Sunshine, warm breezes, gently swaying palm trees… paradise never takes a break in Tropical North Queensland. As well as all the pristine natural wonders just waiting to be explored, the Whitsundays offers visitors a huge choice of things to do. There’s always a vibrant energy to the region, making anytime a great time to visit. Here are some ideas for a magical Whitsunday holiday.
Airlie Beach, Gateway to the Whitsundays
Fly into Whitsunday Coast Airport at Proserpine and begin your Whitsunday adventure at Airlie Beach. As the largest town on the Whitsunday Coast, Airlie Beach seamlessly combines the relaxed pace of a beachside village with the diversity of a cosmopolitan hub.
A thrilling way to quickly get your bearings is to take your pick of helicopter or seaplane flight for a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of the Great Barrier Reef. Look out for the photo-sensation, Heart Reef.
Once you’re back on land, Airlie Beach knows how to turn on the hospitality with some of the best restaurants and bars in the region. From a casual, delicious snack to a world-class meal accompanied by fine wine, you’re never short of options in Airlie.
For the best balcony view in town, make sure you drop in to the Whitsunday Sailing Club. From here you can watch all the lunchtime activity on the water or bask in the pink glow of the stunning tropical sunsets over Pioneer Bay and the islands. Sorrento Restaurant and Bar also offers spectacular sea views, with an expansive sun-deck and Italian inspired cuisine. If you want to know where the locals go for good quality food and coffee, Sidewalk Cafe in the heart of Airlie Beach on the Esplanade is the place. Feel like eating clean and green? Bohemian Raw serves up fresh, delicious food for breakfast and lunch, all made from a unique mix or organic and raw ingredients – don’t start your day without one of their smoothies. And for drinks as the sun goes down, Anchor Bar, located at the Whitsunday Terraces Resort is famous for its stunning rooftop poolside bar and beautifully presented cocktails.
From Airlie Beach, so many Whitsunday adventures are possible. Cruise Whitsundays offers half-day and full-day cruises, departing daily to the newly refurbished Heart pontoon on Hardy Reef. Guests can spend the day exploring the colourful underwater world of coral and magnificent marine life, with reports that there are more fish than ever before. The Camira Sailing Adventure is another way to soak up the vibe of paradise, which is an all-inclusive day trip out to spectacular Whitehaven Beach via catamaran. Note: These tours also depart from Hamilton Island.
Hamilton Island, In The Heart Of It All
Whether you arrive by direct flight to Hamilton Island Airport or connect to the island via ferry, the moment you set your feet on land you’ll feel Hamilton Island’s friendly charm. Perhaps this is due to the thriving community; with a population of around 1,000 permanent residents, Hamilton Island is more than just a tourist destination. People here live and breathe tropical island life, and their easygoing attitude is infectious. Talk to hotel staff and locals alike, and you won’t be short of ideas for how best to experience the beautiful Whitsundays.
Every day, catamarans depart Hamilton Island taking guests out on day trips that include snorkeling with turtles and swimming in the clear, warm sea. Kayaking is another great option, giving you the chance to explore the Whitsunday waters at your own pace. You could even pack a bush picnic and head off along trails that will lead you to secluded sandy coves and awe-inspiring lookouts.
After you’ve spent the day swimming, sailing, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, bush-walking, golfing or enjoying any one of the countless things to do here, Hamilton Island takes care of its visitors in every way. Spa wumurdaylin which operates out of the Reef View Hotel has a range of blissful pampering packages to soothe and rejuvenate.
Of course, what’s always happening on Hamilton Island is the vibrant dining scene. From award-winning restaurants to take-away fish and chips, guests will find what they’re looking for – and more. Bob’s Bakery and Popeye’s Fish and Chips are both an easy option for families who want a relaxed option during the day, while Bommie Restaurant and The Beach Club Restaurant provide a world-class, fine dining experience.
Upcoming Events in the Whitsundays
Great Whitehaven Beach Run
18 June 2017
Suitable for the whole family, the Great Whitehaven Beach Run is when keen runners take to the pristine sands of famous Whitehaven Beach. Events include the half marathon, 10 or 5 kilometre run or, for the kids, the 1.5 kilometre run or 500 metre Junior Fun Run.
Audi Hamilton Island Race Week
19 – 26 August 2017
Every August, spectators and yachties from around the globe sail to Hamilton Island for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week – Australia’s largest offshore keelboat regatta. The week includes a huge array of onshore events including lunches and dinners presented by celebrity chefs, fashion, golfing competitions and wine tasting.
Whitsunday Reef Festival Airlie Beach
3 – 6 August 2017
Airlie Beach’s popular family-friendly event includes the Comedy Gala on opening night, fireworks, carnival rides, market stalls, live music and crowd favourite: Revvin The Reef Car Show. It’s a four-day party with something for all ages.