The Magical Whitsundays – Activities and Island Resorts
My favourite holiday destination is the magical Whitsundays – 74 unspoilt Family Island Cheats in the tropical warm waters of the Coral Sea, in the heart of The Great Barrier Reef. What could be more perfect? The Whitsunday Passage would have to top the list of island getaways, not only in Queensland but the whole world. This small piece of paradise has everything from the bustling hub of Airlie Beach, to the exclusive romantic haven of Hayman Island and the secluded adult hideaway of Peppers Palm Bay, to the family oriented islands of Hamilton, South Molle, Long and Daydream Islands. If that isn’t enough, you can charter your own boat and see them all. Enjoy all the activities and entertainment you would expect from a holiday at the Great Barrier Reef – snorkelling, diving, all water sports, whale watching, magnificent walks, cruises, deserted island lunches… I’ve included a brief description of the island resorts at the Whitsundays but first, my favourite Whitsunday experiences.
While the Whitsunday islands are home to a number of Australia’s most famous resorts, most of the islands are unspoilt national parks so there are endless deserted islands and beaches to explore and enjoy. Whitehaven Beach is a magnificent beach on the uninhabited Whitsunday Island. It is a 7 kilometre long beach with an incredible expanse of pure white sand and crystal clear blue waters. It is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. One of the most magical experiences you can have is to spend a night on a yacht anchored off Whitehaven Beach. The sunset is spectacular and throughout the night, the white sand glows in the moonlight. It is a sight to behold. Whitehaven Beach is serviced by ferries, seaplanes, helicopters and cruising yachts. Day trips can be organised from Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour and any of the islands.
Of course, when you are at the Whitsundays, you can’t miss the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef is the largest structure on earth created by living creatures, stretching 2000 kilometres and covering 350 000 square kilometres. The Great Barrier Reef is not one reef but a collection of more than 2600 individual coral reefs and cays. The reef is home to more than 300 species of hard coral, 400 species of sponge and 1500 colourful bright tropical fish. At the Whitsundays, there are so many ways to experience this Wonder of the World. Many of the islands have magnificent fringing reef and snorkelling or diving directly from the island is a simple and fascinating way to view the coral and diverse life under the water. Some of the fringing reefs are off uninhabited islands and snorkelling or diving from a boat is the only way to visit these. Butterfly Bay and Manta Ray Bay (Hook Island), Blue Pearl Bay (Hayman Island), Langford and Bird Island provide some of the best fringing reefs. There are many diving and snorkelling tours to the “outer reef” from any of the islands or Airlie Beach. Another great way to view the reef and to get an impression of the expanse of the Great Barrier Reef is to charter a plane and fly over the reef. It is truly spectacular from the air.
Boating in the Whitsunday’s. If you get a chance, the best way to experience the Whitsunday’s is from the deck of your own boat. The area is protected from the ocean by the Great Barrier Reef and with hundreds of protected anchorages, The Whitsunday’s is one of the safest and finest cruising regions in the world. Safe anchorages are seldom more than an hour apart, so the choices are endless. Choose your favourite places and plan your trip before you leave or make up your mind as you sail around. The decisions are yours.
Each of the islands in the Whitsunday archipelago has it’s own special identity. Some fall to the turquoise sea as a spectacular rocky outcrop, others gradually slope away to beautiful sandy beaches while others offer sandy inlets, fringing coral reef, bays and coves. With hundreds of safe anchorages the Whitsunday’s is the place to “realise your dream”. Cruise to uninhabited islands for lazy days under Queensland’s famous sunshine where your only companions might be whales, dolphins and turtles. Hail a seaplane direct from your boat for a scenic flight or take a day trip to The Great Barrier Reef. The Whitsundays with its safe anchorages and coves, sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef, is one of the world’s finest cruising areas and will undoubtedly capture your heart and imagination. Lying in the tropics close to 20 deg south the Whitsundays has an enviable climate year round. The Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea protect the waters of the Whitsundays from the ocean seas with most islands being surrounded by a fringing reef system.