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Things to do in the Whitsundays and Hamilton Island

Things to do in  The Whitsundays & Hamilton Island

Welcome to The Whitsundays & Hamilton Island

With sun-bleached sands, lush eucalyptus forests, and the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Great Barrier Reef right on the doorstep, the Whitsunday Islands are among the highlights of Australia's tropical north. Sprinkled along Queensland's Coral Sea coast, the 74 idyllic islands are reachable by boat from Airlie Beach, and are a popular destination for half-, full-, or multi-day island-hopping cruises; sailing adventures; and other tours. The largest of the islands is Whitsunday, where highlights include the world-famous Whitehaven Beach—a pristine expanse of sugar-white sands—and the Hill Inlet Lookout, which offers dramatic views over the surrounding islands. North of Whitsunday, the waters around Hook Island and Hayman Island are a feeding ground for dolphins, manta rays, and humpback whales. Meanwhile, to the east, Chalkies Beach on Haslewood Island—fringed by vibrant coral reefs and teeming with marine life—offers spectacular snorkeling. Farther south, the luxurious resorts of Hamilton Island draw a steady stream of holidaymakers. The most built-up of all the islands, Hamilton has a bustling marina, lively beach resorts, and an 18-hole golf course. The biggest draw is Catseye Beach, where thrill-seekers can enjoy water sports such as waterskiing, kayaking, rafting, and Jet Ski tours. However, the walking trails of Passage Peak are one of the best places to soak up the island's natural beauty.

Top 9 attractions in The Whitsundays & Hamilton Island

#1
Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach

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With its powder-white silica sands, gleaming turquoise waters, and fringe of lush rainforest, it’s little surprise that Whitehaven is one of Australia’s most photographed beaches. Stretching for almost 3 miles (5 kilometers) along the coast of Whitsunday Island, it’s a magnificent sight and an idyllic spot for swimming and snorkelling.More
#2
Hill Inlet

Hill Inlet

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On the northern end of the Whitsundays’ Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet is one of the most photographed spots in Australia. When the tide is low, visitors are treated to fantastic views of the inlet’s swirling white sand and turquoise tropical waters.More
#3
Whitsunday Passage

Whitsunday Passage

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The Whitsunday Passage is the waterway that carves through the middle of the Whitsunday Islands, in the heart of northeastern Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The famous islands, perhaps some of Australia's most popular tourist attractions, are named after the passage, which was given its title by the famed explorer Captain James Cook in 1770.More
#4
Heart Reef

Heart Reef

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Off the coast of Queensland, the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system. The portion called Hardy Reef is perhaps the most popular with visitors thanks to its postcard-perfect Heart Reef—which, true to the name, is heart-shaped.More
#5
Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island

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The largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island has some of the best beach resorts in the Pacific, right on the cusp of the Great Barrier Reef. Famed for its luxury resorts and water sports, stunning views await at every turn—pristine white sands, lush rain forest, and an endless expanse of glittering ocean.More
#6
Daydream Island Living Reef

Daydream Island Living Reef

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The Living Reef, the star attraction of Daydream Island in the Whitsunday Islands, is home to over 100 species of marine fish, coral, and invertebrates such as starfish, sea cucumbers, and crabs. The artificial reef is a microcosm of the Great Barrier Reef. Visitors can either go snorkeling or stay dry in the underwater observatory.More
#7
Shute Harbour

Shute Harbour

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Shute Harbour is a center of transit for visitors to the Whitsunday Islands. Amazingly for such a low-population area, the harbor is actually Australia's second busiest commuter port. Although there’s a small village here, the vast majority of tourists simply pass through town on their way to catch a ferry or a cruise around the islands.More
#8
Whitsunday Crocodile Safari

Whitsunday Crocodile Safari

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The Whitsunday Crocodile Safari offers you the opportunity to see saltwater crocodiles in their natural environment as you cruise around the estuaries and wetlands between the Whitsunday coast and the Proserpine River. There are about 150 of the 'salties' living in the estuaries, so keep your camera ready - the chances of a sighting are good.As well as croc-spotting, you can keep an eye out for the many other kinds of native wildlife that live in these parts - birds, reptiles, marine creatures and mammals. In addition to the cruise through the estuaries, you'll be taken on a tractor-drawn wagon train ride through the Goorganga Wetlands and through melaleuca forest and mangrove systems.Your guides provide commentary and 'bush tucker' - damper (a kind of simple bread) and billy tea, cooked over a fire. They'll also try to catch you a mud crab so they can show you its features before releasing it back into the river.More
#9
Reefworld Pontoon

Reefworld Pontoon

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Reefworld is a popular and convenient spot from which to explore the Great Barrier Reef. It consists of two giant pontoons floating over sheltered Hardy Reef, one of the thousands of small reefs that make up the Barrier Reef. From here, you can snorkel and dive year round and discover the colorful corals and abundant marine life that call these waters home.More

Recent reviews from experiences in The Whitsundays & Hamilton Island

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A Great Day
David_H, Aug 2022
Whitehaven Beach and Hamilton Island Cruise
Whitehaven Beach was amazing and there were plenty of activities there.
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Great day in the sun and water
Victoria_M, Mar 2022
Whitehaven Beach and Hamilton Island Cruise
It was nice getting to see Hamilton island which I heard a lot of in the past.
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Great day out to see beautiful Whitehaven Beach
Fares_H, Aug 2020
Whitehaven Beach Half-Day Cruises
Great day out to see beautiful Whitehaven Beach.
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Great Barrier Reef Sleep Experience
Annie, Feb 2020
2-Day Great Barrier Reef "Reefsleep" Experience
It was an amazing experience and we were so glad to see the Great Barrier Reef up close and personal.
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Nb This trip leaves from Port...
Steven_B, Aug 2016
Great Barrier Reef Day Cruise to Reefworld
Theres a good booklet provided as well a great submersible and good observation areas to see fish and the reef without getting wet.
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Amazing! I loved seeing the reef and...
Jadinda V, Jul 2014
Great Barrier Reef Day Cruise to Reefworld
I would really recommend this, if you are around the whitsundays, just make sure you get to see the reef!
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A great day out with excellent sea...
Graham K, Jan 2014
Whitehaven Beach and Hamilton Island Cruise
Whitehaven Beach a special place to see and enough time to enjoy it.
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