Nature & Soft Adventure Tours
Australia, New Zealand & Pacific tours and travel
The Whitsundays are a group of islands,
74 in all, off the coast near from Airley Beach - Proserpine Airport
is about 20 minutes away. While they are mainland islands, not coral
cays, coral reefs do occur in sheltered bays and beaches, and the
Reef proper is close by boat. While all can be visited - a bare-boat
or crewed yacht charter is ideal - ten have resorts, each with
its own flavor. Access is by boat from Shute Harbour, or by light
plane from Proserpine of jet to Hamilton Island from Brisbane and
Sydney. From Hamilton Island you can get to most of the others.
The resort islands are described below.
Island is the most southern of the Whitsundays, and has something
for everyone, including coral reef snorkeling adventure trails,
catamarans, tennis, walking trails, yoga and even Sumo wrestling!
The Sea Spa is particularly appealing after an active - or inactive
- day. Of course, superb beaches, dining and swimming - there
are two pools in addition to the calm waters around the island
- are part of the package as well. Non-motorized and most island
activities are included in the tariff, as are all meals; the resort
has four levels of accommodation. While children are welcome on
the island, there are no specific facilities, activities or special
rates for them. There is a baby-sitting service. You can find
out more about Brampton Island here.
Lindeman Island covers about 1700
acres, in which is nestled a Club Med resort. Nowadays Club Med
has shed its wild reputation and offers activities for singles,
honeymooners, couples and families. Kids become part of one of
three age-group clubs, open 12 hours per day, with suitable age-related
activities and staffed by trained personnel. Parents can relax
and enjoy themselves knowing their kids are well looked after.
Access to Lindeman is from Hamilton Island, light plane from Shute
Harbour, or launch.
Island is home to three resorts, one of which, Paradise Bay Island
Eco Resort, has only helicopter access and is restricted to just
16 guests in 10 beachfront bungalows. Everything including standard
alcohol is included in the tariff, as well as scenic helicopter
transfers and daily cataraman sailing safaris. Long
Island Resort by Club Crocodile is for the active and fun-filled,
regardless of age, but especially those for whom sleep is an afterthought.
Fortunately it has a kids club for the 4-14 year olds, so parents
can also let their hair down. Long Island Resort is ideal for
the more budget-minded island traveler. Peppers Palm Bay is another
small - 21 guests - and secluded resort with cabins, bungalows
and bures, along the lines of many Fijian island resorts. Peppers
operates a number of upscale resorts and small lodges around
Island is the most developed of all the Whitsunday islands, and with
the exception of Magnetic Island near Townsville the most developed
of any Queensland island. It has an airport capable of landing standard
domestic jets, and there are direct flights to Hamilton Island from
the main east coast cities, including Sydney. Ferry service is also
available from the nearby Airlie Beach on the mainland. Although all
owned by the same company - Hamilton Island Resort - there are different
hotels including 3, 4 & 5 star, and 3.5 star self-catering apartments.
Brand new on Hamilton is Qualia,
a super luxury self-contained resort set on a private peninsula. Qualia
is aimed at those used to Aman and Four Seasons resorts elsewhere
in the world, and is only available at an inclusive rate. Hamilton
has a variety of restaurants, cafes and take-aways (take-outs), and
bars. Everything that you would expect to find on a well-developed
multi-resort island is here, from sunbathing to sports to sailing.
There are over 12 miles of walking trails on the island. Fine dining,
spa experiences, trips to the Great Barrier Reef and pretty much anything
else that takes your fancy is available for your
enjoyment. The resort lists 40 available activities, plus 20 shops
and galleries. With its daily jet services, Hamilton is an easy arrival
point for many of the other islands in the Whitsundays. Hamilton is
a good choice if you want to combine an island vacation with a lot
of other activities, including shopping.
South Molle is a 1000 acre National
Park with over 10 miles of walking tracks. The resort is casual, and
all-inclusive - meal and activities are included in the rate, including
snorkeling, small catamarans and windsurfers, golf (it has a 9-hole
course), tennis and many others (motorized activities and tours off
the island are not complimentary). While not the fanciest or most
modern island resort in the Whitsundays, South Molle views itself
as an affordable place for couples, families and newly-weds to relax
and enjoy the beach. There are tours to the outer reef, and other
Whitsunday areas daily from South Molle.
The Whitsundays are Australia's prime
sailing destination, and several companies offer a variety of ways
to do this, from scheduled departures on tall ships to private yacht
charter. For more information please go to our Sailing
in the Whitsundays page.