Hop aboard a helicopter and visit Whitehaven Beach, or take a tour to the outer reef and experience some of the world’s best snorkelling and diving spots.
Long Island is mostly a national park with more than 13 kilometres of walking tracks weaving in and out of bushlands, secluded coves, and reefs that lie less than 15 metres offshore. It’s easy to access and is only a 20 minute ferry ride from Shute Harbour.
Here, you’ll find the Elysian Retreat featuring a solar powered resort that caters to a maximum of only 20 guests. It’s adult’s only and features the best of Long Island luxury. For a more affordable boutique resort, head to Palm Bay Resort Whitsundays, which offers a range of accommodation including self catering.
Daydream Island is popular among families and is the smallest island in the Whitsundays island group, and is one of the closest to the mainland. The Daydream Island Resort takes up almost all of the island, and with its recent facelift in 2019, the attractions are amazing.
Facilities include a sparkling lagoon-style pool, an outdoor aquarium with sharks and stingrays, a kid’s club, a spa, and so much more. Watersports are aplenty, and sightseeing and explorations include reef fishing, coral tours, and rainforest walks.
Wrapping up your Whitsundays experience
Just because you’re no longer island hopping doesn’t mean you have to bid your Whitsundays experience goodbye.
Wrap your visit nicely with a warm, hearty local meal at the all-time favourite Grand View Hotel in Bowen. Exceptional customer service and impeccable local vibes await, along with irresistible food and a whole lot of Bowen history that will have you in wow.
From fresh caught seafood to Aussie classics and fusion delights, it’s time to explore the best delicacies the Whitsundays has to offer by dropping by the Grand View Hotel in Bowen for a feast.
Banner image credit: Great Adventures