Whitsundays Sailing Holidays on Great Barrier Reef - Abbey Travel - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Whitsunday Islands

Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsundays is full of romantic islands but it also caters for adventure packed family holidays. You can go snorkeling or scuba diving or simply relax and sail around the Whitsundays. Walk the pure white, silica sands of Whitehaven Beach! Airlie Beach located on the mainland offers great nightlife with its many bars & restaurants. This is where you will sail from to explore the Whitsundays and to discover the many wonderful islands from which there are 74 to choose from. Whitsundays have something for everyone, a romantic honeymoon destination or perfect for a family getaway.

Discovered by Captain James Cook in 1770, the Whitsunday Islands is an archipelago of approximately 160 breathtaking tropical islands and atolls off the east coast of Queensland's Airlie Beach. The islands were named by Cook when he passed through the islands around Whit Sunday, the seventh day after Easter Sunday, and was immediately struck by their beauty. Set in crystal clear azure waters of the Coral Sea waters in the heart of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsundays are a sailor's paradise and one of Australia's most popular tourist attractions drawing over 600,000 visitors annually.

Information & Facts


The Whitsunday Islands have a warm, tropical climate all year round. Between the months of December and February the occasional tropical rain shower is common and average daytime highs reach around 27.4°C (80°F).

Getting Around

Domestic flights from Jetstar and Virgin Blue link Whitsunday Coast Airport at Proserpine to Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns. Queensland rail operates regular services to Proserpine from most major Australian cities, as do most coach companies and once in Proserpine, visitors have easy access to Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays via bus and taxi services.


English is the official language of Australia.


The Australian Dollar (AUD) is divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change exchange most foreign currencies. Travellers cheques are also welcome everywhere, but banks take a small commission and it is better to take cheques in major currencies (e.g. US dollars or Euros) to avoid additional charges. Credit cards are widely accepted and ATMs are freely available throughout the country. Banking hours are generally 9.30am to 4pm Monday to Thursday, and 9.30am to 5pm on Friday, but some banks offer extended hours and some are open on Saturday mornings.

The gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach is a small town in the Whitsunday region and is a fabulous place to enjoy the day and soak up all there is in this idyllic setting. With a great variety of activities to enjoy such as snorkelling, fishing, crocodile safaris and scenic flights of Whitehaven Beach, there's plenty to see and do in this laid-back and picturesque town. The vibe is simply electric with holidaymakers lining the streets, beer gardens overflowing and bars and clubs pumping until the wee hours. Travellers should be aware that the Irukandji jellyfish, which pack a powerful sting, pose a major threat to swimmers during the months of November to May when they abound in the water, but a medium sized swimming lagoon on the foreshore is the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer's day.

The most developed of the Whitsundays, the privately owned Hamilton Island is also the most populated, boasting some of the most valuable real estate in Australia, and when you take a look at the breathtaking scenery and views, it's not surprising! With the Great Barrier Reef a short boat ride away, pristine and unspoilt surroundings and world-class accommodation and dining opportunities, Hamilton Island makes a great day or overnight trip for visitors to the Whitsundays. During peak season, September to January, it can become extremely busy, so if you're looking for a quiet retreat from the noisy crowds, come another time. Stroll around Marina Village window shopping and stop for a bite to eat, catch a golf buggy to the 'northern end' or simply relax on Catseye Beach and soak up the sun.

Whitsunday Island is a popular tourist resort island for both day and overnight visitors and is the largest and most popular island of the Whitsundays. Most famous for its 2.8 mile (4.5km) stretch of pristine sugary white sandy beach known as Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island's beauty is unbridled. Featuring the purest sand in the world (98% silica) the American government considered mining the sand from Whitehaven Beach for military purposes in the 1960s but, thankfully, this never happened and the beach is now protected under the national park. Many boats dock here daily bringing thousands of tourists to explore one of the most famous beaches in the world. Tongue Point features a wooden trail which stretches up to a lookout point over Whitehaven Beach - the ideal location for that picture-perfect postcard shot!

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