Getting wet in the Whitsundays is de rigeur. The Whitsunday waters come in a particular shade of blue, or more accurately turquoise. This colour comes from very fine particles of sediment which scatter the sunlight as it penetrates the surface. So it's no secret that activities on, in, under or above that divine ocean water are heavily represented in the following list. Here's our top ten things to do in the Whitsundays:
Diving & Snorkelling
We'll try and break it to you gently. There's little point in visiting the Whitsundays if you've an aversion to salt water. The place has salt water running through its veins. Explore special diving and snorkelling sites such as Maureen's Cove on Hook Island with Ocean Rafting's Northern Exposure day trip. Or visit the Reefworld pontoon on the outer Barrier Reef for exceptional diving, snorkelling and semi-submersible glass bottom boat cruises.
Sunset cruise on Qualia's Atomic
For the exclusive use of qualia guests, 45ft luxury motor cruiser Atomic departs on an intimate sunset cruise through Dent Passage. In keeping with qualia's understated yet impeccable style, canapes and drink selections are the finest offerings, savoured as the Whitsunday Islands slip past bathed in a golden glow.
Unquestionably Australia's most photographed beach, Whitehaven Beach regularly appears on 'best beach' lists globally. Conde Nast gives it top billing for 'Top 10 Island beaches for perfect sand'. Deservedly so. Expect dazzlingly white sand that is 98% pure silica and water the colour of aquamarine. It's a beguiling combination extending over seven gorgeous kilometres. Top 10 Island Beaches for Perfect Sand by Conde Nast Traveler
Hamilton Island Golf Club
Designed by legendary five-times British Open winner Peter Thompson, HIGC is the only Australian golf course occupying its own island. It's worth a round for the views alone. A ten min boat ride from Hamilton Island, Dent Island offers hilly topography across a challenging 18 hole, par 71 championship course. Linger in the hilltop Clubhouse for lunch or drinks after a round.
Views From Above
Get airborne by seaplane or helicopter to gain a stunning perspective of islands and reefs. Snorkel in secluded coral lagoons before landing at Whitehaven Beach with an Air Whitsundays seaplane tour. Or take a helicopter joy ride over famous Heart Reef - the inspiration for countless romantic proposals and celebrations!
With so many day cruise trips departing from Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour and Hamilton Island the choices can be overwhelming. Two seasoned performers who won't disappoint are the sleek purple catamaran Camira with a fast-paced multi-stop island hop, or for a more gentle sail, historic Derwent Hunter is a graceful tallship with classic lines.
Overnight sailing in style
Spoil yourself with a stylish overnight cruise onboard Whitsunday Getaways' 43ft Fountain Pajot where you'll share the spoils with max 8 guests. It's almost like having your own private yacht! Lap up the royal treatment too onboard Sydney Sundancer which is as close as you'll get to a boutique hotel on water. Floating oversized armchairs anyone?
Skipper Your Own Yacht
If you've the skills (and the courage) to skipper your own yacht, the Whitsundays easily offer the best cruising waters in Australia. Hire a fully equipped bareboat motor or sailboat from Queensland Yacht Charters and sail off into the sunset with your loved one by your side. Does it get any more romantic? No, we don't think so either.
Undisputedly the hub of the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach is a worthy alternative to extended island sojourns. Base yourself here and explore the islands on daytrips by boat, seaplane or helicopter. Airlie has a thriving restaurant, cafe and bar scene, like Fish D'vine's famous rum bar which stocks over 450 rums - their mojitos are legendary.
Hamilton Island has something for every type of traveller: you could spend a week here and still not experience it all. From restaurants, bars, shops, watersports, walking trails, activities, there's even a school, church, ferry terminal and an airport in this self-contained island village. Don't miss sunset cocktails on One Tree Hill where timber and stone verandas form a beguiling platform to witness a glorious tropical sunset.