The Whitsundays are visual perfection. Scores of sailboats bobbing up and down on the turquoise blue water. Palm trees swaying lazily in the breeze. Beaches so white you have to remove your sunglasses to check that they’re real. Welcome to paradise my friends.
The Whitsunday Islands
Nestled off the north-eastern coast of Australia, The Whitsundays comprise of 74 islands and are the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Hamilton Island is the main hub, playing host to some stunning hotels, a vibrant marina and the biggest airport in the region. Flights with QANTAS or Virgin Australia from Brisbane take an hour and a half, from Sydney just over 2 hours and from Melbourne just under 3 hours. However, once you’re there, you’ll want to conveniently lose that return ticket.
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Palm Bay Resort
Whilst most resorts are on the well served Hamilton Island, if you want a bit more of that Shipwrecked feeling, book your stay at Palm Bay Resort on Long Island. The only hotel on the island, this gorgeous self-catering resort accommodates its guests in a number of high quality ‘huts’ scattered along the beach. As a result, you wake up each morning to the sound of the sea just metres from your bed. Since this is an ‘eco-resort’, the wildlife is very much part of your experience. Friendly parakeets will join you on your balcony looking for a snack whilst shy wallabies rustle around in the bushes. Furthermore, the stunning pool is filled with saltwater because freshwater on the island is limited. Whilst this does not change your enjoyment of the pool, it does make you feel closer to nature.
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If there’s just one place you leave your resort for, make it Whitehaven Beach. Regularly voted not only the best beach in Australia but also the World, Whitehaven has to be seen to be believed. The easiest way to arrive is by boat from a number of operators on Hamilton Island. While this is fine, there is a far more exciting way to arrive. Seaplane. Picking you up from either Airlie Beach on the mainland or from your resort, Air Whitsunday have a variety of tours which will define your holiday.
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Arriving on Whitehaven is like stepping onto another world. The silica sand is so soft that you can actually hear it squeaking as you walk over it. The waves break gently onto the beach, creating a perfect tri-colour which will grace any Instagram page. Take a short walk along this 7km beach, find your own space and melt away.
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When to Visit the Whitsundays
While the weather in the Whitsundays is glorious year round, certain times of the year are better to visit than others. First of all, October through till May is what’s known as ‘stinger season’. During this time the tropical waters may contain the notorious Box Jelly Fish. Since these little creatures can deliver a painful sting, most resorts and tour operators will provide customers with ‘stinger suits’ to wear whilst in the water. However, people are very rarely stung so don’t let this put you off. The dry season lasts from May till November where the daily temperatures are in the mid 20s without getting too humid. This makes for a perfect destination if you love warm weather without dripping with sweat.
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If you’re coming from the UK, even though it’s a rather long journey, the Whitsundays make for a great destination at any time of the year. I’d suggest breaking your journey up somewhere interesting along the way such as Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. British Airways flies to Sydney via Singapore, giving you a great opportunity to not only start dealing with the jet lag, but also to explore another fantastic city.
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