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The Whitsundays

There are islands, and then there are the 74 Islands of the Whitsundays, sitting pretty in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Oh, and did we mention one of the world’s best beaches – Whitehaven Beach – is here too? 

Welcome to paradise

There’s #nofilter required when you’ve got spectacular natural landscapes like this.

  • Take to the air for the must-have travel snap – flying over iconic Heart Reef.
  • Live in the lap of luxury on One&Only Hayman Island or Qualia on Hamilton Island, feed the stingrays on Daydream Island, swing in a hammock on Long Island or play a round of golf on Dent Island 
  • Explore the lesser-known Whitsunday Coast beaches of Cannonvale, Bowen and Cape Gloucester.
We are sailing (and snorkelling and diving)

Don your sunglasses and step aboard your own private charter yacht or join a day trip to sail or cruise your way around the Whitsunday Islands.

  • Snorkel or dive amongst the wonderland that is the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef and camp under the stars on a reef pontoon.
  • Jump in a glass-bottom boat for a peek below or hop between islands and dive into the warm water at every anchorage.
Islands don’t have all the fun

On the mainland, Airlie Beach has you covered if you’re looking for palm trees, outdoor markets, a sparkling lagoon, boardwalk walking trails, and alfresco restaurants, bars and nightclubs aplenty.

  • Head to Hideaway Bay to watch the sunset with a plate of fresh seafood and cold drink in hand.
  • Hike through the rainforest and cool off under the Cedar Creek Falls.
  • Join a crocodile-spotting safari on the Proserpine River, fish for barramundi, or just gorge yourself silly on the tropical delights of a Bowen Mango.
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Hardy Reef

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Hardy Reef, on the Great Barrier Reef off Airlie Beach, is home to the Reefworld Pontoon. There is spectacular fish life with Trevally, Coral Trout, Snapper and a host of smaller marine life as well as Giant Maori Wrasse and a two metre long Giant Queensland Groper that usually congregate for a free feed. Snorkelling is excellent, as is diving off nearby drop-offs where you'll find turtles, reef sharks and barracuda amongst a myriad of other intriguing reef species.

The Pinnacles

Hook Island, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Arguably the best dive site in the Whitsundays, with hard corals comparing favourably to those seen on the outer Great Barrier Reef. The best dive is off the western beach, adjacent to the Woodpile and swim east at a depth of seven to 15 metres. Large coral bommies dominate the terrain, reaching nearly to the surface. Acropora corals are everywhere and huge porite corals in the shape of boulders and massive towers can also be seen. Manta rays are very common in the cooler months, May to September, as are big Maori Wrasse. This dive is not for the faint-hearted as black and white tip reef sharks are frequently seen! In the shallow water, particularly off the western beach, the coral cover is nearly solid, mostly staghorn, with only a few sandy patches. Excellent snorkelling just off the western beach too. Diving depth is three to 18 metres. Diving visibility is typically three to 15 metres.

Heart Reef

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Heart Reef, in the Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays, is a stunning composition of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart. Located in Hardy Reef, Heart Reef is best experienced from the air by helicopter or seaplane, as visitors are unable to snorkel or dive there due it's protected status. Many tour companies will combine a scenic flight over Heart Reef with other breathtaking spots in the Whitsundays, including Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet. A certain highlight of any visit to the Whitsundays. Heart Reef was discovered in 1975 by one of Air Whitsunday's pilots and is now an internationally-recognised attraction of the Whitsundays and features on many postcards and brochures promoting the Whitsunday region and the Great Barrier Reef. Many an amateur photographer has been amazed by the fact that their own photos look just like the brochures! Heart Reef has been the site of many proposals and declarations of love over the years. If planning on making the ultimate romantic gesture, let your pilot know your plans and they'll be able to help you with some extra flight time over the famous icon.

Conway National Park

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Conway National Park is a peaceful coastal park overlooking the Whitsunday Passage, protecting rainforest-clad mountains, forested hills and deep valleys. The Gia and Ngaro Elders, Traditional Owners of the Conway Ranges, say 'Wadda-moolie' (welcome) to their traditional country. It is home to Proserpine rock-wallabies and two of Australia’s mound-building birds: the Australian brush-turkey and orange-footed scrubfowl. Bush camp beside a secluded pebbly beach overlooking Daydream Island (walk-in camping area only - sites are limited). Camping fees apply. From Mount Rooper lookout, take in superb views over the islands: Hamilton, Dent, Long and Henning. The view from the ridge above secluded Coral Beach is worth the effort of reaching there. From the picnic area on Shute Harbour Road, explore the forest.

