Located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef on the Queensland coast, lies 74 island wonders, the Whitsunday Islands Australia. The majority of the Whitsunday Islands are uninhabited national park islands, but four islands offer a variety of resort accommodations, all with the Great Barrier Reef and fringing coral reefs at their doorstep. Whether it be eco-style, family-friendly, all-inclusive, activity-based, food and wine focused or pure luxury, there is a resort experience to please everyone.
Let the spectacular landscape and endless horizon dotted with islands wash over you as you experience the ultimate in adventure and relaxation. A true paradise, the clear protected waters of the Whitsunday Islands lends itself to some of the best sailing in the southern hemisphere, so why not hire charter a yacht or go boating and be the captain of your own crew.
Relax with a sunset cocktail on board your vessel or by the resort pool. Swim at one of the many secluded beaches and witness the incredible marine life which calls the fringing reefs around the islands home. Enjoy great local seafood and produce at one of the many restaurants, and take advantage of the spa facilities to get a massage or treatment.
Or hire a jet ski and skim along the water, or take in the panorama of the Whitsundays from the air in a seaplane or helicopter. Or for the ultimate birds-eye-view, take the plunge and go skydiving above one of the most amazing natural landscapes in Australia. There really is something for everyone in the Whitsundays! People travel from all over the world to see the white sands of Whitehaven Beach and the beauty of Heart Reef, as well as stay at some of the world’s best hotels. The Great Barrier Reef protects the islands from large swells, making them ideal for sailing, swimming, snorkeling, and relaxing on secluded beaches and in hidden bays.
Whitsunday Islands Weather (When to Visit)
The Whitsundays enjoy a tropical climate of hot summers, warm winters and bright spring and autumn days. Average daily temperatures are around 73°F in the winter months of June and July, and up to 86°F in December and January during the height of summer. Water temperatures remain a welcoming 77°F most of the year round. The tropical wet season occurs during January to March when days can be steamy and the summer heat is often broken by tropical showers.
The months of October through May is known as ‘stinger season.’ During this time, the waters may contain the box jellyfish and the Irukandji, both of which can deliver a painful and/or potentially fatal sting. Though jellyfish fatalities are highly uncommon in the Whitsunday Islands, it is always recommended to take the proper precautions. During the stinger season, swimmers and snorkelers should always wear protective stinger suits, which prevent jellyfish tentacles from accessing the covered skin. You should always pay attention to any posted signs in an area, noting if swimming is prohibited or if there are other warnings.This doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t visit the Whitsundays in stinger season. 8 million tourists visit the islands annually, throughout the entirety of the year.
September is the ideal time of year to visit the Whitsundays. It provides sunny days and the least expected rainfall, with temperatures around a maximum of 78°F. Humidity is low this time of year, and the water is generally perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Boating enthusiasts consider September a wonderful time to enjoy a bare boat yacht charter. The tides result in beautiful full moon nights and clear skies, wonderful to enjoy from the deck. In addition to the weather considerations, the beginning of September typically does not coincide with any school holidays, meaning there are less crowds on the Whitsunday Islands.
Whitsunday Islands Best Beaches
A.K.A The disappearing beach! Langford island is made up of a lush bluff at the west end and a tidal sand spit out to the east. Get there on a low tide and enjoy this little stretch of beach perfection with its view over looking Hayman, Black an Hook islands and corals reefs on the north side of the spit. Enjoy swimming & snorkeling with its resident turtle community, a game of beach cricket or a picnic lunch.
Voted best beach in Australia year after year for good reason. This 7km stretch of beach earned its iconic mark with its famous silica sand & swirling sands of hill inlet at the north end – not to mention it’s crystal clear water & soft waves to lull you into relaxation while swimming! Take your jewellery! The fine silica sand is a well-known local favorite for cleaning silver & gold.
Take a break from boat life & dock at Hamilton Island marina for the day to head to Catseye Beach. Let someone else make the cocktails while you relax in one of the hammock scattered along the beach or get amongst the action of the many water sports on offer. A resort feel is prominent at this beach & is sure to keep everyone from kids to grownups happy with it’s cheerful island vibes & palm tree lined stretch of sand.
Blue Pearl Bay & Dolphin Point
This popular coral beach has found a loyal following with it’s rocky backdrop and coral gardens just waiting to be explored off the shore. A popular snorkeling & diving spot, most visitors never step foot on the beach but with your boats dinghy you have the privilege of being able to head to shore and discover secret enclaves such as Dolphin Point, or have it all to yourself once the crowds have gone for the day.
Located across the other side of Hill Inlet from Whitehaven Beach, this little gem of a beach offers picturesque rock formations and greenery close to the water to hide away in the shade in between ocean dips. If exploring is more your thing than sun baking, wander up the beach into the inlet to try spot a stingray in the shallows!
