Whitsunday Island

Top choice in The Whitsundays

The largest of the paradisaical group to which it gives its name, Whitsunday Island is ruggedly forested, and surrounded by clear teal waters and coral gardens. Its most visited site is the dazzling 7km-long Whitehaven Beach – one of Australia's finest – visited by pretty much every sailing/snorkelling tour from Airlie Beach but still managing to seem uncrowded. The more intrepid will also enjoy the Hill Inlet lookout (for epic lagoon views) at the north end of Whitehaven Beach.

There are six basic camp sites on the island, some with more shade than others. It's hard to beat the Whitehaven Beach camp site for its five-star location. Book camp sites online with Queensland Parks & Wildlife, and see Scamper for camping transfers ($105 to $155 return per person).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby The Whitsundays attractions

1. Whitehaven Beach

2.89 MILES

One of of Australia's most photogenic and hyped beaches, Whitehaven is a pristine 4.3 mile-long (7km) stretch of blinding sand (at 98% pure silica, some…

2. Hamilton Island Wildlife

6.53 MILES

This sweet little wildlife centre is a good place to introduce your kids to various marsupials, including wallabies and koalas, as well as a dingo,…

3. Escape Beach

7.28 MILES

This sheltered, sandy cove, lapped at by azure waters, is Hamilton Island's loveliest beach - all the more because you're likely to have it all to…

4. South Molle Island

10.45 MILES

The largest of the Molle Islands group, South Molle is virtually joined to its reef-fringed siblings, Mid and North Molle Islands. The island is mostly…

5. Daydream Island

11.9 MILES

The rainforest-cloaked, reef-fringed Daydream Island is only 1km long and 200m wide, and very popular with day visitors due to its accessibility. Much of…

6. Butterfly Bay

13.35 MILES

On the northern side of Hook Island is this protected bay, which flutters with butterfly song each winter. Popular with discerning bareboat-charter-goers,…

7. Conway National Park

13.49 MILES

This serene national park encompasses the Conway Peninsula, once the hunting grounds of the Giru Dala and still home to large swaths of lowland tropical…

8. Hook Island

13.55 MILES

The 53-sq-km Hook Island, the second-largest island in the Whitsunday group, is predominantly national-park territory, its highest point being Hook Peak …