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Looking for a physical challenge like sailing, running, ocean swimming or SUP boarding? The Whitsundays has probably created an event around it. If your interests are more cultural, Hamilton Island will likely float your boat, as the island regularly plays host to big name fashion, performance and artists. 

May: Whitsunday SUP Challenge

A natural combination of SUP boards and sailing yachts the Whitsunday SUP Challenge has SUP races, yacht races and cruising legs with plenty of time over days of competition dedicated to leisure. Like Day 2 where half a day is allocated to snorkelling at Langford Island. Or Day 4 that has a Battle of the Paddles as part of Whitehaven picnic day. It's all good fun!

June: Great Whitehaven Beach Run

Whitehaven Beach is one of the most popular destinations in the Whitsundays so it's no real surprise that runners get their chance to have a crack at this most famous beach. Distances range from junior events through to the signature half marathon race where world class athletes

June to September: Whale watching

The annual humpback whale migration is a definite highlight if you're in the area over the winter months. Warm Whitsunday waters are a natural playground for these migratory creatures who give birth to calves in protected calm waters. Dent Passage is a popular haunt for whale spotting or you may be lucky enough to view them from the air if during a scenic flight.

July: Airlie Beach Running Festival

Hosted by a friendly bunch of enthusiastic runners who formed the Whitsunday Running Club, the Airlie Beach Running Festival is one of the clubs two signature events for the year (the other is the Great Whitsunday Trail Race). The half marathon takes competitors through Airlie's pretty waterfront boulevard with a couple of shorter distances for the whole family.

July: Bowen Offshore Superboats

One for the revhead speedsters, Bowen's foreshore promises to turn on a party as 15 offshore superboats compete at speeds up to 200km per hour. A Superboat Street Festival brings these high tech machines onto the streets where festival goers can get up close and personal with their heros.

July: Hamilton Island Clash Of The Paddles

The calm waters of the Whitsundays have been attracting paddlers for years who savour the challenging currents and waterways. Over four days of intense competition outriggers, canoes, surf and ocean ski paddles compete against each other in a series of gruelling events. 

August: Whitsunday Reef Festival

Airlie Beach lets it sun-bleached hair down at the annual Reef Festival which lasts for nine days in mid August. Airlie's main street is closed over the main weekend event as street parties take hold with music, dance, food, fireworks and reef-themed street parade. Book a hotel room, bring your party shoes and celebrate life in the tropics!

August: Airlie Beach Race Week

Celebrating 27 years of world class yacht racing, Airlie Beach Race Week is one of Australia's largest (and favourite) yachting regattas. The town of Airlie, which has long held a reputation as a 'drinking town with a sailing problem' knows how to show visitors a good time. Locals ramp up the hospitality as thousands of yachties sail into town.

August: Hamilton Island Race Week

A legendary event that attracts sailors, celebrities and partygoers from around the globe, Hamilton Island Race Week is a firm fixture on the international sailing calendar. Racing is spread over one week with a jam-packed social calendar slotted in around the racing. 

September: Pas de Deux In Paradise

The Australian Ballet makes regular appearances on the Hamilton Island event calendar with 2016 promising a spectacular event under the stars at qualia. With a Whitsunday Islands backdrop guests are treated to an Australian Ballet barre class and a behind the scenes masterclass as a prelude to the main event, a performance intertwined with an exclusive black tie dinner.

November: Airlie Beach Music Festival

Attracting big name acts like Bondi cigars, the Black Sorrows, Richard Clapton, Toni Childs and Angry Anderson rocking the house down in 2015, Airlie Beach lives up to its party town reputation during the music festival. 2016 promises to bigger than ever. 

November: Whitehaven Beach Ocean Swim

If there's a more alluring venue to hold an ocean swim event we've not found it. Part of the Hamilton Island Endurance series and a partner of Ky Hurst's Great Australian Swim Series, there's a kids 350m event and a 750m and 2km swim for adults.