Whitsunday Island Tours & Activities
Ocean Rafting Tour to Whitehaven Beach
Enjoy a full-day tour of the stunning Whitsunday Islands, traveling on a sturdy motorized raft to world-famous Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet Beach. You get to choose from two tours that offer either more snorkeling or more beach time. Gain exclusive access to secluded spots where you can snorkel around pristine coral reefs, and take a walk with your guide in the national park to a lookout point with spectacular views. Your boat travels quickly across the ocean, giving you more time to enjoy the Whitsundays. Learn more about the Ocean Rafting Tour to Whitehaven Beach.
Reef and Island Scenic Flight from Airlie Beach
Take a 1-hour scenic flight over the Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef that provides unobstructed views of tropical islands surrounded by turquoise ocean and coral reef. Your pilot-guide shares informative commentary and points out landmarks including Heart Reef, Whitehaven Beach, and Hill Inlet. Includes hotel pickup and drop-off in Airlie Beach. Learn more about the Reef & Island Scenic Flight from Arlie Beach.
Whitehaven Beach Sailing and Snorkeling Cruise
Set sail for the Whitsundays on-board an authentic 62-ft gaff rigged schooner and spend the day swimming and snorkeling around the islands. Admire the famous powder-white sands of Whitehaven beach, jump off to take in the views from Hill Inlet and dine on a delicious lunch on-board. Finish your adventure snorkeling amid vibrant corals and schools of brightly colored fish and keep a look out for unique varieties like parrot fish and humphead wrasse. Learn more about the Whitehaven Beach Sailing & Snorkeling Cruise.
Whitsundays Seaplane Tours
Be amazed by Queensland’s Whitsunday Islands on a seaplane tour that provides stunning panoramic aerial views. When booking, select one of five options that take you either over this picturesque section of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and Australia’s number one famous beach—Whitehaven Beach. Depending on what tour you choose, sip a glass of sparkling wine on the striking white sands of Whitehaven Beach, enjoy a glass-bottom boat ride and snorkeling at your very own private lagoon at Hardy Lagoon, see the Heart Reef from the air, or all three! Learn more about the Whitsundays Seaplane Tours.
2-Night Whitsunday Islands Sailing Adventure on Trimaran ‘Avatar’
Climb aboard the only commercial sailing trimaran in the Whitsunday Islands for an unforgettable 2-night voyage through these unspoiled isles that lie between the Queensland coast and the Great Barrier Reef. Soak up the sun on spacious decks, drop anchor to feel the sand between your toes on the pristine beaches of various islands, and snorkel among vibrant marine life at spots like Blue Peal Bay and Caves Cove. You won’t go hungry with all meals freshly prepared right onboard. Learn more about the 2-Night Whitsunday Islands Sailing Adventure.
Best Whitsunday Islands Restaurants
Déjà Vu Restaurant $11 – 30
With stunning views over Airlie Beach and a tropical seafood dining theme, Déjà Vu Restaurant is home to some of the best cuisine in the Whitsundays. You’ll find Déjà Vu on the famous hillside accommodation strip, affording outdoor diners a panoramic view of the sea and Whitsundays Islands. The owner / chefs take a personalized approach to service to make sure diners have an unforgettable experience. From poolside lunches to romantic dinners, the menu makes the most of some of the freshest seafood to complement innovative salads, gourmet panninis, and specialty dishes. Telephone: 07 4948 4309 Web: Déjà Vu Restaurant.
Fish D’vine $11 – 30
No trip to Airlie Beach is complete without a trip to Fish D’vine and Rum Bar. The award winning seafood restaurant is famous for its relaxed atmosphere and scrumptious food, particularly the local chili mud crab with Hemingway Daiquiri. Both the seafood restaurant side and the rum bar could each stand on their own. But together they infuse to create marvelous creations like the “Retro banana fritters” drizzled in “house spiced Rum syrup” and “Rum and pepper painted fish”. Telephone: 07 4948 0088 Web: Fish D’vine.
Coca Chu $11 – 30
Coca Chu is a beachfront restaurant with a modern Asian menu, overlooking the crystal clear Whitsundays. It doesn’t get much better than this casual dining experience with delicious, fresh food and an abundance of cocktails. They even do their own take on Yum Cha, so be sure to book a table before it fills up. Telephone: 07 4946 9999 Web: Coca Chu
Romano’s Restaurant $11 – 30
Ideally situated on Hamilton Island, facing straight out onto the marina, Romano’s Restaurant is a perfect part of this island paradise. Come in for the relaxed atmosphere and delicious meals made with love and a flare for fine food. Known for fantastic risottos, Romano’s serves a wonderful array of fresh seafood including Moreton Bay Bugs, scallops, spanner crab and many more tastes of the sea. Polish it all off with authentic gelato, tiramisu or panna cotta. Telephone: 07 4948 8212 Web: Romano’s Restaurant.
