I have travelled to over 40 countries and from all the places I have visited, The Whitsundays holds a special place in my heart. It is definitely one of Australia’s most stunning destinations. With 74 wonderful islands, a warm tropical climate and white sandy beaches… it’s nothing short of paradise. And to top it all, it’s perfectly located in the Heart of the Great Barrier Reef and will leave you in awe!
The Living Reef (pictured above) is a free-form coral lagoon that wraps around the central building on Daydream Island and is home to over 100 species of local marine life including fish, small sharks, rays and other reef-dwelling creatures. Up to 15m wide and around 200m in length, containing 1.5 million litres of freshly filtered seawater, this man-made reef system offers a very special way for visitors to appreciate marine life without ever getting wet. The experience of walking down the stairs into the Under Water Observatory produces a feeling one doesn’t forget, it really does feel like you’re right there in the water. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better – there are resident marine biologists onsite for those burning inquisitive questions, so if you do have any questions about life underwater… just ask!
Whitsunday Island is the largest island in The Whitsundays and is a must-see when you visit. When on the island, follow the short trail up to the Hill Inlet lookout to appreciate the beauty of Whitehaven Beach. The shades of blue will make you wish you could stay here forever. Keep your eyes open for a chance to see one of the resident goannas.
Did you know that Whitehaven Beach was voted the best beach in Australia in the annual TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards? The 7-kilometres-long, white silica sand of Whitehaven Beach is among the purest in the world… It’s the kind of place that dreams are made of!
Flying over the reef gives a different perspective and offers stunning views. One of my favourites is Heart Reef. It’s a coral reef that formed naturally into the shape of a heart. But be warned, side effects include feeling overly romantic and the chance of declaring your love to your other half!
When admiring the coral and reef from the air, don’t forget to look for manta rays and turtles, they are often spotted in the emerald waters.
The Great Barrier Reef hosts more than 1,600 species of fish, 133 species of sharks and rays, 30 species of dolphins, as well as turtles and dugongs… and three-quarters of the world’s 798 coral species.
You can easily understand why it’s one of the seven wonders of the natural world!
No visit to The Whitsundays is complete without putting on a mask and snorkel to visit the underwater world. As you enter the water, you’ll be amazed by the wide variety of colourful coral formations while swimming or diving in the crystal-clear waters.
With over 1,800 animal species swimming around, you’re sure to meet some of the most colourful animals you’ve ever seen. It’s very hard to pick the best, but here are some of my favourites…
Since I first saw Nemo a few years ago, I’m trying to tick off all the clownfish species on my list! And the Great Barrier Reef is one of the best places in the world to do so.
There are nearly 30 clownfish species, and they all live in symbiosis with their respective anemones: the clownfish cleans and feeds the anemone while in return the anemone protects the clownfish. It’s such a stunning relationship, don’t you think?
Manta Rays are a truly incredible sight. With a wingspan of up to 7 metres, seeing them “fly” underwater is a magical performance. It’s so magical there is even a series of underwater sculptures between some of the islands!
The Great Barrier Reef is home to six of the world’s seven species of marine turtles. Wow! For the most chance of seeing tiny hatchlings, plan your visit between January and April.
The Maori Wrasse is one of the most stunning fish I have ever encountered. They can easily be identified by the bump on the forehead and thick fleshy lips. It’s a very curious fish and can be over 2 metres long!
Clams are filter feeders: they slurp water and filter it through tiny hairs to eat small food particles. Some clams on the Great Barrier Reef are believed to be 120 years old and to grow up to 200 kilos.
After exploring the incredible life underwater, head to the mangroves of the Proserpine River to meet its famous crocodiles. It’s a great opportunity to explore a different side of The Whitsundays and learn more about the largest concentration of saltwater crocodiles in Queensland. You’ll even hear the guide of the Whitsunday Crocodile Safari name each of them and tell you everything you want to know about these extraordinary creatures.
A haven of natural beauty and tranquillity, Cedar Creek Falls is the perfect place to dip your toes into clear fresh water. This natural waterhole is a must-visit and is beautiful all year round, though it is especially vibrant after a downpour as the water cascades down the rockface taking centre stage. Located between Airlie Beach and Proserpine, this picturesque beauty is just a short 20-30 minute drive away from either township. Be sure to bring a towel, sunscreen, and insect repellent as this will make your visit even more wonderful! For bonus points, pack a picnic and enjoy the surrounds of the Conway National Park. Just remember that jumping and diving from the waterfall is strictly prohibited for your safety.
If you’re a nature lover, The Whitsundays will definitely be a place you’ll never forget. So, what will you include in your trip to The Whitsundays?
This blog was co-authored with Le Big Trip. They focus on finding the best destinations and unique wildlife to help nature lovers explore our beautiful planet.