Wandering The Whitsundays - Travel Article
Travel Article: Wandering The Whitsundays

Travel Article: Wandering The Whitsundays

There are plenty of great value holiday escapes to the Whitsundays, in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.

From the Whitsundays coastline stretching from Bowen in the north to Laguna Quays in the south, and 74 tropical islands, most uninhabited, the region has something for everyone from families to independent travelers and couples seeking a romantic getaway. It's one of the most beautiful places on the planet and it's right in our own backyard!

With the bustling village of Airlie Beach at its heart, the sugarcane town of Proserpine in the west and the World Heritage listed marvel of the Great Barrier Reef in the east, the Whitsundays cater for all ages and budgets.


Airlie's laidback village atmosphere thankfully hasn't been spoiled. Redeveloped hotels and new self-contained apartments combine luxury with spectacular views over the Coral Sea and islands. In the centre of town, a huge man-made swimming lagoon set in tropical gardens provides year-round swimming, and shady spots to stretch out and relax.

Nearby Bowen is famous for its mangoes, while the fresh produce of the hinterland and abundant seafood finds its way to the tables of restaurants, both on the islands and coast. The main street of Airlie is alive with bars, cafes and al fresco restaurants, offering seafood, Italian, Mediterranean, contemporary Australian, Thai, Greek, Mexican, Indian and some of the best grilled beef steaks in the country. Dining on the islands is as diverse as great value buffets, beachfront cafes to five star a la carte and gourmet picnics.

While the Whitsunday Islands are mostly National Parks, there are several diverse island resorts scattered throughout the Whitsunday Passage, ranging from the five-star Hayman to the more budget-orientated Hook Island with a private camping ground.

Another eight island resorts, many recently refurbished, cater for all tastes and, best of all, won't break the bank. Several, including Lindeman Island, home to Australia's only Club Med Resort and Brampton Island offer food and all non-motorised activities in the tariff, even golf! There are three accommodation options on Long Island, each with their own character and appeal: Club Crocodile, Palm Bay Hideaway and the Whitsunday Wilderness Lodge.

South Molle is a paradise for families. For the ultimate in pampering, indulge in spa treatments on the five-star recently refurbished Hayman or Novotel Daydream Island Resort or choose from the amazing array of activities and nightlife on Hamilton.

There are many day tour options available from the coast and islands. Popular spots include Langford Reef and Whitehaven Beach, a 6km stretch of white, silica sand. You can tour the hinterland rainforest while the Barefoot Bushman's Wildlife Park has an amazing crocodile show. Keep your eyes open for "salties" on the Proserpine River Eco Tour, which operates an ecological excursion along the wild reaches of the Proserpine River and the Goorganga Wetlands or explore the Whitsundays Coast with a local tour operator, taking in the local beauty spots and history.

One of the world's most spectacular aquatic playgrounds, the Whitsundays are home to a huge fleet of boats perfect for exploring the islands and nearby Great Barrier Reef. Day tours on fast catamarans, famous sailing sloops and motor cruisers are available from the islands and Airlie Beach.

Within hours of arriving, you can be exploring uninhabited islands, walking deserted beaches, snorkeling among coral reefs or simply lazing on the boat deck! Some tours have semi-submersible vessels which allow you to look at the coral and teeming fish life without getting your feet wet. Some fully-crewed sailing charters explore remote bays and reef, with nothing for you to do but relax.

The Whitsundays is world-renowned for its safe sailing conditions, and not surprisingly is home to the biggest fleet of bareboat charter boats in the southern hemisphere. After a comprehensive briefing, you'll be ready to take the helm and explore the islands at your own pace, dropping anchor in any of the secluded island bays.

Back on the mainland, there are heaps of activities for round the clock fun! Airlie Beach has parasailing, tandem skydiving, jet ski thrill rides, horseriding and even sea kayaking. Laguna Quays Resort, near Proserpine, boasts one of Australia's leading resort golf courses.

The Whitsundays offers a great value escape, for the most active to relaxed holiday breaks. Whether you're travelling independently, as a family or with your partner, the choices range from motels, self-contained apartments, five-star resorts to all-inclusive island getaways.

Access to the Whitsundays is easy. There are direct flights from Brisbane and Sydney into Whitsunday Coast Airport at Proserpine and Hamilton Island Airport, plus daily connections from most capital cities. Drive access is north on the Bruce Highway from Brisbane and the Gold Coast (about 1,100km) while there are regular train and bus services from the north and south. Once you're here, hop on any of the regular Whitsunday Transit services which operate in and around Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour.

See you in paradise!