The Whitsundays

We find out what’s so special about the Whitsundays and why it deserved to win the award for best destination for the 2016 Golden Backpack Awards

credit: BeyondImages

The Whitsundays are made up of 74 island wonders, on the beautiful tropical coast of Queensland, Australia. Named rather inaccurately by Captain Cook, (he mistook the day of the week in his journal) the region should more accurately be named Whit Monday. Whit Sunday seems like a much more appropriate name though, as this place is all about taking it easy and feels much more like Sunday everyday than a Monday.

Nestled in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, a visit to the Whitsundays is a feast for the senses. From charming coastal towns, beautiful islands, protected rainforest, stunning beaches including the world famous Whitehaven Beach, the natural attractions of the Whitsundays offers a diverse range of experiences.

Airlie Beach on the mainland is a gateway to the islands with many trips departing from the Port of Airlie. Airlie beach is well worth a visit itself with plenty of shops and restaurants nearby and a huge public lagoon pool area.

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Airlie Beach credit: spudsstuff

The Whitsundays is far from just about the Great Barrier Reef, you can read all about the reef in it’s own special feature as it too took home a 2016 Golden Backpack Award.

The Whitsundays offers some of the world’s best sailing, where you can charter a boat and cruise the waters of the Whitsunday passage surrounded by uninhabited islands and breath-taking sunsets. If adrenaline is more your thing, you can skim across the water with one of the high-speed tours or take a scenic flight and soar across Heart Reef and Hill Inlet.

Swim, snorkel and scuba dive with thousands of brightly coloured fish and a variety of corals in the Great Barrier Reef and witness diverse marine life including humpback whales, dolphins, turtles and dugongs. Spend the day on the white silica sands of world-famous Whitehaven Beach or explore the breath-taking beauty of Hill Inlet, a stunning cove where the tide shifts the sand and water to create a swirling fusion of turquoise colours. Soak up the tropical, laid-back lifestyle, laze on one of the many uncrowded beaches, relax with a sunset cocktail and indulge in fresh local seafood at one of the many al-fresco restaurants. You’ll find every kind of beauty, adventure and luxury here.

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credit: graham melling

Here’s our top ten places to visit -

1. Airlie Beach

2. Whitehaven Beach

3. Ngaro Cultural Site

4. Long Island

5. Hook Island

6. Lindeman Islands National Park

7. Passage Peak (Hamilton Island)

8. Molle Island National Park

9. Cedar Creek Falls

10. The Pinnacles (off Hook Island)