Off the coast of Queensland in Australia lies a group of islands known for their unspoiled beauty and the world’s most spectacular coral reef, the Great Barrier Reef. These are the Whitsundays, 74 islands of secluded beaches, snorkeling sites, camping and luxury resorts, attracting visitors from Australia and around the world.
“Australia is much more than the Outback. For the trappings of civilization, head for cities like Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne Perth,” travel services guide, DialAFlight, highlights. “Australia is a continent of a country, even bigger than Europe,” with much to offer visitors. But, if you love water and beach adventures, then the Whitsundays provide an ideal destination. Their vicinity to the Great Barrier Reef make the islands a must visit for snorkeling and diving.
The area is remote – two hours by plane from Sydney, three hours from Melburne – but the trip is worth it. You will arrive either on Hamilton Island or Whitsunday Coast Airport on the coast in Proserpine. From Proserpine, you can explore the coast and Airlie Beach, the largest town in the area. Airlie is full of booking services to the islands, just drop into one to set up your diving adventure. Over 70% national parks land, Hamilton Island is the Whitsundays largest resort with coral reefs, pristine beaches, golf and sailing.
Don’t miss Whitehaven Beach, the jewel of Whitsunday Island, the largest island in the group. Its 4 ½ mile long brilliant white silica beach is considered one of the finest in the world, consistently topping lists of the best beaches in the world.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef on the planet and the only natural formation visible from space. 1,600 miles long, the reef has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to thousands of sea creatures. You can dive or snorkel here, just be careful not to disturb this precious habitat.
Though some areas have luxury resorts, the Whitsundays are definitely for the adventurous visitor. Many of the islands are sparsely, if at all inhabited, and you will often find yourselves completely immersed in nature. Development has been kept in check on the islands as many are national parks. The islands are home to numerous flora and fauna. Around you the sea glimmers, teeming with fish. Whale watching season runs from June – September in the Whitsundays and you’ll marvel at these majestic mammals. But to really commune with nature, pitch a tent at one of the numerous camping sites and sleep under the stars in one of the most unspoiled places on Earth.
For more information, visit Tourism Whitsundays.