Blue Pearl Bay

Hayman Island, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Blue Pearl Bay is located on the north-western side of Hayman Island in the Whitsundays Group. Popular with tourists and locals for snorkelling, diving and sightseeing, Blue Pearl Bay is known for its coral and fish life including a resident Maori Wrasse. Day tours and overnight boats visit Blue Pearl Bay for snorkelling and or scuba diving. Visitors typically swim directly off their vessel, or tender into the southern beach and enter the water from the coral beach. Diving depth is from three to 18 metres. Diving visibility is typically from three to 15 metres. Best coral cover to be seen in shallow water off the southern beach. Scattered bommies with silty sand bottom at five to 18 metres, dropping off to coral rubble and silty sand below 18 metres. Best dive off southern beach, near Castle Rock. Shallow coral ledge (two to three metres) dropping off as descent wall to 10 to 15 metres. Wall has narrow canyons and caves making for great exploration. Strong corals near Castle Rock have some striking gorgonian fans at eight to 15 metres as well as whip corals. The shallow waters are predominately staghorn coral. Good protection from all winds except north-westerlies.

Fairey Reef

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Situated on the Great Barrier Reef, Fairey Reef has a number of excellent dive sites popular with local dive operators. Sites such as Henry's Bommie, Little Fairey Inlet, The Shoals and Tina's Arm are all at Fairey Reef. Henry's Bommie: On the north-western flank of the reef, Henry's Bommie is considered a premier attraction reaching from a depth of 12 metres to near the surface. A narrow gap opens into a cave which is worth exploring but beware the small opening. Inside you may find a huge clam and a resident turtle that is often spotted at night. Circumnavigation of the bommie is the best way to see it all and there is good coral cover and clouds of small tropical fish. Visibility: 10 - 20 metres Diving depth: 5 - 15 metres. Little Fairey Inlet: On the central western side of the reef, this is a classic dive starting at a wall along the entrance to the inlet at a depth of 16 metres. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and fish life is abundant with brightly coloured angelfish, cod, trout and sweetlip often seen. Visibility: 10 - 20 metres Diving depth: 10 - 18 metres.

Butterfly Bay - Hook Island

Hook Island, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
A popular bareboat anchorage, Butterfly Bay is situated on the northern side of Hook Island. There are limited public moorings and snorkelling can be enjoyed along the bay edge or just off the beach. Offering coral outcrops with shallow walls, the bay is populated by many small, colourful reef fish species. The best of the bommies is found in the centre of the bay, although it may be difficult to locate at high tide. Be wary of tidal currents when moving towards the centre of the bay, away from the edges. Visibility: 2 - 10 metres. Diving depth: 5 - 12 metres. Bottom: coral cover with large patches of coral rubble and silty sand.

Langford Island

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Langford Island, near Hayman Island in the northern Whitsundays is a popular spot with sailors, divers and snorkellers. Many of the bareboats and crewed sailing boats will anchor near Langford Island. Langford Island is relatively small, but features a long sand spit that all but disappears at high tide. This is an excellent spot for a picnic, sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling. The best diving is found on the north-western end of the beach where scattered bommies offer an interesting maze to explore and there are a few shallow walls at the eastern end of the island. The majority of fish life is small, but abundant. Expect reasonable protection from all but the strongest wind conditions and moderate tidal currents at all but slack tides. Snorkellers will enjoy the ability to snorkel straight off the length of the beach, with the best areas to explore being closest to the island.

Whitehaven Beach

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Whitehaven Beach is a pristine, award winning beach on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays. Whitehaven Beach stretches over seven kilometres and boasts brilliant white silica sand that is among the purest in the world. Sink your feet into the sand and wade into the warm waves that gently lap the shore and you'll soon realise why people come here from all over the world. At the northern end of Whitehaven Beach is Hill Inlet, a stunning inlet where the tide shifts the sand and water to create a beautiful fusion of colours. Many people claim Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach are the most beautiful places they've ever seen. The lookout at Tongue Point is the best spot from which to view the swirling sands of Hill Inlet, so if you don't mind a short bushwalk, book your Whitehaven tour with an operator that visits the lookout. Whitehaven Beach can be experienced in several ways. If you're interested in a day trip there are ferries, yachts, power boats and luxury cruising yachts that depart from Airlie Beach. A variety of sailing companies also offer multi-day charters that include a memorable visit to Whitehaven Beach.

Cedar Creek Falls

Proserpine, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
Located approximately 20 kilometres from Proserpine on Saltwater Creek Road, off Conway Beach Road is the picturesque Cedar Creek Falls. These waterfalls are spectacular in the wet season and offer a year-round natural swimming pool at the base of the falls. They are set in a natural rock amphitheatre. The flora and fauna will amaze you, particularly the strangler figs, red and white cedars and wild orchids. There are also bush walks up and around the falls. Majestic Alexandra Palms line the creek as it continues its journey to the ocean. Please note that jumping or diving off the waterfall is dangerous and strictly prohibited.
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