Adored, frequented and world-renowned, the Whitsundays is one of Australia’s most popular destinations, and if you’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting, you’ll know exactly why.
Located on the east coast of Australia, the group of 74 islands are heralded for their pristine waters, bright white beaches and beautiful tropical reefs. Whether already acquainted or yet to meet, it’s likely you’ve heard of Hamilton Island, Daydream Island and Whitehaven Beach, three of the most popular destinations travellers seek to tick off their Whitsundays list when visiting. And we absolutely recommend you do! These spots are famous for good reason and showcase the unprecedented beauty of this region. But what about the other 70 or so islands, or the coastline surrounding? There are plenty of places to be discovered in this part of North Queensland and if you want to visit somewhere lesser-known and a touch more secret on your next trip, keep reading!
Image thanks to The Sailing Yogi
Ask a traveller if they’ve ever been to or heard of Haslewood Island and you’ll likely be answered with a look of bewilderment. Just across the sea from the insanely popular Whitehaven Beach lies Haslewood Island, the cool, calm destination waiting for the rest of the world to wake up and notice its beauty. The rumours circulating Haslewood state the following; Chalkies Beach has sand just as crisp and white as Whitehaven Beach, the snorkel spots are teeming with stunning coral formations and marine life and if you consider yourself a keen photographer, the snaps you’ll score on the island will be far from disappointing.
Image thanks to Commercial Real Estate
Now, Long Island has hardly kept itself a secret. This gem is the closest of the islands to the mainland and as the name suggests, is 9km long – so a little hard to miss. That said, Long Island still tends to slide under many travellers’ radars and despite its impressive size, seems a little underrated. We for one can’t comprehend why that is, the island is full of beautiful places to explore and discover. Essentially all National Park land, if you love your island vacationing with a side of outdoor exploring, you'll be happy to hear Long Island has nearly 17km of walking trails to fulfil the amateur or avid hiker’s dreams. And you don’t have to just love and leave either – you can spend the night on Long Island at either Elysian Retreat, a boutique island retreat, or Palm Bay Resort, featuring beach bungalows and Balinese-style villas.
South Molle Island
Hamilton, Daydream, Hayman, they’re all members of the island family we’ve heard before. These are the top dogs of the Whitsundays in terms of beauty and resort offerings, and yes, if you get a chance, you should definitely visit. What we’re simply trying to point out is that popularity doesn’t have to trump your decision-making. Sometimes you should put your faith in the underdog, the less-popular breed, like South Molle Island. Situated in the heart of the islands, South Molle is the only one of the Molle’s that you can spend the night on, with a resort providing accommodation for those who want more than a day of exploring and sightseeing. South Molle is rather close and cuddly to its other island family, meaning you can walk across to Mid Molle almost any time of day. You also have that super famous reef at your fingertips, you know the Great Barrier Reef or something. Take a day trip and snorkel or dive at the outer reef, or spend the day wandering through the rainforests with walks ranging from 2 to 10kms to choose from. Yep, South Molle Island is a right little treat.
Crocodile Safari at Proserpine River
Image thanks to Whitsunday Islands Info
This is one Whitsundays secret that some might find a little unnerving. But like all things that are considered best kept, they do eventually surface, and we think honesty in this scenario is the best policy. You can see estuarine (saltwater) crocodiles in the wild in the Whitsundays. Ok, so not likely beached beside you at Whitehaven, closer to the mainland, Proserpine River to be precise. Spotting one of these prehistoric survivors is only one exciting facet of a crocodile safari. You’ll get a taste of the coastline’s other natural beauties; the local estuaries and wetlands that stretch inland from the coast, plus a chance to see hundreds of native birds, mammals and reptiles that also have this area down as their home address. Appreciate a wild animal or two on your holiday? You won’t be disappointed here.
Australian’s might be familiar with this place for its association with a particularly delicious seasonal fruit, but Bowen is so much more than its mangoes. At the top end of the Whitsunday Coast, Bowen is a sneaky slice of paradise with eight beautiful beaches to seclude yourself on. This spot also has another exclusive offering – it's one of the only places on Australia’s east coast that you can go straight from the sandy shores into the water and explore the reef. Yep, the inner reef is mere metres from Bowen’s bewitching bays, so you can gear up on the sand, step into the sea and be swimming with marine life in minutes. If you find yourself hankering for more outdoor activities, stretch the legs and climb to the top of Flagstaff Hill for views across the bays. Modest and underrated, Bowen is also quite accommodating, considering all kinds of travellers visiting. There’s everything from hostels, caravan parks to 4-star beachfront facilities, perfect for a stop en route a northbound itinerary.
If we had to give away our biggest Whitsundays secret, it’s simply not to take our word for it. The Whitsunday Coast is beauty best experienced by the eye of the beholder, and now we’ve given you a few lesser-known spots to add to your list, we urge you to start planning and get booking! Need a few extra ideas or travel assistance? Check out our Whitsundays tours here or email an expert for all the insider info you need firstname.lastname@example.org.