Whitsunday IslandsAustralia

Image for Whitsunday Islands featuring general coastal views, a sandy beach and swimming

The Australian Tourism Board were right to choose this cluster of tropical islands as the face of Australian tourism, as they are as idyllic as they come.

When people dream of the white-sand beaches of northern Australia, it’s probably this group of islands that have inspired them. Rising from the turquoise waters just off the coast of Queensland’s central coast, the Whitsunday Islands are an idyllic tropical escape. They are considered one of the best destinations in the world for sailing holidays, and are located in the Coral Seabetween the Great Barrier Reef and Queensland's tropical north coast.

The Whitsundays is comprised of 74 separate islands. A handful of these have townships and resorts while many are completely unspoiled. Take the family to Hamilton Island which has a major resort and plenty of activities, while nearby Hayman is perfect if you are looking for a more exclusive experience. If you are the adventurous type, consider chartering a yacht for a few days and explore the islands at your leisure.

Bring your snorkel to come face to face with the tropical fish and colourful coral beneath the surface of the Coral Sea. Dive operators are based out of Hamilton Island and offer experiences tailored to all experience levels. While boating is a great way to reach the more remote parts of the island group, swimming straight off the shore is one of the most popular activities in the region.

Take a day trip to Whitehaven Beach to witness the bright, white sand that stretches for nearly 7 kilometers (4 miles). The rainforest that runs almost to the shore of most islands offers excellent hikes, and the view from Whitsunday Peak on the main island is breathtaking.

The Whitsunday Islands remain warm year round, making it a popular destination in winter for visitors from the south of Australia. Airports on Hamilton Island and at Proserpine on the mainland service the islands. Regular charter boats and ferries run between Airlie Beach – the gateway to the islands – and Hamilton Island. Once on the islands boats can be hired or chartered to move amongst them.

Top hotels in Whitsunday Islands

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Reef View Hotel
Reef View Hotel
4 out of 5
12 Resort Drive, Hamilton Island, QLD
AU$390
per night
Feb 23 - Feb 24

Located in Hamilton Island, this beachfront hotel is in the city centre and within a 15-minute walk of Catseye Beach and Hamilton Island Marina. Hamilton Island ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,235 reviews)

"Great location. Room view was exceptional and the rooms are spacious. Really great bed - size, comfort, linen. Rooms are a bit tired, but they are cared for so this is not a big deal, but it did create some very minor niggles, like our TV didn’t work. Staff were very responsive to all queries. The ..."…"

Reviewed on 9 Feb. 2020

Reef View Hotel
Whitsunday Apartments
Whitsunday Apartments
4 out of 5
14 Resort Drive, Hamilton Island, QLD
AU$330
per night
Feb 23 - Feb 24

Offering direct access to the beach, this Hamilton Island aparthotel is in a national park and within a 15-minute walk of Catseye Beach and Hamilton Island Marina. ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (1,955 reviews)

"Spacious apartment 1 bed but.could accom 4. Staff wonderfully helpful. 3 pools to choose from . Taking the green bus five minutes from the marina & restaurants. Can’t praise too highly"…"

Reviewed on 17 Feb. 2020

Whitsunday Apartments
Palm Bungalows
Palm Bungalows
3 out of 5
3 Resort Drive, Hamilton Island, QLD
AU$425
per night
Feb 22 - Feb 23

This family-friendly Hamilton Island resort is located near the airport, just steps away from Catseye Beach and WILD LIFE Hamilton Island. Hamilton Island Marina ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (339 reviews)

"The bungalows are a home from home, very easy access and have all the things you require."…"

Reviewed on 11 Jan. 2020

Palm Bungalows

Popular activities in Whitsunday Islands

Whitehaven Beach
Image for Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach

4.5/5(281 reviews)

Stroll along this famous beach on Whitsunday Island to experience its dazzling white sands and gently lapping waters in different hues of blue and green.

Hamilton Island Marina
Image for Hamilton Island Marina

Hamilton Island Marina

4.5/5(254 reviews)

Cruise in for a visit or begin your boating adventure in the Great Barrier Reef from this world-class marina and make use of its fantastic facilities and great dining.

Catseye Beach
Image for Catseye Beach

Catseye Beach

4.5/5(153 reviews)

Swim, stroll, try exciting watersports or simply recline under the shade of palm trees and enjoy the views from one of Hamilton Island’s main beaches.

Top activities in Whitsunday Islands

Whitehaven Day Sail & Snorkelling in the Whitsundays
Image for Whitehaven Day Sail & Snorkelling in the Whitsundays

Whitehaven Day Sail & Snorkelling in the Whitsundays

98% of travellers recommend
AU$130
Per adult
Whitsunday Islands Jet Ski Tour - Two Island Safari
Image for Whitsunday Islands Jet Ski Tour - Two Island Safari

Whitsunday Islands Jet Ski Tour - Two Island Safari

98% of travellers recommend
AU$140
Per adult
Great Barrier Reef Day Cruise to Reefworld
Image for Great Barrier Reef Day Cruise to Reefworld

Great Barrier Reef Day Cruise to Reefworld

90% of travellers recommend
AU$177
Per adult
3-Day Sail & Snorkel Adventure in the Whitsunday Islands
Image for 3-Day Sail & Snorkel Adventure in the Whitsunday Islands

3-Day Sail & Snorkel Adventure in the Whitsunday Islands

AU$534
Per adult
Camira Whitehaven Beach Sailing Adventure
Image for Camira Whitehaven Beach Sailing Adventure

Camira Whitehaven Beach Sailing Adventure

92% of travellers recommend
AU$159
Per adult
Whitsunday Island & Whitehaven Beach Half-Day Cruise
Image for Whitsunday Island & Whitehaven Beach Half-Day Cruise

Whitsunday Island & Whitehaven Beach Half-Day Cruise

88% of travellers recommend
AU$115
Per adult