There’s no other dreamier destination than the Whitsunday Islands – so get ready to explore the region with this ultimate guide!

If you’re searching for the ultimate holiday experience, there is no better destination than the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland.

Located 1,000 kilometres north of Brisbane, this balmy holiday destination is made up of 74 islands, most of them uninhabited and ripe with adventure. But four of those islands offer resort accommodation, and we cannot forget the luxurious spots on the mainland.

Whether you are looking for a place to unwind, a dose of adventure or maybe something romantic, this ultimate travel guide will be your go-to for one of the greatest tourism spots in Australia and, not to forget, one of the most lavish places in North Queensland.

We’ll spend some time in particular locations, revealing the most luxurious places to stay, the most captivating things to do, and the ultimate must-see. So, without further ado, read on through for our 2024 guide to the Whitsunday Islands!


Guide to Airlie Beach, Whitsundays:

It may look like a tiny spot on the map, but Airlie Beach is anything but small. Throughout the summer it is teeming with life and, surprisingly, the nightlife here is rather robust.

The Best Hotels and Resorts in Airlie Beach:

If you’re looking for the best places to stay in Airlie Beach, thankfully the area is ripe with luxurious accommodation. With plenty of resorts to pick and choose from, here you’ll find decadent interior design, wide edge pools and, most importantly, short walks to the oceanfront.

Coral Sea Resort: Showcasing stunning waterfront views with a restaurant situated right on the edge of the water, Coral Sea Resort gives you the perfect spot to dine with your loved ones.

Heart Hotel and Gallery: Capturing the classic tropical Queenslander through its carefully designed architecture and glamorous interior design, Heart Hotel and Gallery is an artist’s haven with their gallery on the top floor featuring monthly exhibitions from local creators.


Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland. Photographed by autau. Image via Shutterstock.

Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland. Photographed by autau. Image via Shutterstock.

The Best Things to Do in Airlie Beach:

Sailing, snorkelling, swimming and even skydiving; Airlie Beach is packed with plenty of activities for your picking. Whether you’re looking for something eye-opening and thrill seeking or, maybe something more mellow and calming, Airlie Beach has it all.

Jet Boat Ride: Have you ever wanted to hop abord a jet boat? Get wet with 180 degree turns? Or maybe spin 360 degrees? Then hold on tight and prepare to get wet with the Cheeky Bee Jet Boat Ride. This 30-minute, scenic experience will take you around Airlie Beach’s picturesque Pioneer Bay. Complete with free photos, this is the ultimate thing to do in the region!

Tandem Skydive: So you’ve explored Airlie Beach on foot and underwater. But what about up in the air? We’ve found one of the best things to do in Airlie Beach: a tandem skydive 15,000 ft in the air! With 60 seconds of thrilling freefall, skydivers will be locked into their instructor as they float like a bird for up to seven minutes over Airlie Beach. With a scenic, birds-eye view of the Whitsunday Islands, there’ll be no need to do anything else after this!

Whitsunday and Whitehaven Beach Cruise: One of the best things to do in Airlie Beach is, without a doubt, a Whitsunday and Whitehaven Beach Cruise. Over six hours you’ll cruise through some of the most remote areas within the Whitsunday Islands passing through peaceful islands. With swimming opportunities, guests will also have the opportunity to learn about the region thanks to the very knowledgeable skippers. With morning and afternoon tea included, all you need to bring is a good attitude, sunscreen and swimmers!

Airlie Beach Lagoon: Situated in the heart of Airlie Beach, Airlie Beach Lagoon is the perfect spot to relax and unwind. Swim in the open lagoon or lie on the grass adjacent and collect some much-needed rays or even meet some locals and tourists. And if you want some waves, just scooch over a couple of metres and you’ll find yourself at Airlie Beach.

Guide to Hamilton Island, Whitsundays:

Welcome to Hamilton Island! Known for its towering palms, pristine beaches, lush jungle and proximity to the reef; since the 80s, Hamilton Island has become a world-class resort destination with sophisticated accommodation, incredible restaurants, infinity pools and all the resort amenities you could wish for.

The Best Hotels and Resorts in Hamilton Island:

Hamilton Island has an intimate selection of resorts and hotels waiting for you to lap them up, with some featuring ultimate indulgent experiences and others showcasing pristine solitude.

qualia: Considered one of the most unique and ultimate luxury experiences in all of Australia, qualia truly embodies the meaning of luxury accommodation. Also making our list as one of the Most Romantic Stays in Queensland, qualia, translating to a ‘collection of deeper sensory experiences’ in Latin, standouts thanks to its impressive offering of private and seclusive villas.

