Inside the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays are 74 sun-drenched tropical islands with pearl beaches and popular resorts. The archipelago lies off the coast of central Queensland and is a series of continental islands, drowned hills jutting out above the turquoise Coral Sea. Six national parks protect their fragile ecosystem. Some are nature shelters, seaside campgrounds, and resort complexes.
Today, the 2,300 km long reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Calm conditions are ideal for sailing, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing and beach fishing. Airlie Beach and Shute Harbor are prime starting points for Whitsundays adventures by helicopter, seaplane, ferry and luxury yacht.
Great Barrier Reef
Shimmering beneath the clear Coral Sea, the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is the only living structure visible from space. To the Whitsunday archipelago, it acts as a comforting coral ring, shielding water from the great ocean waves and providing ideal conditions for sailing, boating, snorkelling and scuba diving. One of the richest ecosystems in the world, the reef has an incredible diversity of marine life. In addition to more than 1,625 species of fish and 1,400 types of coral, the reef is home to sea snakes, crocodiles, giant clams, turtles, whales, dolphins, sharks and rays.
From the air, visitors can understand its importance and see the famous Heart Reef. Spontaneously conceived, this heart-shaped coral cavity is a fitting symbol of how visitors feel when they first look at one of Mother Nature’s most astonishing masterpieces.
Famous as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Whitehaven is a fine white, sandy beach and a jade green sea 7 km long. This sparkling clean beach is located on Whitsunday Island, the largest island in the series and a popular spot for day trips and picnics. Visitors can explore the beach and the island on walking trails. The highlight is Hill Inlet, a beautiful cove at the northern end of the beach, where the tides shift the whirlpool of bright white sand and the ocean sea into a marble-colored mass. From above, it looks like an abstract watercolor painting. A look at Tongue Point provides an impressive perspective, while Tongue Bay is a popular anchor for bareboats.
Luxury yachts, ferries and speedboats take you to the island on day trips, and many overnight boat trips also stop. In addition, spectators can enjoy a panoramic bird’s eye view from a seaplane or helicopter. Camping is allowed on the south end of the beach.
Overwhelmed with attractions, resorts and activities, Hamilton Island is the only Whitsunday Island with a commercial airport. Accommodation ranges from the lavish Qualia on the northern tip of Hamilton to the yacht club bungalows and villas. Activities are also varied. A trip to the Great Barrier Reef and stunning Whitehaven Beach are the highlights and the island itself has plenty of its own. Guests can play golf and tennis, go hiking on the many trails, and explore the island by golf car, or drop by the shops and relax at one of the restaurants on the marina. Wild cockatoos and rainbow lorikeets often join diners here for lunch. Kids will love the wildlife park, bowling alley, go-kart and mini golf.
Like all islands, water sports are the mainstream, and you’ll find plenty to choose from here. Hamilton Island is easily reachable by air and sea. Non-stop flights operate from major Australian cities, while ferries regularly provide shuttle services from Airlie Beach on the mainland; the pass takes about 30 minutes.
The furthest part of the Whitsunday group, Hayman Island is home to a unique 5-star resort, One & Only. Visitors travel to this tiny treasure by seaplane, helicopter or luxury yacht. One of the first islands on the reef developed for tourism, Hayman is incredibly beautiful with tropical rainforest, rocky coves, mangroves, palm beaches, and even a botanical garden. . In addition to these beautiful coasts, visitors can hop on a helicopter to Whitehaven Beach or take a trip to the outer reef for some of the world’s best snorkelling and snorkeling. Kayaking, swimming, sailing, golfing on the golf course and hiking on walking trails for the view are other popular activities. If that’s too much effort, luxury spas await.
Just a kilometer from the mainland, the beautiful and slender island of Long Island is essentially a pristine national park. Coral reefs are located 150 meters offshore, more than 20 kilometers of walking trails through wasteland, and secluded coves along this snaking island provide safe anchors for boats. Long Island hosts three resorts that offer all the usual water sports, as well as beautiful beaches with palm-shadow hammocks. Thanks to its proximity to the island’s proximity to Shute Harbor, (20 minutes by ferry), and an affordable resort with the Kids Club and Spa, this is a convenient island getaway while still managing to get a natural feel.
A marina at Airlie Beach
A hub for backpackers and island day hikers, the mainland’s Airlie Beach resounds day and night. Tourism is the backbone of this Whitsunday gateway, where marina and resort developments continue to sprout along the coast, and outdoor cafes and restaurants line the streets. With such a strong tourism focus, it is a great base for organizing island adventures, many of which depart from Abell Point Marina. Guests will find a wide range of accommodations, from affordable hostels to luxury hotels.
Top tourist activities include the sparkling lagoon pool on the Esplanade and stroll along the seaside promenade. The beach is not great for swimming due to the possible presence of sea stingers. Every Saturday from 7am to 1pm, tourists and locals flock to Airlie Beach on the beach to browse the stalls for fresh produce, souvenirs, crafts and gifts.
About 10 kilometers from Airlie Beach, Shute Harbor is a bit more peaceful than its party-loving neighbor. Visitors can park their cars here and board a ferry to the marina islands where many private boats bobbing in the anchorage. To enjoy panoramic ocean and island views, watchers should drive to the top of Coral Point and take some photos from the headland overlooking the harbor. Those wishing to explore the area further away can embark on some scenic hikes in the surrounding national parks. Shute Harbor is also known for its excellent fishing. The fisherman can cast a line from a buoy near a marina or pull out deeper waters on a fishing boat.
Nick Dobrovolskis is Videographer, Photographer, Diver, fisherman and Adventurer from Queensland. He has a Facebook, Instagram & YouTube channel called Tide Vibes.
Live the dream & chase the Tide vibes !! Nick explores unique places, everything Australia has to offer on its amazing coastlines. On this trip in particular Nick explores the beautiful Whitsundays in Queensland, solo on his Jet ski.
Nick’s Adventure begins from the Port of Airlie, with Hayman island being the first stop. Starting from Hayman island, clockwise travels the entire distance right around the 12 islands and back to the port of Airlie beach. Follow Nick on this journey as he visual story tells his experience from Jet Ski, while snorkelling with Sharks and diving for Crayfish.
If you are impressed by the nature of Whitsundays thanks to Nick’s video, follow him on social media and subscribe to his Youtube channel. And don’t forget to share your trips with us via firstname.lastname@example.org, or our Facebook / Twitter. Thanks for reading !!