Spotlight on The Whitsundays: Things to see and do when you visit the Whitsundays

Located in the heart of the world-renowned Great Barrier Reef, The Whitsundays comprises of 74 stunning tropical islands off the North Queensland coast and there are a myriad of things to do when you visit the Whitsundays – as the gateway to the pristine Whitehaven Beach and the crystal-clear waters of Heart Reef, this destination is home to many magnificent things to see including secluded beaches, hidden bays, and luxurious tropical resorts.

Whitehaven Beach

Known as one of the most beautiful beaches in Australia, if not the world, Whitehaven Beach is a seven-kilometre slice of paradise on Whitsunday Island. The sands here are so white, they remain cool even on the hottest of days and the turquoise waters are so clear, you can spot the marine life and coral from the surface.

Snap a pic at Hill Inlet Lookout

The ultimate place to visit to view the infamous Hill Inlet from land, Hill Inlet Lookout is located a short uphill walk away from Tongue Point and offers stunning vistas over Whitsundays turquoise waters and sweeping white sands. Accessible by boat or hike, this popular lookout is most spectacular during low tide.

Take a scenic flight above Hill Inlet

Top of the bucket list for things to see in the Whitsundays is a scenic flight or helicopter tour for a birds-eye view of the Inlet. Gaze down at the white silica sands as they swirl into the aqua sea, creating a marbled mass of colour and to complete this bucket list experience, land on the beach for a quick dip with a splash of champagne in hand!

Swim, snorkel, sail

When you visit the Whitsundays, you take to the glassy waters of the Whitsunday passage whichever way you please!

Great Barrier Reef

The World-Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef encompassing 344,400 square kilometres, 2900 individual reefs, and 900 islands. A visit to the Reef is one of the most popular activities in the Whitsundays. The shimmering waters are ideal for snorkelling, sailing, cruising, and scuba diving.

Embark on your own bareboating adventure

Also known as the ultimate yachting playground, the Reef is one of the only places in the world where you can rent a multi-million-dollar yacht without a license. Without the need for a captain or guide, you and your friends have the boat all to yourself to plan your very own adventure. Sip champagne and pack some pantry essentials, snorkel gear and fishing rods, and set sail around the 74 islands that make up the Whitsundays. You can live aboard a boat for several days, exploring and stopping at hidden bays, remote snorkelling locations, and spectacular hiking trails.

Take a snorkel cruise

As one of the world’s richest ecosystems, snorkelling in the Whitsundays is a must-do at the Great Barrier Reef. Travel out into the outer reef with a cruise ship and guide, be fitted in your gear and explore the astounding diversity of marine life beneath the surface. For a more immersive experience, take a guided tour and learn about the 1,625 species of fish and 1,400 types of coral that call the reef home.

Stay at an Underwater Suite

Can’t get enough of the Reef? Why not wake up to myriads of shimmering fish gliding past your window by staying at Reefsuites’ underwater accommodation? Enjoy a stunning sunset, followed by a star-lit long table on the pontoon’s upper deck. Then, retreat to your undersea accommodation and fall asleep as the dazzling reef carries on around you.

Skydive or Paraglide

If you are looking for adrenaline, then this is one for your list of things to do in the Whitsundays! Soar above one of the most beautiful natural wonders of the world by taking a skydiving trip above the Great Barrier Reef. Admire the turquoise sea and blinding white sands from 4000 metres above sea level. Hurtle towards earth for 60 seconds while being safely strapped to your guide before floating gently onto the soft sands of Queens Beach.

Heart Reef

Take a helicopter flight over the Reef

The infamous Heart Reef is a naturally formed, heart-shaped splotch of coral surrounded by glassy, turquoise waters high on the priority list when you visit the Whitsundays. Enjoy breathtaking aerial views of this natural phenomenon or even arrange with your pilot to execute the ultimate engagement proposal to your loved one!

Hamilton Island

Practice your golf skills at the Hamilton Island Golf Club

With spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding Whitsunday Islands and the Coral Sea, the 18-hole, par 71 Hamilton Island Golf Course is known as one of the most challenging in the world. Designed by five-time British Open winner Peter Thomson, the course boasts a range of obstacles including wicked winds, impenetrable bushland, steep valleys, and spectacular ridges. Despite its punishing design, this golf course is a ‘must do’ for all experience levels when you visit the Whitsundays.

Have a close encounter with a furry friend

Hamilton Island Wildlife is a fun, family-friendly destination that allows you to get up close to all kinds of Australian marsupials, snakes, lizards, koalas, and kangaroos. Take a guided tour with an expert keeper who will help you feed, talk to some iconic Aussie animals. Make your Whitsundays visit even more memorable by snapping a photo with the park’s koalas, dingoes, pythons, lizards, and Freddie the talking Cockatoo!

Try out some water sports at Catseye Beach

For beach goers, this is high on the list of things to do in the Whitsundays. This palm-lined blissful beach is the perfect place for those looking for a little more adventure or those with kids. Surrounded by the same crystal-clear waters synonymous with the Whitsundays, there is almost every type of water sport to try out here, from catamarans, paddleboards, windsurfers, kayaks to snorkelling equipment available for hire.

Hayman Island

Take a day trip out to the exclusive Hayman Island and revel in the luxury that surrounds the pristine beaches and fine dining on this award-winning island resort. Snorkel off the spectacular Blue Pearl Bay on the North-Western side of the island, teaming with marine life and vibrant coral this is a well-kept secret among locals.

Airlie Beach

This vibrant, thriving little town is situated on the mainland and is the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. It has fast become a tourism mecca with a sparkling waterfront man-made lagoon and multiple alfresco dining venues and a whole host of activities to keep the entire family entertained.

Take a scenic drive to Cedar Creek Falls for some wild waterhole swimming with a spectacular waterfall above, located in Mount Tamborine about a 30 min drive from Airlie Beach.

Island Hopping

Jump aboard a cruise or Whitsundays tour and visit some of the many islands located in the Whitsunday passage. Daydream Island is the closest to the mainland with a spectacular Living Reef coral lagoon, poolside dining and an outdoor cinema with a range of beach activities.

Spend a lazy afternoon on Long Island at Palm Bay Resort. The quiet, relaxed resort features walking tracks, kayaking, tennis courts and more or visit the above-mentioned Hamilton Island for some golf, shopping, dining or animal encounters and Hayman Island for some tranquility.

No trip to the Whitsundays is complete without taking a look around the array of unique island paradises, no two are alike. There are so many unique things to do and see in the Whitsunday Islands.

Sunset Sail

Complete your trip to the Whitsundays with a magnificent sunset sailing adventure with a glass of bubbly in hand aboard a luxurious catamaran. Departing from Hamilton Island or Coral Sea Marina on the mainland.

As you can see, when you visit the Whitsundays there are an astounding array of things to do and see in the Whitsunday Passage.

Click here for Whitsunday accommodation inspiration

Take a look at the exclusive qualia on Hamilton Island for yourself!

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Image credit to: Tourism & Events Queensland, Tourism Australia, Hamilton Island Hayman Island, One & Only Group and Samuel Bisso.

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