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Whitsunday Islands National Park

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area

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The hilly islands of Whitsunday Islands National Park dot the aquamarine waters of the scenic Whitsunday Passage. Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island is world-renowned for its pure white silica sand and crystal-clear water. Part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, the reefs contain an outstanding variety of corals.

From May to September, the Whitsundays are an important calving ground for migrating humpback whales, keep an eye out and you may be rewarded. For great views, take a walk along various sections of the Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail. At Nara Inlet, Hook Island; admire precious rock art by the Ngaro people. Snorkel, sail, or relax in an idyllic setting. Camping is permitted on Whitsunday, Hook, Cid and Henning islands but campers must be self-sufficient. Camping fees apply and bookings are essential. Book in advance for school holidays. Take water and a fuel stove. Check restrictions on activities such as anchoring, fishing, spearfishing and collecting.

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Children:

Children are welcome.
Whitsunday Islands
Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Queensland
Australia

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The Pinnacles

Hook Island, Whitsunday Area
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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.

Blue Pearl Bay

Hayman Island, Whitsunday Area
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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.

Langford Island

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
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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.

Butterfly Bay - Hook Island

Hook Island, Whitsunday Area
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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.

Whitehaven Beach

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
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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.

Ngaro Cultural Site

Whitsundays, Whitsunday Area
Free Entry
The Ngaro people have walked this land for over 9,000 years. Protected from the elements in a once-hidden cave, Ngaro artwork adorns the fragile rock surface. The track begins deep inside Nara Inlet on Hook Island — an excellent overnight anchorage. Short and initially steep, the stepped track leads up the side of the inlet to a viewing platform at the cave’s entrance. Allow at least an hour to immerse yourself in the Ngaro cultural stories of the site.

Maureens Cove, Hook Island

Hook Island, Whitsunday Area
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Situated on the northern side of Hook Island, Maureen's Cove is a popular anchorage with sailors and divers alike. There are two dive sites at Maureen's Cove. At the back of the cove, on the western side of the beach is a series of bommies starting at 12 - 15 metres and rising to within three metres of the surface, parallel to the shoreline. Gullies and shallow caves make for an interesting dive, as does the abundance of medium-sized fish life. Along the Eastern edge is another good dive site known locally as 'Boulders'. Plate corals and other acropora dominate the shallow ledge which drops off as a small wall to 10 - 12 metres. This is also the best spot for snorkelling. The best corals, including large gorgonian fans, are near the point but beware of strong currents. Visibility: 3 - 15 metres. Diving depth: 3 - 15 metres. Bottom: large coral bommies and sandy bottom at back of cove. Good shallow coral cover with coral rubble and silty sand on the eastern side of the cove. Camping is permitted on the beach at Maureen's Cove, National Park camping permits are required.

Lindeman Islands National Park

Lindeman Island, Mackay Area
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Lindeman Islands National Park is part of the world famous Whitsunday islands and Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Aboriginal people referred to the main island, Lindeman, as Yara-kimba, the place of snapper-bream fish. The fourteen islands of the park feature a variety of vegetation types including rainforest in sheltered pockets, open forest in drier areas, grasslands and wetlands. Well-maintained tracks traverse Lindeman and Seaforth islands. While water is usually clearer on the northern end of outer islands, snorkelling over reef flats at high tide can still be rewarding. From May to September look for humpback whales. View sunsets over Neck Bay and admire spectacular vistas from Lindeman's Mount Oldfield. Birdwatchers will delight in more than 90 bird species that inhabit or visit the islands. Camping is permitted on three islands. Camping fees apply and bookings are essential. Book in advance for school holidays. Take water and a fuel stove. Check restrictions on activities such as spearfishing, collecting and fishing.

Molle Islands National Park

South Molle Island, Whitsunday Area
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Molle Islands National Park covers a picturesque cluster of islands in the heart of the Whitsundays with white sandy beaches and pockets of rainforest, encircled by the aqua waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The islands provide a wildlife refuge and are popular with nature lovers. South Molle is the largest, offering walking tracks with stunning views. Snorkel at Sandy Bay. Sail around the islands. Bush camp on some islands. Camping bookings are essential. It is recommended to book in advance for school holidays. Take water and a fuel stove. At low tide walk between South and Mid Molle islands. In late spring, witness an underwater snowstorm - the annual spawning of coral. Check restrictions on activities such as spearfishing, anchoring, fishing and collecting.

Manta Ray Bay Dive Site

Hook Island, Whitsunday Area
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Manta Ray Bay, at Hook Island in the Whitsundays, has an array of underwater valleys, caves, and swim-throughs leading all the way to the seafloor 25 metres below. Considered one of the best dive and snorkel sites in the inshore islands, Manta Ray Bay has a good coverage of hard and soft corals and abundant marine life including Maori Wrasse and Manta Rays in winter.
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