The Whitsundays are a group of 74 islands off the coast of north-east Queensland and for travellers, they present a local paradise. The region is sheltered by the Great Barrier Reef so the waters are calm and crystal clear, creating perfect conditions for sailing, snorkelling and swimming.
Before you head up north to this tropical oasis, use our travel guide to help you plan the perfect Whitsundays holiday or book holiday park accommodation in the Whitsundays now.
Airlie Beach, on mainland Australia, acts as a passageway to the Whitsundays. It's a hub for coastal holidaymakers, and a good place to pick up a cruise or sailing trip if you haven't pre-booked. Most of the year round, it is filled with backpackers, sailors and families preparing for or returning from the Whitsundays or the Great Barrier Reef. A lagoon on the foreshore provides a spot for swimming, given that the beach itself is inhabited by box jellyfish from November to May. Base your holiday on the mainland to remain close to conveniences like supermarkets and cheaper accommodation.
Whitehaven Beach is known as the stand-out swimming destination of the Whitsundays. White sand and aqua waters stretch for 7km along Whitsunday Island, the largest island in the archipelago. To reach Whitehaven Beach, book a ferry or sailing trip from the mainland. There are campsites on the beach or the option of an overnight mooring for those lucky enough to be staying on the water. The best view of this stunning setting is from the lookout at Tongue Point.
If you're keen to head out on the water, there are a number of options for your sailing pleasure. Sailing tours take you on a relaxing journey around the Whitsunday islands with stopovers that vary depending on the trip you book. Alternatively, you can take control and skipper yourself on a bareboat, or join a crew on a crewed charter. Some sailing trips offer luxury accommodation, while some have basic bunk-style sleeping quarters: it all comes down to your taste and budget. There are also water taxi services to take you to a particular island with your gear, if you have a campsite booked.
Another coastal gateway, Proserpine is a favourite mainland base for Whitsunday travellers. For those keen on fishing, Peter Faust Dam is an ideal spot to fish for barramundi (with a permit). The Proserpine River is a hot croc-watching spot, and there's also a historic museum, local pub and golf course, depending on what takes your fancy.
Choosing the best time to visit the Whitsundays really comes down to the type of holiday you prefer. This region is a holiday favourite for locals and tourists alike, so numbers increase during peak season. That said, the weather is fairly consistent and won't be too far below 20 degrees during the cooler months. July through September is the best time to see whales migrating through the Whitsundays. The tropical wet season occurs January through March, bringing with it humidity and the occasional tropical afternoon shower.