The Whitsundays are located along Queensland’s central coast, just over 1,100km north of Brisbane and 55 kilometres out into the Coral Sea.
The largest island is Whitsunday Island, home to the seven kilometres of Whitehaven Beach. Despite almost year-round sunshine, the silica composition of the sand, amazingly, remains cool to touch for bare feet. The water, however, is warm.
When the tide changes, it famously causes the sand to swirl and ripple, turning Hill Inlet at the north end into a giant natural canvas of picturesque patterns which can be viewed from Tongue Point lookout.
Other activities include swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and guided walks. For the more adventurous, you can jet ski, enjoy a Thundercat speedboat tour or even skydive.
There’s plenty of ways to get there, too, from scenic helicopter flights that land on the beach, to yachts and ferries, many of which depart from Airlie Beach. All of these experiences can be booked here.
The largest inhabited island within the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island is not only a quintessential tropical island paradise in its own right, but the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and an ideal base from which to further explore the region via seaplanes, helicopters or yachts.
The largely car-free island (there's a shuttle bus and golf buggies to hire instead) is also home to classic Aussie wildlife, which you may catch a glimpse of on the many walking and hiking trails across the island.
Hamilton Island also has plenty of accommodation and activity options. To unwind, relax by a pool, indulge in spa treatments, dine at bars and restaurants or play a full 18 holes at Hamilton Island Golf Club.
Catseye Beach, a cove on the resort side of the island fringed by palm trees, has catamarans, paddleboards, windsurfers, kayaks and snorkelling equipment available for hire. Or combine a bit of it all with a holiday package.