Introducing The Whitsundays
The Whitsunday group of islands off the northeast Queensland coast is, as the clichè goes, a tropical paradise. The 74 islands that make up this stunning archipelago are really the tips of mountain tops jutting out from the Coral Sea, and from their sandy fringes the ocean spreads towards the horizon in beautiful shades of crystal, aqua, blue and indigo. Sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef, there are no crashing waves or deadly undertows, and the waters are perfect for sailing.
Of the numerous stunning beaches and secluded bays, Whitehaven Beach stands out for its pure white silica sand. It is undoubtedly the finest beach in the Whitsundays, and possibly one of the finest in the world.
Airlie Beach, on the mainland, is the coastal hub and major gateway to the islands. Only seven of the islands have tourist resorts – catering to every budget and whim from the basic accommodation at Hook Island to the exclusive luxury of Hayman Island. Most of the islands are uninhabited, and several offer the chance of back-to-nature beach camping and bushwalking.
Best places to stay in The Whitsundays
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From kicking up red dust in an outback cattle muster to floating above the Great Barrier Reef, Christa Larwood of Lonely Planet Traveller magazine explores the very best of Australia’s Sunshine State. Photographs by Matt Munro. The Hill Inlet snaking its way into the heart of Whitsunday Island.
Need to know
The Whitsundays destination guides
Airlie Beach should be a picturesque little town.
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