Village Café $11 – 30
Right in the heart of the Whitsundays is the Village Café Restaurant & Bar, home to a unique all day dining experience. The Village offers an excellent selection of freshly prepared food, a variety of drinks and alcoholic beverages. One of the restaurant’s specialties is the Hot Rock dining experience. Volcanic stones are subjected to extreme heat in a special oven for 10 hours before being placed in specially designed stoneware plates and delivered to you with your chosen hot rock meal. The stone locks in the nutrients, natural juices and flavors. You can choose to cook the meal yourself on the stone, or the chefs can do the cooking before presenting your meal on the hot rock. Telephone: 07 4946 5745 Web: Village Café.
Best Whitsunday Islands Nightlife
Anchor Bar Airlie Beach
A funky poolside rooftop restaurant with stunning views over the Coral Sea and Whitsunday Islands. You’ll find great food, good music, and amazing views. Telephone: 07 4946 6678 Web: Anchor Bar Airlie Beach.
Shuckz Oyster and Champagne Bar
SHUCKZ Oyster and Champagne Bar specializes in oysters shucked to order, fresh appetizers, exquisite champagnes, wines, top shelf spirits and liqueurs. Telephone: 07 4948 0599 Web: Shuckz Oyster and Champagne Bar.
Their warm and friendly atmosphere can be found just a short 5 minute stroll from the south east end of the main street. Outstanding cocktails and a hand picked boutique wine list can all be enjoyed while overlooking the beautiful Port of Airlie Marina. Indoor and outdoor seating is available from which you are invited to explore their unique daily cocktail list and food specials. If the decisions are all too much, then go for their tasting menu or just ask the team to look after you! Telephone: 07 4948 2537 Web: Walter’s Lounge.
Fish D’Vine Rum Bar
The best place to enjoy a cocktail is at Fish D’Vine’s Rum Bar. You can’t miss the Rum wall as you order your Hemingway Daiquiri, Mojito, or any other cocktail which may tickle your taste buds. Not to mention the friendly staff who are pros at putting together the tasty treats. Telephone: 07 4948 0088 Web: Fish D’vine Rum Bar.
Sorrento Restaurant & Bar
If you’re looking for a spot to enjoy a cocktail while taking in the stunning Whitsunday views, Sorrento is the place to be. Located at Abell Point Marina, Sorrento offers a range of tasty cocktails as well as a full lunch and dinner menu seven days a week. Telephone: 07 4946 7454 Web: Sorrento Restaurant & Bar.
Best Whitsunday Islands Hotels
Beach Club – Adults Only
An adults-only oasis, this tranquil, boutique resort sits right on Catseye Beach, overlooking the Coral Sea. With its spectacular beachfront location, private restaurant and lounge, child-free ambiance and personalized service, the Beach Club Hamilton Island is the ultimate couples’ getaway. Beach Club offers the private Beach Club restaurant and lounge – for secluded beach side dining. You’ll also enjoy a complimentary à la carte breakfast every morning. Take a dip in the infinity-edge pool (heated in winter) and enjoy direct access to Catseye Beach.
Palm Bay Resort
Palm Bay Resort is a beautiful boutique resort nestled in the neck of Long Island, one of the iconic islands of the Great Barrier Reef. With our very own secluded private cove, Palm Bay offers spacious Balinese inspired villas with extensive views to the Whitsunday passage and Coral Sea. Offering complete tranquility and seclusion, Palm Bay has been designed to intricately blend into its natural surroundings and is simply a stones throw from some of Australia’s most iconic reefs and beaches. Guests of Palm Bay Resort can access all of our resort facilities including our newly renovated fully equipped guest kitchen and Palm Bay Bar.
Ideally located adjacent to Catseye Beach on the resort side of Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Apartments offer spacious, well-appointed, one-bedroom apartments. Apartments span over 84 square meters with a separate bedroom, dual access bathroom, fully-equipped kitchen, spacious living area and balcony. Each apartment sleeps up to 5 people, with a king bed and single divan in the bedroom and two single divans in the lounge area.
Set in lush, tropical gardens, and with fresh, contemporary style, these bungalows are the perfect place to relax, unwind, and explore everything that Hamilton Island has to offer. Thanks to the lush, tropical setting, you’ll feel you’re a million miles away – despite being just a short walk to the beach and resort pools. Each bungalow has every convenience you need to enjoy island life your own way, including a kitchenette, bar fridge, microwave and tea and coffee making facilities. Relax on your private balcony and while away the hours in the tranquil gardens.
Reef View Hotel
With large, comfortable, modern rooms, the Reef View Hotel offers a perfect getaway for couples, families or groups of friends. Spacious, comfortable and with most rooms boasting incredible sea views, the Reef View Hotel offers stylish and family-friendly Hamilton Island accommodation. The Reef View Hotel boasts several room types depending on your budget. The Reef View Hotel is located directly opposite Catseye Beach and is close to many of the island’s restaurants, activities and entertainment.