Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays, sitting

Everything you need to know about holidaying in the Whitsundays

If the state of Queensland was made into a dictionary, the definition of the word ‘paradise’ would be represented by images of holidays in the Whitsundays.

It’s got the whole beauty thing down pat, with white sand, bright blue water and luxury resorts aplenty. Wearing the TripAdvisor People’s Choice crown for Australia’s Best Beach doesn’t even seem exhausting for this destination, which has managed to take home a gong for the past three years.

If you’re looking to discover The Whitsundays on your next vacay, make no mistake, you need this guide:

Why go?

Border Island | Whitsundays holidays

Phot0 by @_markfitz

Two words: It’s perfect. We know nobody is perfect but a destination can be, and the Whitsundays is as close as we’ve ever seen. If you need proof – just take a look at Heart Reef.

It doesn’t stop there – Whitehaven Beach is so perfect you can even polish your diamond rings on the sand without fear of scratches because silica sand actually cleans them.

Beyond natural beauty, Whitsundays accommodation similarly shines with qualia (a Luxury Lodge of Australia) taking out titles in 2018 for Australian Traveller People’s Choice Awards (Best luxury hotel/resort/lodge and Boutique hotel winner) and HM Awards for Best Resort and Best Australian Lodge.

Name a more perfect destination. We’ll wait.

When to go?

Running on Whitehaven Beach | Whitsundays holidayIf you like your summers hot and humid, then there’s no bad time to visit The Whitsundays.

But if you prefer a milder climate that will ensure you can still do plenty of walks, swim without wearing neck-to-knee lycra and enjoy cloudless night skies then winter is when to go. If you intend on sailing, September is peak.

The average temperatures in The Whitsundays dance around 22-30°C  (71-86°F), making it singlet and shorts weather for the most part of the year.

Whichever you choose, you’ll join the 3.5 million visitors every year who are testament that the Whitsundays has year-round appeal.

What to do there

When you’re visiting a destination with 74 islands to explore – you’re not going to be short of things to do. In fact, we’ve got over 100 things to tick off, during your stay.

If that list is a little overwhelming, we’d recommend starting with the highlights and planning your trip according to this list of jaw-dropping Whitsundays experiences.

If you prefer holidays that give your friends FOMO, be sure to check out these 8 things you didn’t know you could do in the Whitsundays.

For the lesser-known Whitsundays experience, discover these secret beaches that prove not all beautiful beaches go by the name Whitehaven.

Where to eat and drink

After swimmers, your appetite is the only other packing essential for The Whitsundays.

To taste the region, start by working your way through these 13 restaurants in and around Airlie Beach.

What makes the food so significant in the region, isn’t just because the restaurants serve good gear but the fact it grows here. You might not know that the Whitsundays is actually the largest winter growing region in Australia, making its food bowl a $450 million a year industry.

While its Bowen mangoes might be the most famous, the region goes so much further, with places like Lake Proserpine one of the largest barramundi impoundments in the world.

Coffee lovers can also drink to the fact the Whitsundays is home to Australia’s largest coffee plantation – Whitsunday Gold – and a tour will cover the whole coffee process from bean, to roast to grind.

Where to stay

Deciding to visit the Whitsundays is easy, choosing where to stay, well, that’s hard.

If you see yourself kicking back in a hammock, taking long walks on the beach and retreating to your own private hideaway, then check into paradise at one of these island resorts.

When time’s not on your side with boat transfers and flights, you can also stay on the mainland using this guide.

Of course, if you want to opt for the best of both worlds – choose a floating hotel to captain your own holiday adventure, by bareboating The Whitsundays. To choose which bareboating boat is right for you, read this guide.

Pssst! If you’re a backpacker, you haven’t been left out. Here’s something we prepared earlier just for you.

Best day trips to take

Heart Reef | Whitsundays holidayUnless you have three months to spend in the Whitsundays, you’re going to have to get tasky about which day trips you do during your stay.

You won’t want to leave without seeing the reef in the shape of a heart, so start with an aerial encounter.

A day trip to Australia’s most heavily awarded beach has to be high on your list, and when you have the option of a rock-star entrance via seaplane or helicopter it makes sense to tackle this as first priority.

Things you need to know

Conway National ParkContrary to what you might expect, there’s more to The Whitsundays than reef, islands and beaches.

If you need to spend some time land-side to balance all the swimming, a trip to Proserpine and Conway National Park will do all the balancing you need.

Here you can escape the regular tourist-track with a walk through a national park with rainforest-clad hills and panoramic outlooks.

Local’s tips

Bowen | Whitsunday holidays

Photo by @_markfitz

Sure, the Whitsunday Islands and Airlie Beach is what all the tourist brochures and news headlines talk about, but if you want to escape to a place that’s easier on the credit card, try Bowen on for holiday size.

It’s an hour north of Airlie Beach and has not just one beach but eight to explore. What’s more, rather than needing a boat to get to its reef, you can walk to it (in low tide) within minutes. You’ll have all of the same famous reef faces and colourful corals, with none of the commute time to get there.

When will you be in the Whitsundays next? Share with us below.