Discover boutique hotels in the Whitsundays, Australia

Dotted just off the coast of Queensland, the pristine Whitsundays are a pocket of paradise. Lush rainforests and reef-fringed islands meet dazzling white-sand beaches and glassy-still waters in this almost unimaginably beautiful natural wonder, named by Captain Cook. Though the major gateway to the islands, mainland hub Airlie Beach, is known for its hard-partying backpacker scene, the uninhabited islands offer plenty of opportunities for seclusion and communing with nature. The Great Barrier Reef shelters the islands from large swells, making the marine park perfect for swimming, snorkelling and diving to discover submerged treasures – coasting turtles, neon-bright fish and otherworldly coral gardens.

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Areas in the Whitsundays

When to go

October to May is known as ‘stinger season’ – it’s when the box jellyfish come out to play, so you’ll have to wear a wetsuit. September, which is early spring in the southern hemisphere, has sunny days, the least rainfall and the perfect water temperature for swimming.

Getting there

  • Planes

    If you’re travelling from overseas, fly to Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney or Melbourne and then connect to either the Great Barrier Reef airport or Proserpine airport.
  • Boats

    You can hop between Airlie Beach, Daydream Island and Hamilton Island on the ferry. There ferries run a few times a day, but be sure to check the timetable ahead of time.
  • Automobiles

    The usual car hire firms can be found at Queensland’s airports, but chances are if you’re island-hopping you won’t need wheels, you’ll want wings or sails. Cars can be left in secure parking at main ferry hubs.