The Whitsundays Australia
"Expensive, but worth it!"
The Whitsundays Australia are probably the most stunning part of Australia but equally one of the most expensive too.
There are 74 Whitsuday Australian Islands which sit in the warm turquoise waters of the Coral Sea. The Great Barrier reef stretches throughout the islands too so the marine life is breathtaking.
A perfect Australian island getaway, this is the place for you if you want to relax and enjoy the beaches and sunshine. It’s also great if you like snorkelling and diving.
When to come
You can visit the Whitsundays Australia all year round but it’s probably not quite hot enough to come here in the winter between May-August.
The most expensive and hottest time is mid December to mid January (also Australian holiday season and the Whitsundays are a favourite island getaway)
February could be a good cheap time to come otherwise October, November, March and April will be the shoulder season and therefore cheaper than the peak of Summer.
Airlie Beach is not far from Prosperine and is the gateway to the 74 islands. It’s still on the mainland so not strictly part of the Whitsunday Australia Islands.
You can drive to Airlie Beach but that's a seriously long drive from Sydney. It's a bit more manageable from Cairns.
Best thing to do is fly into Prosperine on the mainland or Hamilton island, the largest inhabited island of the Whitsundays Australia.
Once you are here you need a base. From here you can enjoy the sunshine and take day trips to various must see places.
Whilst there are 74 islands, only a few are inhabited or have amenities on them. This is why the best way to see the islands is on a boat.
There are lots of companies that offer a weeks tour of the Whitsundays Australia. You can even get your own private boat with a skipper – definitely the way to do the islands if there are a few of you.
There’s obviously some cheaper options too if you are prepared to go with a group tour. Have a look at Whitsunday Magic who offer 3 day cruises for £729 per person, departing Mondays or Pacific Sunrise with cabins starting at $744. This is a great option if you want to incorporate some diving too.
If a boat trip really isn't for you then you can opt to stay on the mainland at Airlie beach or have a more luxurious stay on one of the island resorts.
Strictly speaking, Airlie Beach isn't the Whitsundays so it's a lot cheaper than staying on the islands. You can do day trips from here too. A good option if you want to do the Whitsundays Australia on a budget.
Where to stay
Cheap option is to stay at Airlie Beach:-Big 4 Adventure Whitsunday resortk – from $150 for cabinsWhitsunday Holiday Apartments from $150Sea Star Apartments from $160Reefside Villas from $150Summit Apartments Airlie Beach - A great option. Value for money, roomy apartments. Pay a little bit more for the ocean view apartments - you won't regret it. Only slight issue is that it is up a big hill and is about a 15 minute walk to the centre. Get the bus or cab back up the hill is my advice!
Next option is Hamilton Island. This is the biggest of the inhabited Whitsundays Australia islands so tends to have more to do and a larger choice of accommodation. A good option if you need to keep busy and struggle to lie on the beach all day.
For more information click here for
Hamilton Island Australia
If you can, I'd stay on one of the islands so you can experience the Whitsundays Australia at its best - a most fantastic island getaway.
There’s generally one resort on each island and depending on the size of the resort, there might be a couple of choices of restaurants. These islands are for you if you want to feel like you are in a quiet part of paradise.
You can still do day trips from these islands as well. A popular destination for honeymooners. It expensive but worth it!
There are still some islands that cater for the budget end of the market:Hook Island – has a variety of cabins and dormitories at Hook Island Wilderness. It is best known for its underwater conservatory. (from $45) South Molle Island – Koala Adventure Island Resort caters for the backpacking market. Lovely island with a great national park which means you can walk to lovely bays and beaches.(from $130)
Then comes the expensive and exclusive resorts that are amazing but you have to pay for it:-Hayman Island Resort – Meant to be the best accommodation on the Whitsundays Australia. They even pick you up in a luxury boat from Hamilton Island airport and lavish you with champagne. Beautiful surroundings, fabulous lagoon pool and great restaurants. Top tip...Hayman will do a special 3 night package for $800 if you book through the Whitsunday tourist centre 5 days prior. It’s their last minute deal and only works if they are not fully booked. Could be worth the risk as this is very good value. One night plus transfers can cost you $600. Call +61 (0) 7 4945 3711Paradise Bay Eco Escape on long island – you can actually hire the entire island just for you and your guests. It caters for 16 people and you’ll get your own chef and skipper to explore more of the Whitsundays Australia. This is the one for you if you have the cash to splash and are in a big group. ($1200)Peppers Palm Bay Resort on Long Island – Very secluded and gorgeous. Only 21 beach front Bures. My friends stayed here and LOVED it. (from $390)Lindeman Island – the only Club Med island resort in Australia. It offers an all exclusive package and there tends to be more activities that you can do here because of it. Good for couples and OK for families too. (from $580)Daydream island Resort and Spa (pictured) – Slightly cheaper than the above options as it is bigger with 300 rooms. It has a man made aquarium, good facilities including an open air cinema and great spa.(from $300)Brampton Island – almost entirely national park, good amenities and nice beaches. The resort is run by Voyages who run the facilities at Ayers Rock. (from $310)
There are two other islands – Wilson Island and Lizard Island that are in the Whitsundays. They are VERY exclusive with prices starting at $1000 per night.....formidable if you have the cash and want a very romantic special break.
You can’t come to
the Whitsundays Australia
without visiting the Heart Reef or Whitehaven Beach.
Whitehaven Beach features in my top 10 beaches of Australia and it’s probably up there as the no.1. Whilst it’s the biggest of the islands, It’s not inhabited so you have to get a boat or fly here. The sand is amazingly fine and white. The sea is so warm and blue. At the north end, there is an amazing fusion of colours as the tide shifts the sand and water together. The whole area is part of Australia National Parks and it's very beautiful.
We took a scenic helicopter flight here, which meant we also got to see the Heart Reef from the air. It’s a set of coral in the sea that has formed a heart shape. It’s very pretty but has to be seen from the air.
The other key thing to do in the Whitsundays Australia is water sports and in particular snorkelling and diving. This is beacuse it's still part of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea which are just fantastic for marine life. Click here fore more information on
We had a romantic champagne picnic for two, complete with champagne on Whitehaven Beach. The nice thing about this is that it drops you at the opposite end of the beach to where all the day tour boats come in.
We really did feel like we had the beach to ourselves as a result. Most resorts offer the trip or you can get here from Airlie Beach.
Australian Diving - deep sea divers
Show me other best australian beaches
Show me other great destinations for travel in Australia
Take me back to the Real Australia Travel home page