Authored by Laura Clear
Made up of 74 island wonders in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays are the most beautiful part of Queensland’s tropical coast. Four of the islands have resorts but most are uninhabited, characterized by dense rainforest, hiking trails, and secluded white sand beaches which offer back-to-nature beach camping for the adventurous.
There are plenty of reasons to visit the Whitsundays, though this is one of those destinations where you don’t really need an excuse; a true paradise, and the ultimate in adventure and relaxation, with great cocktails and incredible local seafood!
5 Reasons to Visit the Whitsundays
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Sunrise and Sunset
Many destinations boast spectacular sunrises and sunsets, but there is something truly magical about looking out over the ocean to the horizon and watching as the first / final rays of light appear / disappear for the day.
Waking up to an ocean-front view as the sun rises over the ocean is something else. But if you’re not an early riser, there are many fabulous ways to experience sunset in the Whitsundays, and you can’t beat a sunset cruise.
The Paradise Explorer will take you out on the ocean to witness one of their many beautiful sunsets, or make a night of it and go out on Sundowner Cruises which offer drinks and snacks whilst you cruise around Airlie watching the sun go down.
The Whitsunday Islands are some of the most scenic in Australia, and you’re never far from a remarkable view. Many are easy to access such as Flagstaff Hill lookout which provides 360 degree views of Bowen and Grays beach. Others, such as horseshoe bay and Whitehaven, are worth the extra effort to get to.
It’s a 10-20 minute walk to reach the viewpoint for Horseshoe bay, but looking down over this iconic beach is spectacular. The beach is framed by two granite outcrops which provide a haven for a wonderful range of fish and coral. Make sure to stop in at the quirky Horseshoe Bay Cafe and stock up for the walk, they provide an amazing breakfast.
Often named among the best beaches in the world, Whitehaven is a breathtaking stretch of white silica sands and crystal clear waters; the very definition of a pristine white beach. Don’t miss out on exploring Hill Inlet. Red Cat Adventures will take you up to the cove at the northern end of the beach, where the tide shifts and you are able to see the swirly sand layers featured in the ocean.
Many people see the Whitsundays as a place to getaway and relax. And we don’t blame them – it is after-all the perfect destination for this. But the islands also offer a wide range of activities and adventures to satisfy the inner adrenalin junkie within us all.
Why not take a rainforest or boardwalk tour with Whitsunday Segway Tours. Or a day or two sailing with Red Cat Adventures. There are many different types of adventure throughout the islands; everything from jet boating to skydiving, as well as some good old fashioned day walks with spectacular views.
Starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, Bowen was made famous as the main location for Baz Luhrmann’s latest epic movie, Australia. While the film was set in Darwin, scenes were actually filmed in Bowen along the main street, featuring many of their historic buildings.
Though Bowen is also famous as the home of the Big Mango – Australia loves their “big” roadside attractions, though this one in particular became well known was it was supposedly stolen! A smaller version was spotted in many different places all around the world, though none of these international destinations make mango sorbet quite like they do in Bowen.
There are many other incredible things to do in Bowen; everything from turtle spotting from the jetty, to catching the Paradise Explorer, visiting Grays beach, flagstaff hill lookout and horseshoe bay. While visiting don’t forget to pop into some of Bowens locally owned restaurants such as the Three Sisters Cafe and Birds Fish Bar; I guarantee you won’t be left hungry or disappointed.
A central point for many Whitsunday activities such as the Sundowner Cruise, Whitsunday Segway Tours and Red Cat Adventures, Arlie Beach is an attraction in itself. It allows you time to mix with Queensland locals, head down to the Saturday markets and experience local produce, and maybe take a away a beautiful handmade gift or souvenir.
Along with its own incredible beach, Arlie has a wide range of pubs and eateries which are a great way to source local knowledge on the different walking tracks with the best views. Foodies in Arlie will delight – I strongly recommend stopping in at Fish D’vine; a cafe and rum bar which offers amazing cooking classes with owner and chef Rebecca Clark. Her passion for food is so infectious its incredible.
Also visit Walters lounge located at the port of Arlie. This is a wonderful local restaurant and bar with delicious gourmet food, but you’ll want to leave room for their desserts.
✈ Flights & Accommodation
Fly to the Whitsundays direct with Jetstar Australia. They operate a direct flight from Sydney, Brisbane & Melbourne to Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine) multiple times a week with prices starting at $119. Keep track of Jetstar deals to the Whitsundays by downloading the free Skyscanner app. Click here
Whitsunday Transit specializes in Whitsunday Coast airport transfers. They will meet your flight at Prosperine and transport you by modern air-conditioned luxury coach. The service is available for picks up and drops off at your hotel at any time.
The Tourism Whitsundays website is: www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au
Where You Should Stay
Rose Bay Resort
This unique hotel in Bowen offers stunning views from the rooms over a private beach.
Heart Hotel & Gallery Whitsundays
Locatedin the heart of Arlie Beach, ideally positioned for guests wishing to discover the area’s attractions.
Located in Airlie Beach, with luxury accommodation and a full range of facilities. Incredible views from the infinity pool, and a private Jacizzi.
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