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Which Is The Largest Whitsunday Island?

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Wed 31 Jan 2024

The Whitsundays is a chain of 74 gorgeous tropical islands surrounded by the turquoise waters of the Coral Sea. This gem of Far North Queensland attracts travellers from all over the world, mainly due to popular locations like Hamilton Island, Whitehaven Beach, Airlie Beach, and the Great Barrier Reef. There are many other incredible, lesser-known locations as well, and travellers are spoiled for choice when it comes to attractions in the Whitsunday Islands! But which is the largest Whitsunday Island?

aerial view of Hill Inlet on Whitsunday Island

Which Is The Largest Whitsunday Island?

Whitsunday Island is the largest island in the Whitsundays. Yes, there is one island that is actually called "Whitsunday Island", and it is by far the biggest of all the islands in the archipelago. At just over 280 square kilometers, Whitsunday Island is packed with natural wonders. Lush, forested mountains tower high over the white sandy beaches, and flourishing coral reefs branch off of the island's edges. It is a truly stunning sight!

You can get to Whitsunday Island by sea or by air. The island is about 27km off the coast from Airlie Beach, the tourist hub on the mainland. Day boat tours and overnight sailing trips depart Airlie Beach daily, many of which stop at Whitsunday Island to visit the famous Whitehaven Beach!

person paddleboarding near the jungles of Whitsunday Island

Whitehaven Beach On Whitsunday Island

The main attraction on Whitsunday Island is undoubtedly Whitehaven BeachThis magnificent strip of silky white sand graces the cover of just about every Whitsundays tourism campaign, and it often makes the list of the world's best beaches. Whitehaven Beach consists of 7km of white silica sand that is velvety soft to the touch and doesn't retain heat. Located on the eastern side of Whitsunday Island, the strip of sand continues along the coast until the sand swirls together with the sapphire water at Hill Inlet

Hill Inlet is the most photogenic spot on Whitsunday Island. Here is where the green mountains, white sands, and turquoise waters all blend together into one incredible scene. To the north of Hill Inlet, Whitehaven Beach continues on with more white silica sand, and there is even another pristine beach around the corner called Betty's Beach

Here are a handful of our most popular Whitehaven Beach tours!

Travellers posing with driftwood on Whitehaven Beach Whitsunday island

What Is There To Do On Whitsunday Island?

Visiting Whitehaven Beach and hiking up to Hill Inlet Lookout are the two best things to do on Whitsunday Island. This majestic beach and viewpoint are what makes the island so famous, and few visitors leave the Whitsundays without visiting these places. Having an epic beach day full of swimming, sunbathing, and strolling is a great way to pass the time on Whitsunday Island. 

The water here is incredibly calm and clear as well, making it ideal for water sports. Paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkelling are fun activities to try, and you can often spot stingrays, sea turtles, and lemon sharks in the shallow waters around Whitsunday Island. There are also some amazing hiking trails that crisscross the island's hilly terrain, including the Whitsunday Cairn Track, Chance Track, Solway Circuit, Hill Inlet Lookout Track, and Whitehaven Beach Headland Track. 

Views of swirling sands and tropical islands in the Whitsundays

Can you snorkel at Whitsunday Island?

You can snorkel at Whitsunday Island as there are numerous fringing reefs of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park here! Whether you're on a tour or a private charter, there are some great snorkelling spots around Whitsunday Island. However, Whitsunday Island is most well-known for its bushwalks and of course, Whitehaven Beach. Those wishing to snorkel with marine life may choose to visit more popular spots around Hook Island, Hayman Island, and Haslewood Island. If you're on a tour of the Whitsundays, your guide will pick the best snorkelling spots based on the tides and weather that day to ensure a great experience!

person snorkelling with tropical fish in the Whitsundays

Can You Stay Overnight On Whitsunday Island?

Whitsunday Island is part of the Whitsunday Islands National Park, so it is a protected area that remains largely undeveloped. So you won't find any hotels or resorts on Whitsunday Island. However, there are a few campgrounds on the island where you can spend the night immersed in the wilderness!

Whitehaven Beach Campground is a very remote and beautiful place to spend the night located at the southern end of Whitehaven Beach. Even though it's located right next to Australia's most famous beach, few people actually spend the night here so it's still a pretty off-grid, wholesome experience. Chance Bay, Cairn Beach, Dugong Beach, Joe's Beach, and Nari's Beach also have campgrounds where you can spend the night on Whitsunday Island. Just make sure you get a camping permit from QLD National Parks and bring all your supplies with you are there are few facilities on the island. 

couple walking on the sand on whitehaven beach at dusk

What Are The Other Top Islands To Visit In The Whitsundays?

Though Whitsunday Island is the largest island in the area, there are plenty of other amazing places to visit while exploring the Whitsundays. Probably the most famous island is Hamilton Island, a gorgeous resort island home to epic hikes like Passage Peak and famous beaches like Catseye Beach. This is the only Whitsunday Island with its own commercial airport, so you can always fly straight to Hamilton Island from other major Australian cities!

Hayman Island and Daydream Island are other resort islands that have world-class hotels surrounded by pristine tropical scenery. South Molle Island offers some amazing trails for hiking and biking, whereas Hook Island has some unique cultural sites and iconic snorkelling locations around its shores. Honestly, every island in the Whitsundays has something special to offer!

travellers posing on a rock near Bettys Beach Whitsunday Island

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