The 74 islands of the Whitsundays lay in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, cradled by the tropical waters of the Coral Sea, a truly remarkable icon of beauty. It is not only the majestic wildlife and breathtaking natural sights that make the Whitsundays one of the best places to go on holiday in Australia, but also the huge amount of things to do in the Whitsundays.


Whether its getting in touch with nature while scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef, to relaxing on the silky white silica sands of white sands of Whitehaven Beach, find the best things to do on the islands in our Whitsundays Travel Guide.

Whitsundays Watersports

whitsundays watersports

The Whitsundays is Australia’s aquatic playground. With 74 tropical islands dotted throughout the sparkling coral sea, in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, there are endless places to discover on the water, whether you have a couple of hours or several days. A love of the water pumps through the blood of Whitsundays locals, and through the blood of all travellers once they’ve visited the Whitsundays. The sparkling azure blue colour is even more beautiful in person than in the pictures, and there are a myriad of activities to get you out there on it.


The Whitsundays is home to many famous ocean racing yachts, classic tall ships, motor cruisers, and high speed watersports boats. The Whitsunday Coast and most of the island resorts have watersports teams to take you jetskiing, kayaking, sailing on small hobie cats, snorkelling, wake boarding and much more. For a full day out on the water, you can visit a permanently moored pontoon at the Great Barrier Reef, with high speed power launches to take you there for a memorable day of swimming, waterslides and snorkelling on the reef.


There are also a range of one day trips to Whitehaven Beach, most also include snorkelling at fringing coral reefs. You can take a scenic cruise through the islands and visit some of the island resorts for a one day visit and enjoy swimming in the resort pools or snorkelling on fringing coral reefs. And if one day isn’t enough, there is a huge range of overnight tours that package your accommodation with your sightseeing to maximise your time in the Whitsundays. Skipper yourself boats (bareboats) allow you to chart your own course of discovery and fully crewed boats allow you to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery.


For those on the water in the Whitsundays during winter and early spring (July - October), be sure to look out for humpback whales as they migrate from the Antarctic to the Whitsundays to breed and


Whale watching in the Whitsundays

whale watching in the whitsundays

Whales visit the Whitsundays every year on their annual migration north during the winter months. From July to October, whales are a common sight frolicking amongst the islands and even occasionally out on the Great Barrier Reef. They choose the Whitsundays to give birth to their calves, choosing the warm, calm, protected waters of the Whitsundays as an ideal nursery. There are currently no formal whale watching tours in the Whitsundays, but whale sightings are a free bonus inclusion on most tours around the region. The best way to see whales is to hop on any of the day tours around the Whitsunday waters, as whale sightings occur almost daily for most of the boats in the region during these peak winter months.


Seeing the whales from the air is a real treat, and those enjoying seaplane or helicopter scenic flights are lucky to get a whole new perspective of these magnificent creatures. Humpback and Pilot whales are the most common species sighted, and Migaloo the white humpback whale has also been seen in the Whitsundays for the last few years. In 2011 a new baby white whale was born in the Whitsundays, and following a national competition

the baby was named ‘Chalkie’ after a local Whitsundays beach and in honour of his white complexion. Each year whale season is an exciting time to look out for all the whales migrating north, but most excitingly looking out for these special and unique albino whales.


Whitsundays scuba diving

whitsundays scuba diving

The wonders of the Whitsundays really come alive under the water. The islands’ fringing coral reefs are easily accessible on a large range of tours around the region. The geography of the islands means it is possible to find a cove or bay that is protected in almost any weather so that diving and snorkelling can be enjoyed in any condition. For this reason the Whitsundays is popular for both the novice and the experienced diver or snorkeller. The fringing reefs offer spectacular corals and fish, with each island and each individual bay offering a different experience.


The ‘outer’ Great Barrier Reef is renowned for spectacular diving, with unparalleled coral diversity and reef life. The ‘Stepping Stones’ and the ‘Cathedral’ are two of the Whitsundays’ iconic dive sites. The fleet of charter boats that depart daily for the islands and reef offer a range of opportunities to scuba dive and snorkel to explore this underwater wonderland.There are also two permanently moored pontoons on the outer Great Barrier Reef, with cruises departing daily offering several hours to snorkel and scuba dive, swim, relax and enjoy this aquatic playground.