Image: Whitsunday Island. Source: Getty

Whitsundays: Experience The Heart of The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is Australia’s most beautiful natural wonder. Home to the world’s largest coral reef system and some of the most preside, white sandy beaches in the world – this oasis offers a great adventure both in luxury and on a budget.

Home to diverse marine life of the most vivid colours, the Great Barrier Reef offers the opportunity to snorkel, scuba dive, take aircraft tours, go sailing, swim with dolphins, go whale watching, attend cruise ship tours and so much more.

Located along the tropical coast of Queensland, this is the best place to escape during the cold winter months. We have created a list of the best things to do in the Whitsundays, also known as the “heart of the reef.”

Whitsunday Island

The Whitsunday island is home to the breathtaking Whitehaven Beach which was voted the number one best beach in the world.

The famous beach stretches for seven kilometres and is washed by swirls of turquoise, blue and green water. The sand is 98 per cent pure white silica, giving it a brilliant white colour.

Not only is this a beautiful beach but the silica sand is the perfect natural exfoliant and will leave your skin silky and smooth.

The best spot to view Whitehaven or also known as “White Heaven” is at Hill Inlet viewing platform.

Heart Reef

Heart Reef is an impressive composition of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart.

Located in Hardy Reef, Heart Reef is best experienced from the sky as visitors are unable to snorkel or dive due to its protected status.

Many tour groups offer a scenic flight over the stunning reef, making any amateur photographer amazed by the fact their own shots look like something from a postcard.

Due to its heart shape, it has been the site of many proposals over the years. If you are planning the romantic gesture let your pilot know of your plans and they will be able to help you with some extra flight time over the famous coral.

Great Barrier Reef

Snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef is on everyone’s bucket list, with over 2300 kilometres off the Queensland coast – there’s no better way to see this slice of heaven.

With countless reefs at Whitsundays, it is the perfect spot to snorkel or scuba dive.

With many tours that take you on all-day trips to explore the underwater world, one of the most popular tour groups is Crusie Whitsundays who offer the perfect day trips for all levels of swimmers and divers.

Not keen on swimming? There are options to look at the reef from a glass-bottom boat or a semi-submarine.

If you want to go explore the reef without the crowds, there are options to hire boats off the mainland in Airlie Beach as well.

Hayman Island

Hayman Island is Australia’s most iconic private island resort and is known for its luxury and spectacular location.

The Whitsunday island is the most northern island out of the group and can only be accessed if you are a guest on the island.

Guests on the island can relax in the famous Hayman pool, which is seven times the size of an Olympic pool. Hayman is in the prime location for diving, snorkelling and visiting secluded beaches.

Surrounding the InterContinential Resort is crystal clear waters with stunning coral and fish. The island is home to a variety of birds such as white cockatoos, painted lorikeets, kookaburras and kingfishers.

Daydream Island

Daydream Island is one of the smallest islands in the Whitsunday group but don’t let that stop you as it’s the only island with an aquarium.

Following an extensive A$140 million redevelopment in 2019, the island offers modern and spacious rooms and suites with stunning views overlooking the pool, garden or ocean views.

The Living Reef is the main centrepiece of the island which is a unique free form coral lagoon, this reef is home to over 100 species of marine fish and over 80 species of coral.

There is a range of activities at the Living Reef, which includes guided snorkel, reef rangers, fish feeding and much more.

Unlike Hayman, Daydream is open to everyone, this includes non-guests and can be explored in one day.

Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island is one of Australia’s most spectacular and sought-after holiday destinations. When visiting, you will be surrounded by pristine white beaches and is the perfect base for exploring Whitehaven Beach.

Like Daydream, Hamilton Island is open to everyone, however, it is recommended to stay a few nights in the ocean-view resorts. There are lots to do on this island which includes cultural exhibitions, performances, water sports, wildlife park and for keen golfers, there is an 18-hole championship course on its own island.

For those who love a hike, there are plenty of Hamilton Island landmarks, where you will be rewarded with spectacular views and for those who want to have a chill and relaxing holiday, there are two luxury spas on the island.

As it is a car-free island, the mode of transport is a buggy! But be sure to pre-order as these buggies sure do book out fast!


The Reefsuites are Australia’s first underwater accommodation and give a whole new meaning to “a room with a view.”

Relaunching in 2019, the revamped pontoon hosts day trips, Reefsleep guests and for those lucky guests the all-inclusive Reefsuite experience. Guests can enjoy a stunning sunset with a drink in hand before enjoying a long-table dinner on the pontoon’s upper deck.

After dark, Reefsuite guests can retreat to their private luxury undersea accommodation, where they can sit back, relax and watch the world-heritage listed reef come to life.

Private Charters

There is no better way to explore the Whitsundays than a getaway on a private charter, with 74 islands to explore and a blank itinerary for you to create.

Sailing Whitsundays offers exclusive vessels for a luxurious and private encounter with the bright blue waters of the Whitsundays.

There are plenty of options if you want a charter for a day or even a week, so step into a whirlwind of style and luxury and become acquainted with your own slice of paradise.

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