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Whitsunday Coast

Many travellers to Australia, especially those with a sailing pedigree, head straight for the Whitsundays – a stunning, white-fringed archipelago in the Coral Sea – and struggle to leave. Opal-jade waters and pure-white beaches fringe the forested isles, while around them tropical fish swarm through the world’s largest coral garden – the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The gateway to the islands, Airlie Beach, is a backpacker hub with a parade of tanned faces zinging between boats, beaches and nightclubs. This is as close to the islands as some budget travellers will get.

South of Airlie, Mackay is a typical coastal Queensland town with palm-lined streets framed by a jumble of art-deco buildings. It's a handy base for trips to Eungella National Park – a lush hinterland oasis where platypuses cavort in the wild. North of Airlie Beach is cute little Bowen, a low-key alternative for backpackers working through their holiday.

Explore Whitsunday Coast


Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Whitsunday Coast.

Top experiences

Whether it’s a guided tour of a historic landmark, private tasting of local delicacies, or an off-road adventure — explore the best experiences in Whitsunday Coast.