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The Whitsunday Islands

Updated Tue 27 Sep 2022

The Whitsunday Islands Map with attractions by Sailing Whitsundays 74 Islands

About the Whitsundays

The stunning Whitsunday Islands are a group of 74 continental islands off the central coast of Queensland Australia, situated at the heart of the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef. Home to the Whitsunday Islands National Park and the renowned Whitehaven Beach, the Whitsundays showcase Australia's finest flora and fauna as well as exquisite marine life. Because of the protection the region gets from the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays offer some of the best sailing conditions in the world and have been reputed as one of the top yachting destinations in the Southern Hemisphere.

Explore the many Whitsunday Islands with our handy island guide!

The Great Barrier Reef 

Here in the Whitsundays, we're lucky enough to have one of the world's seven wonders on our doorstep! The Great Barrier Reef is the world's largest coral ecosystem and is actually visible from space. This precious, biodiverse and wonderous natural habitat is full of thousands of species of the land, sea and sky, some not found anywhere else in the world! 

With plenty of tours that take travellers to the best fringing reefs and hidden dive spots in the Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef is your oyster! Indeed, there's never been a better time to explore our corner of the world. With threats to the Great Barrier Reef such as coral bleaching, declined biodiversity and crown-of-thorns starfish, the best thing you can do is dive in and see the vibrant corals, species and wonders that we have right now! With conservation and research being undertaken by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, there is hope, however learning about the Reef, its biodiversity and incredible natural processes is such an important step and recovery and awareness.

Some of the colourful and astounding species found in the reef include the green sea turtle, Maori Wrasse, clownfish, Humpback Whale, dugong and manta rays. 

Maori Wrasse Whitsundays Great Barrier Reef

Whitsunday Island 

Whitsunday Island is one of the largest islands in the Whitsundays and is home to the pristine Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet Lookout and Betty's Beach. Pretty much, all of the island paradises that come to mind when thinking of the Whitsundays can be found on Whitsunday Island! Protected under the Whitsunday Island National Park rules and regulations, the island is an absolute untouched haven home to some of the purest silica sand in the world. Take a light walk up to Hill Inlet Lookout's viewing platforms to check out the swirling sands and turquoise water that make up a mosaic of breathtaking hues! Venture down around the corner to relax on Betty's Beach, a hidden gem away from the crowds. Most of our tours head on out to Whitsunday Island, so pack a hat and sense of adventure as you discover the wonders of the Whitsundays!

Whitsunday history 

The Whitsundays were named following a voyage led by Captain Cook back in 1770. He named the Whitsunday Passage as he passed through on what he believed to be Whitsunday (a celebrated European holiday at the time). Ironically enough, Captain Cook did not consider the time difference and it was actually a Monday. Despite the error on his part, the naming of The Whitsundays prevailed. However, beneath these colonial accounts lies rich Indigenous histories that are both precious and devasting.

The traditional owners of the land are the Ngaro people, who thrived in harmony with the land and seas for thousands of years before British invasion. With an abundance of rich history and Dreamtime stories, the Indigenous past of the Whitsundays holds great knowledge for us to learn from in current times. We pay respect to the elders, past, present and emerging as we live, play and work on this land in which sovereignty has never been ceded. Head out to Hook Island to see the Ngaro Cultural Site, abundant with cultural information, Indigenous cave paintings and important learning opportunities.

Whitsunday Islands Indigenous cave painting

The Whitsundays as a holiday destination

The Whitsundays offer the perfect backdrop for a huge variety of holiday excursions. Here, you can choose from exciting, relaxing or informative Whitsunday Sailing Adventures. Take a scenic flight over Heart Reef or have a scuba diving experience with exotic underwater creatures. Camp on the islands or explore walking trails of the National Parks. However you chose to experience the Whitsundays, there are options to suit all and experiences catering to all the senses!

With a sub-tropical climate, the Whitsundays is a destination to be visited year-round. The summer months bring long bright days of high temperatures and the winter months offer dry warm weather. May through September proves to be a particularly special time for onlookers as Humpback Whales pass through the waters for their annual migration.

whitsunday islands

Chat with our friendly travel experts to book your next Whitsunday adventure through paradise! 

For a quick response, answers to your question or free itinerary consultation, get in touch today!

Call us on +61 7 4914 2425 or live chat, here.

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