The 74 Whitsunday Islands lie between the northeast coast of Queensland, Australia, and the Great Barrier Reef, a massive stretch of coral teeming with marine life. Most of the islands are uninhabited. They’re characterized by dense rainforest, hiking trails and white sand beaches. The town of Airlie Beach on the mainland is the region’s central hub.
Sprinkled along the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands are Australia’s version of the classic tropical island fantasy. These 74 lush islands are the peaks of drowned hills rising above the strikingly blue Coral Sea. Sailing is a popular pastime here, and diving is excellent along the fish-rich coral reefs.
This is an extremely fragile ecosystem protected by six national parks, and you can explore some of the islands on hiking trails. Accommodation ranges from beachfront campsites, eco-retreats, and family resorts to luxury escapes like Hayman Island andQualia on Hamilton Island. Don’t miss the radiant silica sands of Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island. Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour are the main launching points for Whitsunday adventures.