All those who love outing in Australia must have dreamed of indulging in the reef while being on the yacht deck over the aqua waters of the Whitsundays Islands. The blue-green aquatic world is well preserved as a marine park, which interestingly is a part of the Great Barrier Reef starting from Cape York (north) to Bundaberg (south). What is even more exciting is the fact that the archipelago of the Whitsundays Islands is a soaked topography. By this, I mean that the lands of these islands are the pinnacles of the submerged mountains bordered with coral.
With the Great Barrier Reef a bit far away, the Whitsundays Islands are a framework of over 90 islands of which majority are uninhabited. Further, four of them are fully preserved national parks. However, its not only camping that you can choose for your accommodation here, but you also have an array of resorts sprinkled throughout and offering cheap package vacations. My only tip to you here is avoid feeding any fish in the waters and also do not try petting the corals.
One of the most exciting things to do on the Whitsundays islands is cruising. Unveil the charm of the glorious Whitehaven Beach featuring pure white sands of silica as well as remote bays full of transpagtrent waters. Challenge yourself for snorkeling, swimming, spotting varied marine life via glass bottom boat, diving, and Seawalker helmet diving. All these are certainly the ways to be closer to the Great Barrier Reef. I would like to share with you some of the most worthy boat cruises.
Atlantic Clipper featuring a large vessel with onboard diving, Fantasea Adventure offering many packages, and Ocean Rafting (I loved) with its high speed boats and offering island hopping and snorkeling for $164 (see brochure at Airlie beach) as two-day package. However, be careful, as their Web site charges much more than this rate. Their per day rate is $97, which include a journey on their typical route such as via the Whitehaven beach. Snorkeling equipment is for free here. If you are looking for only sailing trips, try Pacific Sunrise Whitsundays that also offer a visit the Great Barrier Reef from the Airlie beach. Hint: Most of the cruises depart from the Airlie beach.
One of the most famous attractions is the Whitehaven Beach that is the most known Whitsundays landmarks. It is very peculiar for its fine, white sand and this is the reason why it is so often imaged in the TV ads as well as tourism brochures. Come here on sunny days and you will not fall short of any spectacles here. Especially, the vista from the vantage point across the Hill inlet is just memorable. And yes, all thanks to the south easterly trade winds that makes the confluence site of beach and sea perfect for swimming. This beach is on the Whitsunday Island that is the largest in this archipelago. Also this beach is the famous halt of many boat cruises. Expect dozens of inlets and bays full of yachts and boats. From this beach take your boat to Tongue Point featuring a flattened trail ending at a lookout offering the views of the beach. Do not forget your sun glasses!
Hamilton Island is the most thronged one here due to its several options for accommodation right from your own house to a standard hotel room. I recommend staying here in a house or apartment for saving money, which are many to the north. Some of the options (luxury and budget) are Whitsunday Apartments, Great Barrier Reef Yacht Club, expensive 6 star Qualia, and the Reef View Hotel. This island is the ideal beginning point to get out to the Whitehaven beach (30 minutes) and reef (2 hours). Besides great accommodations, there are many dining zones in Marina Village and good walking opportunities. Try out its Passage Peak hike, a challenging one to be on the highest point for great views. You can even bike here. If you do not mind spending, then you can also decide to be at the Hayman Island boasting the most elite resort. Off the shore are few most beautiful coral reefs.
Best time to come: October to January