Whitsundays Islands

Island Bliss: Discovering the Things To Do in Whitsunday Islands (2024)

Whitsunday Islands is where azure waters meet pristine shores, and every moment is an opportunity for adventure and relaxation. Nestled in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), this tropical paradise has vibrant coral gardens beneath the surface. In this guide, you will find the perfect Whitsunday Islands things to do.

I have not seen anything like the Whitsunday Islands. It is truly a heaven on Earth. With pristine shades of water and white sandy beaches, the islands are an amazing and famous destination among the locals. Based on the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands has some spectacular snorkeling and diving spots.

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Heaven called Whitsunday Islands
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About Whitsunday Islands

Located on the east coast of Australia, between the Central Coast of Queensland state and the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday islands are a collection of around 74 islands. Renowned for their pristine beauty, turquoise waters, and vibrant coral reefs, the Whitsunday Islands are part of the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s most famous and diverse marine ecosystems.

Similar to Cairns, the Whitsunday islands serve as a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, allowing visitors to explore the remarkable underwater ecosystems through snorkeling and scuba diving.


Facts About Whitsunday Islands

Here are some fascinating details about the Whitsunday Islands:

  • The Whitsunday Islands comprise a total of 74 islands.
  • Merely 8 out of the 74 islands are inhabited.
  • These islands took shape millions of years ago, estimated to be around 110 million years in the past.
  • This archipelago constitutes Australia’s most extensive cluster of islands.
  • Approximately 70% of these islands are designated as national marine parks.
  • Among the distinctive features of the Whitsunday Islands is the Heart Reef, a natural coral formation resembling a heart.
  • The Ngaro people are the traditional custodians of the Whitsunday Islands.
  • These islands serve as prime locations for observing Humpback whales during their migration season.
  • With a tropical climate, the Whitsunday Islands are accessible year-round, boasting an average temperature of 26 degrees Celsius.
  • The origin of the silica sand on Whitehaven Beach remains a mystery.
  • The Proserpine River houses the highest concentration of crocodiles on Australia’s east coast.
  • A popular wedding destination, around 1500 couples tie the knot on the Whitsunday Islands every year.

How to get to Airlie Beach?

By Air

  • You need to get to Airlie beach to sail or fly into Whitsunday islands. The Whitsunday Coast airport located in Proserpine is the closest airport to Airlie beach.
    • Virgin Australia, Jetstar, and Tiger airways run frequent flights between Sydney and Whitsunday Coast airport with Jetstar and Tiger airways being the budgeted airlines.

By Public Transport

To reach Airlie beach from Brisbane, you need to take multiple public transports. First, you catch a train, operated by Queensland Rail, from Brisbane to Proserpine. The journey takes approximately 14 hours.

From Proserpine, you have two other options to reach Airlie Beach:

  • You can take a bus, operated by Whitsunday Transit, from Proserpine to Airlie beach. The journey takes around 30 minutes. Note that there are not too many frequently run buses.
  • Or you can take train to Mackay and then a bus from Mackay to Airlie beach. As Mackay is a larger town, there are more number of buses between Mackay and Airlie beach.

Where to stay in Whitsunday Islands?

Being one of the most popular travel destinations in Australia, Whitsunday Islands are homes to luxurious island resorts. And Airlie Beach offers a diverse range of lodging options, from upscale resorts to budget-friendly hostels.

If you are looking for a romantic and luxurious stay, you can choose to stay at either Hamilton Island or Hayman Island, part of the Whitsunday Islands. You can look for staying at Oceanfront Villa or Pavillions Penthouse that provide stunning ocean views.


If you are looking for budgeted options, you can consider staying at Airlie beach and then taking day tours to Whitsunday Islands. Some of the options are Paradise Cove Villa or Whitsundays BNB Retreat.

If you are looking for a hostel, then YHA Airlie beach is a great option. The location, staff and the cleanliness of the hostel are all very good.

Whitsunday Islands Things To Do

Whitsundays holds a special place in my heart and stands out as the most enchanting destination I have experienced in Australia. I genuinely consider it a slice of paradise on Earth, and I assure you, I am not exaggerating! The abundance of activities and breathtaking sights in Whitsundays only adds to its allure.

Have a coffee at Airlie Beach

Scenic Flight to See The Heart Reef

This, without a doubt, ranks at the pinnacle of my must-see destinations. The sight of the Heart Reef is nothing short of awe-inspiring and utterly breathtaking.

This natural wonder, formed in the shape of a heart, is exclusively accessible by seaplane or helicopter, making the experience truly extraordinary.

Heart Reef Queensland

Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach secures its spot among the top five breathtaking beaches. Renowned for its seven-kilometer protected stretch, this beach is celebrated for its crystal-clear azure waters and pristine white sand. Accessible solely by boat, seaplane, or helicopter, reaching Whitehaven Beach promises an exclusive and unforgettable experience.

Witness the sunset over Airlie Beach

Adding a touch of magic to your time in this coastal paradise, the sunset over Airlie Beach is a stunning spectacle. As the sun gracefully descends, casting warm hues across the sky, the tranquil waters of Airlie Beach transform into a canvas of vibrant colors.

Sipping a glass of wine while gliding over the ocean, witnessing the breathtaking sunset, is truly an experience to cherish. I highly recommend indulging in a sunset cruise.

Whether enjoyed from the shoreline, a scenic viewpoint, or a sunset cruise, witnessing the sunset over Airlie Beach is an essential part of the coastal charm that defines this idyllic destination.

Sail on Whitsundays

No visit to the Whitsundays is truly fulfilled without sailing its pristine waters. A sailing adventure is an absolute must-do experience! Navigate through the sheltered passages, feel the gentle breeze against your face, and witness the breathtaking scenery unfold around you. Whether you are an experienced sailor or a first-time adventurer, the Whitsunday Islands offer a range of sailing experiences, from bareboat charters to guided tours on luxurious vessels.

The Whitsunday Islands Wharf

Snorkel or Scuba Dive at Whitsunday Islands

Dive into the underwater wonderland of the Whitsunday Islands for an extraordinary snorkeling or scuba diving experience. The islands, nestled within the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, boast vibrant coral gardens and diverse marine life, making it a top-ranking destination for underwater exploration.

I would suggest snorkeling or scuba diving in Port Douglas for a better experience of seeing the world’s natural wonder Great Barrier Reef.

The Whitsunday Islands provide an enchanting underwater realm to explore. The rich biodiversity and pristine coral formations create a marine paradise, inviting all who venture below the surface to witness the beauty and diversity of one of the world’s most renowned natural wonders.

Snorkel or Scuba Dive at Whitsunday Islands

Staying on the Reef

If you are seeking an unparalleled experience in the Whitsunday Islands, consider staying on the reef itself for a truly immersive adventure. While traditional accommodations are available on the islands, the option to stay directly on the reef offers a unique and unforgettable experience.

Safety for Solo Female Travelers

The Whitsunday Islands are very safe for solo female travelers. With amazing and chilled out vibes, it is one of the safest places to visit in Australia. However, like any other place in the world, it is important to be cautious, especially at night.

Closing Notes

The Whitsunday Islands stand out as some of the most scenic islands in Australia. My visits to these breathtaking islands have been nothing short of amazing, and I have been fortunate enough to experience their beauty on many separate occasions.

While many tourists typically focus on Cairns and then return, I highly recommend extending your journey to include the Whitsunday Islands. It is an opportunity to witness unparalleled beauty at its absolute best.

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Island Bliss: Discovering the Things To Do in Whitsunday Islands (2024)
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