Photo: Queensland Coast
Wilderness resorts, secluded beaches, islands of green amidst aqua blue glistening ocean waters and the Great Barrier Reef.
The Whitsunday Islands, consisting of a collection of 74 tropical islands off the North Queensland Coast were first sighted by Captain James Cook in 1770 on Whit Sunday.
Access is easier these days, regular flights operate from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to the Hamilton and Proserpine airports. On eight of the islands there are resorts, there is also good choice in accommodation on the nearby mainland, including Airlie Beach.
Airlie Beach, on the mainland, attracts visitors in itself, but also serves as the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. You can base yourself here to explore the Great Barrier Reef, the surrounding islands or the stunning coastline and hinterlands.
To the north is Dryander National Park, renowned as a home for the endangered Proserpine rock-wallaby. Access to the park is available by boat from Airlie Beach or Dingo Beach.
On the south of Airlie Beach is the Conway National Park. Part of the ancient mountain ranges that include the Whitsunday Islands, isolated after the end of the last ice age. At the park are camping facilities and walks that take in the splendour of the surrounds, including magnificent views of the islands.
Further south is Mackay. See more about Mackay Queensland.
Cruising the Whitsunday Passage is an attraction, there are plenty of operators offering cruises and charter expeditions. You can also go "Bareboating."
With Bareboating, you can hire a motorboat, catamaran or sailing yacht on a skipper yourself with friends cruise. You will need some experience, there are guides available.
Whitsunday Island itself is uninhabited by people, pristine mountainous terrain covered with green. There is strictly limited camping available on the island from the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service at Arlie Beach - Phone 13 1304.
Brampton Island has a national park, wildlife sanctuary and twelve white sandy beaches. The resort on the island has a huge array of activities, elegant dining is available as are picnics on the beach, with plenty to do at night.
During the day, there is golf and tennis amongst other things on Brampton, but the national park, the beaches, watersports, snorkelling, diving and sailing are great ways to while the days away.
The smallest of the island resorts is Daydream. They have a kid’s club, a good selection of facilities, 3 restaurants and a bakery, 2 pool bars, 3 outdoor lagoon style swimming pools and spa’s. The surrounding reef is only metres away.
Hamilton Island is one of the larger islands, great for families. Activities available include sea kayaking, twilight sailing, game fishing, scenic flights, diving, cuddling a koala, bushwalking, relaxing by the pool, waterskiing. Or you can just relax on the beach or by the pool. A good range of restaurants are on the island, at the Koala Gallery Wildlife Experience you can enjoy the "Breakfast with the Koalas". More about Hamilton Island.
Hayman is the most northern of the islands, the resort is 5 star, there are cruises and tours available to the the beaches and Barrier Reef locations. Plenty of things to do for kids of all ages, there are some glorious secluded tropical beaches with magnificent views, easily accessed from the walking trails.
Hook Island is part of the Conway National Park, there is an affordable beachside campground, as well as cabins and dormitory style accommodation.
The South Molle Island resort is orientated to the young at heart: South Molle, Australia Great Barrier Reef.
There are many other islands to explore and enjoy on this natural South Pacific wonder: Great Barrier Reef.
The average temperatures in the region range from 10 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius. There is a well-defined dry season during winter (Australia Jun - Aug).
Between January and March the days are marked by high humidity and a strong seasonal rainfall. Temperatures vary between 20C to 30C. Climate is usually even more temperate on the islands themselves.
Shows Cairns and Surrounding towns, beaches, national parks and places to go : Tropical North - Cairns Map.
Why not try a working holiday in Queensland - Work in Australia.
Accommodation in Queensland - Hotels in Australia.
Search the Australia Tourist Guide
Photo: Reefs amongst the blue Azure - The Great Barrier Reef