The Whitsundays are Australia’s most famous islands, right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. These 74 jewels are blessed with powder-white sands, emerald rainforest, untouched reefs and upscale resorts, as well as the iconic Heart Reef and Whitehaven Beach.
The mainland gateway to the Whitsunday islands, Airlie Beach is surrounded by beaches, lagoons and national parks. When the sun goes down, the town comes alive with sprawling pubs, raucous bars and buzzing nightclubs. Discover Conway National Park, just 15 away, with its rainforest-clad hills, deserted beaches and sweeping views over the Whitsunday Passage.
Proserpine Airport is about 40 minutes from Airlie Beach, with car, taxi and shuttle bus transfers.
Each of Whitsunday islands has its own special charm. Hamilton Island is the most developed, with bars and restaurants, a large marina and multiple accommodation options, including family-friendly hotels and self-contained apartments. The vast, uninhabited Whitsunday Island is covered in pristine rainforest and boasts the award-winning Whitehaven Beach, a seven-kilometre stretch of brilliant white sand.
Boats depart daily from Airlie Beach to sail to the Whitsundays. The journey to Hamilton Island takes one hour and you can explore Whitehaven Beach on a half-day tour.
The Whitsunday Coast is just as impressive as the islands. Spend a day beach-hopping, swimming, fishing or lazing around Cape Gloucester and seek out the tiny hidden hamlet of Hydeaway Bay, with its long sandy beach and fringing reef. Take a dip in Cedar Creek Falls, surrounded by wild orchids, colourful butterflies and curious turtles.
Fly into Proserpine Airport from Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. It’s just a short drive from Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Coast. By car, the region is about 12 hours from Brisbane or seven hours from Cairns.
Where else in the world can you dive off a seaplane wing into crystal clear water on the Great Barrier Reef? Kate Duffy