Looking for an island paradise? Visit the Whitsundays and you have 74 islands to choose from, floating between the central Queensland coast and the Great Barrier Reef.
These idyllic hilly islands dotting the sea like a tropical mirage once formed a mountain range on Australia’s mainland, and only eight of the 74 islands are inhabited.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park protects the surrounding reef, and 32 islands are protected by the Whitsunday Islands National Park, including pristine Whitsunday Island.
The Whitsundays are legendary amongst yachties, voted one of the world’s most beautiful sailing destinations. With deserted islands for sheltered mooring, reefs to snorkel and island resorts offering every luxury and diversion, sailing the Whitsundays can be a laidback cruise or an aquatic adventure.
Navigating the Whitsunday Islands
To make things easy, Australia’s Whitsundays Islands are clustered into five groups of islands.
Hamilton Island lies in the heart of the Whitsundays, the group’s resort hub and island gateway.
When you’re talking beaches, you’re talking Whitsunday Island, home to one of the world’s most stunning beaches, Whitehaven Beach. If golf’s your passion, Dent Island is your destination just off Hamilton Island, boasting the region’s premier golf course.
Other islands in the Whitsunday Group include Dungarra, Esk, Hayman and Hook islands.
In the greater Whitsundays, south of Hamilton Island, the Lindeman Group includes Lindeman, Pentecost and Seaforth islands.
Daydream, Goat and the Molle islands are part of the Molle Group of islands, north of Hamilton Island.
Islands in the far-flung Northern Group include Armit, Gloucester, Grassy and Saddleback island.
Hamilton Island is the yachting and air gateway for the Whitsunday Islands. Sail here by ferry from Shute Harbour near Airlie Beach on the mainland, or fly in direct from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Cairns.