Known primarily for being home to the stunning Whitsunday Islands, this archipelago is just a small fraction of the places to explore on Queensland’s Whitsunday Coast.
Located in northern Queensland, the Whitsunday Coast is home to small outback towns, tropical islands, luxury resorts and backpacker hotspots. If you’re heading to the Whitsunday Coast on an Australian east coast road trip, here are 10 cool places we recommend visiting.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Airlie Beach has a reputation for being a playground for backpackers visiting Australia. It may be a small town, but it’s brimming with hostels, resorts and restaurants. It is also the best place to base yourself for exploring both the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. Take day trips from Airlie Beach to cool places like Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island and Hardy Reef. Combining these attractions with Airlie Beach’s warm tropical year-round temperatures, it’s no wonder this Whitsunday Coast town is one of Australia’s top tourist destinations.
Home to a commercial airport, streets with no cars and luxurious resorts, Hamilton Island is one of the coolest places in the Whitsundays. Things to do on the island include swimming at the numerous public pools or Catseye Beach; hiking (Passage Peak is a popular track); taking to the water with a paddleboard, snorkel or catamaran; seeing the sunset from One Tree Hill; and teeing off at Hamilton Island Golf Club on neighbouring Dent Island. Finish a night on Hamilton Island at one of its exclusive restaurants, like Bommie or Long Pavilion.
Bowen became famous when the Baz Luhrmann movie, Australia, filmed there in 2007. But besides being a Hollywood backdrop, Bowen is home to eight impressive beaches, fringing reef and friendly country hospitality. You can literally walk off the beach and start immediately snorkelling along fringing coral reef in Bowen. For scuba divers, there’s a WWII landing craft lying underwater off Queens Beach, as well as Holbourne and Middle Islands offshore. For impressive Whitsunday Coast views, head to the lookout on Flagstaff Hill.
From idyllic islands to biologically significant national parks, the Whitsunday Coast has it all. Conway National Park is home to rainforest, Whitsunday Passage lookouts, bush campgrounds and secluded beaches. There are several walking trails to enjoy throughout Conway National Park, which range from family friendly to multi-day experiences. The most extensive hike is the 28-kilometre (17-mile) Conway Circuit. Invest in some good hiking boots.
The most northerly Whitsunday Island and the closest to the Great Barrier Reef, Hayman Island is home to One & Only, a luxurious private resort. The island has everything: the Hayman Spa, an entertainment centre, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, watersport rentals and even a wedding chapel. Spend your time relaxing by one of the two pools, or be adventurous and go snorkelling, diving or hiking.
If you want to experience both the Australian Outback and the Great Barrier Reef in one visit, head to the Whitsunday Coast. Collinsville is a small historic mining town inland from Bowen, with a population of just 1,500. When in Collinsville, go for a walk down the main street to see the Pit Pony bronze statue, several mining-oriented murals and the interactive displays at The Coalface Experience. A visit to an Aussie country town isn’t complete without a pub meal either, so head to the Pit Pony Tavern or Bowen River Hotel and tuck in.
One of the best things about the Whitsunday Coast is its accessibility to the Great Barrier Reef. Local eco-certified tour operator, Cruise Whitsundays does day trips from Hamilton Island and Airlie Beach to its Heart Pontoon on Hardy Reef. Located on the outer Great Barrier Reef, expect to snorkel or dive with a myriad of colourful coral and marine life, including groper, angelfish and unicorn fish. The pontoon is equipped with swimming and snorkelling zones, a sun deck and an underwater observatory.
Daydream Island is a popular, family-friendly island resort in the Whitsundays. It’s home to three restaurants, five bars, swimming pools, a man-made outdoor aquarium called the Living Reef, and fringing reef just a quick snorkel from the beach. There are watersport rentals, mini golf, a kids club, an outdoor cinema and award-winning spa available at Daydream Island Resort as well. Fortunately, Daydream Island is also one of the closest islands to the mainland – so you don’t have to go far to arrive in paradise.
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