Queensland, beautiful one day – perfect the next, and the Whitsunday Islands, the most perfect holiday destination of them all.
The sun always shines in tropical northern Queensland. The water is always crystal clear, the white sands sparkle, and the Whitsunday Islands provide an alluring holiday getaway that most dream about, but in fact is an affordable reality. With so much to do and see, you might consider renting serviced or self-contained holiday accommodation to base yourself for the Whitsunday holiday experience of a lifetime.
The seventy four islands that make up the Whitsunday group host hundreds of thousands of international and domestic holiday-makers every year. Some come in search of adventure, some in search of romance and some just in search of themselves.
Whether you choose to base yourself on the mainland or on one of the islands, there is a range of holiday rental accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets.
The Whitsunday region is the closest access point off the Queensland coast to the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. Although it is the only one of the seven natural wonders of the world to be visible from space, the Reef is best explored by getting up close and personal.
Stretching 2000 kilometres, the Great Barrier Reef protects the Whitsunday Coast and islands and is one of the most complex nature systems on earth. Supporting 1625 species of fish, six of the world’s seven species of marine turtle, 133 species of sharks and rays and 30 species of dolphins and whales, the Great Barrier Reef is an underwater garden rivalling the most vibrant on land, with the interaction of fish and coral creating a kaleidoscope of nature before your very eyes.
Many of the islands provide holiday accommodation from the exclusive and private holiday villas on Hamilton and Dunk Islands, to the more family orientated accommodation on South Molle and Daydream Islands.
The jewel in the crown of the Whitsundays is Whitehaven beach on Whitsunday Island; seven kilometres of pristine white sand, crystal clear warm tropical waters, ocean breezes, paradise. Understandably the most photographed beach in Australia.
Diving and snorkelling
If diving is your passion, there are companies that provide unique experiences for the novice through to the experienced diver. For those having an extended holiday, there are opportunities to become a certified diver through a range of PADI diving courses enabling you visit world-class dive spots.
If you are a bit apprehensive of the deep, but don’t want to miss out on the reef experience, there are many day tours to the inner and outer reefs providing equipment and time for snorkelling, educational semi-submarine tours and glass- bottom boat tours.
Boats of all shapes, sizes and speeds transport holiday-makers to, from, around and between the islands. From the smallest sea kayak to a large, high-speed catamaran each provides a unique personal choice of experience.
Imagine waking up each morning, anchored at a different island hideaway, diving from the deck of your very own floating self-contained holiday accommodation into the tropical waters. ‘Bare-boating’ is a popular holiday choice, crewing your own yacht, travelling where you like, when you like. However, while a boating licence is not required, it would be highly recommended to have an experienced boat person on board. Alternatively you can enjoy a complete pampered experience and just lie back and enjoy the real meaning of a holiday with a crew to do everything for you and all you have to do is lie back, relax and enjoy the experience.
Each year Airlie Beach hosts Meredien Airlie Beach Race Week, a world class yachting extravaganza attracting over 100 racing yachts, 1000’s of crew and a plethora of spectator craft.
For those who don’t think a holiday is complete without a round of golf, try the Hamilton Island Golf Club’s championship course, located on neighbouring Dent Island, providing some of the most spectacular views and settings of any golf club in the world.
There are also golf courses at Airlie Beach and Proserpine and a 19 hole, themed mini-golf course on Hamilton Island – fun for everyone.
On the mainland and the islands, the National Parks are home to unique flora and fauna waiting to be discovered as you explore walking trails along secluded coastline and through tropical rainforests.
For those who like adventure with a bite – they can take a crocodile watching tour on the Proserpine River. As well as crocodiles, you will see local flora and fauna, including many migratory birds whose habitat is the Proseperine wetlands.
Airlie Beach is the Gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. Once considered just a launch pad to the Whitsundays and Reef, it has become a holiday destination in its own right. A favourite with backpackers and families, Airlie Beach provides a range of holiday rental accommodation including backpacker hostels, budget family accommodation, self-catering apartments and villas as well as five star luxury hotels and resorts, many with to-die-for views.
Airlie Beach is a lively town full of cafes, bars, restaurants and tour companies providing day trips to the islands, fun water activities and scenic flights over the reef.
Seafood of all sorts is a speciality of the local cuisine and local eateries and resorts provide both million dollar flavours and million dollar views.
The best time to visit the Whitsundays is from April through to October. November to March can be quite hot and sometimes tropical cyclones cause localised flooding. Also box jelly-fish are in the waters at this time of year preventing swimming in many northern coastal areas.
Air-travel is available to the Whitsundays from all major cities with an airport in Proserpine servicing Airlie Beach, an airport on Hamilton Island and an International Airport in Cairns. If you are on a self-drive holiday, Airlie Beach is a safe and scenic two-day drive from Brisbane. From the moment you arrive at your holiday rental accommodation you will feel the effects of being in paradise. Enjoy.