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The Whitsundays, in the Heart of the Great Barrier Reef, is located along Queensland’s central coast in north-eastern Australia, approximately 1,120km north of Brisbane and 630km south of Cairns. It is known for its 74 ‘island wonders’ dotted along the coastline in the Coral Sea, many of them boasting spectacular fringing reefs, making the region a paradise for sailors, scuba divers, snorkellers and swimmers…not to mention, kayakers, paddle boarders, jetskiiers and fishermen.

Only a handful of the islands are inhabited with holiday accommodation from exclusive island hideaways that offer the ultimate in luxury, to eco-retreats, secluded getaways and family friendly island resorts all bursting with activities. The Whitsundays has the very best in tropical island resorts; here, you’ll find Hamilton Island, InterContinental Hayman Island Resort, Daydream Island Resort & Living Reef, Elysian Retreat, and Palm Bay Resort, both on Long Island and Camp Island Lodge.

For your Great Barrier Reef Adventure, you can choose from any number of vessels, from romantic old timber yachts to fast and sleek motor cruisers and everything in between. Or you can fly over the reef by helicopter or seaplane for a totally different perspective. Not to be missed is the iconic Heart Reef - a coral reef that has formed naturally into the shape of a heart that is only visible in The Whitsundays and has become a well-known landmark from the air, prompting many a marriage proposal.

The Whitsunday region also boasts one of the best beaches in the world – the 7km long Whitehaven Beach, made of pure-white 98 per cent silica sand. One of the jewels in The Whitsundays crown, the sparkling, pristine Whitehaven Beach is often voted one of the top beaches in Australia and, indeed, the world and is a “must-see” when you are visiting. At the northern end of Whitehaven Beach is Hill Inlet, a stunning, swirling fusion of colours created by the sand meeting the sea as the tide comes in and out of the inlet, best viewed from the lookout.

But it’s not just the 74 islands, the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven Beach that make the Whitsundays so special! Airlie Beach, situated on the mainland with the stunning mountainous backdrop of Conway National Park, is a cosmopolitan town with a variety of shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. You can chill out at the renowned Airlie Lagoon during the day and enjoy the famed nightlife when the sun goes down. A little further inland, Proserpine sits in a fertile basin with swaying cane fields and stunning valley views. The town maintains its old-fashioned charm with its Art Deco architecture and friendly, laid-back hospitality. Bowen, in the north of The Whitsundays, delights visitors with its gentle charm and its eight beautiful beaches surrounding the town where you can walk, fossick, swim and snorkel, with some fringing reefs just metres from the beach. Driving inland from the coast you arrive at Collinsville, a small outback town that makes up for its size with its huge country welcome! Built on mining, the town celebrates this with its Coalface Experience, a fascinating look at life underground for the many miners who have worked there their whole lives.

The Whitsunday Coast Airport, Proserpine and Great Barrier Reef Airport, Hamilton Island offer flights to The Whitsundays daily. The Bruce Highway is the major road linking Queensland’s coastal cities and towns and runs through Proserpine and Bowen, with Airlie Beach located approximately 20 minutes’ drive off the highway. Major national coach operators, include The Whitsundays in their regular scheduled services and the Spirit of Queensland, links The Whitsundays by rail to all the major destinations from Cairns to Brisbane and beyond.

Find out more about the Whitsundays

Begin your Journey with Queensland Explore Centres 

There are a number Queensland Explore Centres throughout the Whitsundays who are the experts in their region.