Island life: The ultimate Whitsundays accommodation guide
Staying on an island is an obvious choice in the Whitsundays; you’re guaranteed box-office views to its mango coloured sunsets, fringing reef steps off the shoreline and world-class fishing.
Choosing what to do in the Whitsundays is hard, but choosing where to stay is harder. That’s why we’ve turned back the thousand-thread-count sheets, swanned around in hotel robes and even pitched tents to bring you this Whitsundays accommodation guide to the islands.
If a mainland stay is more you scene head to this blog post.
A new way to camp: Camp Island
Quick, call the ACCC – there’s some serious false advertising happening on Camp Island, an island north of Bowen, that despite its name, actually has nothing to do with camping.
Instead of tent pegs and poles, it’s bungalows with beachfront views. What’s more, it’s yours for you and up to 13 friends for just $1500/night.
With the option to hire an executive chef to cater your stay, you’ll soon see the only thing that remotely resembles camping is the fact you’ll have no neighbours on this atoll.
Say goodbye to breakfast buffet small talk – whether you come as a couple or full complement of 14 guests, the hosts of this island share our love of rock star status and guarantee exclusive run of the entire island.
You can make your way to this newcomer to the Whitsundays accommodation scene via a 20-minute barge-ride from Elliot River’s jetty or helicopter from the Whitsunday Coast Airport.
Honeymoon experience: qualia, Hamilton Island
With a trophy cabinet to rival four-time Cox Plate winner, Winx, it’s safe to say anyone who chooses to stay at qualia is the real Whitsundays winner.
With prestigious small print underneath its name, including “Boutique Hotel Awards’ Best Beach or Coastal Resort in the World” (2017), this hotel has the accolades to command its price tag (rooms start from $1050 per night).
It’s not just qualia’s interior design and fit-out that brings the “wow” factor. Nothing is done by halves around here; even the Pebble Beach degustation lasts longer than most flights to get there.
Add onto the romantic receipt personal-style concierge services and holistic spa treatments, and you’ll have little reason to venture outside qualia’s perimeter after checking in.
The regular rooms have private sundecks, but of course, if sharing the two infinity lap pools with the guests of the other 59 pavilions isn’t exclusive enough, check into a Windward Pavilion which comes complete with a private plunge pool.
All-inclusive: Hamilton Island Palm Bungalows, Hamilton Island
If you thought it was just high rollers who stayed on Hamilton Island, let us introduce Hamilton Island Palm Bungalows.
Here, there’s no need to fork out your retirement fund to get within golf-buggy driving distance of the island’s amenities (with a package deal you can stay island side for about $400/night).
Inside your room, you’ll find the makings for instant family relaxation: kitchenettes, a bar fridge and enough room for an extra single bed or cot to have the little ones in tow.
Looking for a tropical family-friendly escape? Here’s why Hamilton Island is an easy holiday with kids.
Total beachfront: Palm Bay Resort, Long Island
Not to be confused with its American counterpart, Queensland has its own Long Island, and this one comes with 13kms of secluded tropical beach.
And you know a place is off-the-beaten-track when the only way you can get there is by water taxi.
When it comes to staying on this island atoll, it’s just Palm Bay Resort who lays out a welcome mat in front of their Balinese-inspired villas.
Thinking of making yourself acquainted with Long Island? Check out our 48-hour guide first.
Nature froth: South Molle Island National Park, South Molle Island
For more boating, camping and fishing than your local BCF store, sleep island-side at one of the South Molle Island National Park campgrounds.
This deserted island experience pares things right back to basics, including the price; you can stay on the island for less than the price of a Big Mac Combo ($6.35).
The only way to hit its shores is by boat, but the flipside of the ‘getting here’ hurdle is that you’ll have the white sandy beaches all to yourself… or the maximum of 48 people that can camp on the island at any one time.
Keen on island camping? Check out these other epic island campsites.
Sleep on the water: A Little Bit Nauti
Waterbeds might have been all the rage in the 1980s, but they’ve come a long way since then, especially when you try bareboating the Whitsundays.
Make the most of the fact you don’t even need a licence to rent a multi-million dollar sailing yacht and take to the open water.
Jump aboard A Little Bit Nauti, who lives up to her name and lets you and 10 friends bring the nature.
With four glamorous double cabins, a dining area, and two bathrooms, she’s a celebration boat best suited to a Gatsby-style sailing adventure.
Rent her for a week in shoulder season for $7750. Or, if you’d rather have someone else do the driving than charter your own vehicle, be prepared to throw in a little more dosh.
Dreaming of a bareboating adventure? Follow our how-to guide for the best way to do it.
Plan ahead: Daydream Island (April 2019)
If you’ve long dreamt of a tropical island getaway that’s got everything within arm’s reach (we’re talking room service, massages, private tours, you name it!), get ready to make it a reality when Daydream Island reopens in 2019.
In April 2019, Daydream Island will cut its ribbon after undergoing a $90million renovation following Cyclone Debbie.
It promises a reveal as jaw dropping as Grand Designs, with a full refurbishment of all 277 rooms, arrivals pavilion, marina and restaurants, along with the living reef and turtle rehabilitation centre.
Good things come to those who wait, so if you’re planning 2019 in advance, this property is one to watch.
Play later: Intercontinental Hayman Island (2019)
The northernmost island of the Whitsundays contingent is about to get a little bit fancy, with the launch of a new 166-room Intercontinental Hayman Island.
The hotel will have exclusive use of the 400-hectare island, with guests accessing the island resort by luxury boat transfer or private helicopter.
Over $100 million will be poured into the island before it opens July 2019, with guests treated to suite-style rooms, multiple restaurants, lush gardens and plenty of entertainment space to start planning those destination Whitsunday weddings.
If you like the sound of where this is going so much that you want a little slice of freehold, get your cheque book out because Mulpha Australia Limited will offer a handful of homes too.