Hamilton Island Beach Club: For those who prefer luxury beachside experiences that are much more relaxed and easygoing, Hamilton Island Beach Club is for you. Here you can wakeup with undisturbed views of Catseye Beach on Hamilton Island and lounge on your very own furnished terrace.


Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland. Photographed by superjoseph. Image via Shutterstock.

Hamilton Island, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland. Photographed by superjoseph. Image via Shutterstock.

The Best Things to Do in Hamilton Island:

Hamilton Island Golf Club: One of Australia’s Best Golf Courses, Hamilton Island Golf Club has everything you’d want in a golf club. Scratch up on your golfing techniques with an 18-hole course or hire a personal trainer to show you the ropes. Plus, did we mention that you’ll be playing with 360-degree views of the Whitsundays?

Go-Kart RacingRace your friends, family or loved ones around a purpose-built racetrack, while taking in the landscape of Palm Valley on Hamilton Island. Aim for speeds of up to 45 kilometres an hour in a vehicle that does not require a drivers license.

BushwalkingPerhaps you want to see Hamilton Island at your own pace. Well, you are always welcome to do that too. Hamilton Island features a nice selection of walking tracks that’ll get your heart pumping, and work on your summer body, all while finding the secret nooks and crannies of this island paradise.

Whitehaven Beach: Making our list as one of the Most Beautiful Beaches in Australia, you’d be kicking yourself if you visited Hamilton Island without setting foot on Whitehaven Beach. With soft, white sand and stunningly clear turquoise waters, Whitehaven Beach is accessible only by boat, seaplane or helicopter. But, despite being hard to reach, the seven kilometres of unspoiled beach and crystal-clear waters makes it well worth the wait.

Daydream Island, Whitsundays. Supplied by Tourism and Events Queensland. Photographed

Daydream Island, Whitsundays. Supplied by Tourism and Events Queensland. Photographed
by Mike Hilburger.

Although Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island are considered the main destinations to visit in the Whitsunday Islands, do remember that there are plenty of other resorts, islands and activities to immerse yourself in.

The Best Hotels and Resorts in the Whitsunday Islands region:

Palm Bay Resort: Situated in the neck of Long Island, Palm Bay Resort offers seclusion within Balinese-themed accommodation while showcasing unique views of the Whitsundays and the Coral Sea beyond.

InterContinental Hayman Island Resort: If you’re searching for a secluded getaway that is nearest to the Great Barrier Reef and offers a classy luxury experience, InterContinental Hayman Island Resort is for you. Complete with 160 rooms, onsite restaurants, and bars, with a spectacular pool and two floodlit tennis courts, there won’t be any reason to ever leave!

Daydream Island Resort: Offering relaxed accommodation among tranquil gardens and living reef coral lagoons, while also offering the resort standards like a swimming pool and spa, Daydream Island Resort truly makes all of your wishes come true when looking for luxurious accommodation in the Whitsunday Islands.

The Best Things to Do in the Whitsunday Islands region:

Snorkeling ToursTour the Whitsundays’ waters and reefs, and see its underground habitat through snorkeling tours.

Jet Ski ToursNo experience necessary for this one! Hop aboard a rented jet ski and tackle the pristine waters with a small group of other holidayers.

Whitsunday Fishing ChartersTravel with the experts in fishing as you try to snatch up the big one.

Whitsunday Segway ToursForget walking and hop aboard a segway to see the sights of the Whitsundays through a guided tour.

Crocodile SafariSpend a full day out with experienced tour guides as you observe the crocodile habitat of Northern Queensland, Aussie barbeque lunch included.

For more swimming, snorkelling and sailing, check out this list to the 10 Most Beautiful Islands around Australia. And if you love to explore underwater gardens, be sure to tick all of these Top Rated Snorkelling Spots around Australia off your list!

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land mentioned in our article, the people of the Giya Nation, and we recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

Feature image: Whitsunday Islands, Queensland. Photographed by Tanya Puntti. Image via Shutterstock.
This article was first published on December 10 2018. It was updated and edited by Hunter and Bligh on January 25 2024.
Editor’s Note: Our writers and contributors have independently selected and curated this article, and all opinions are their own. This article does contain affiliate links which allow us to make revenue off some purchases made by our readers.