The Whitsunday Islands are made up of a group of 74 wondrous little Islands in Queensland. They are a very popular travelling destination in Australia. The Whitsundays are located between the mainland and the Great Barrier Reef, offering excellent scuba diving and snorkelling possibilities on the local coral reefs. It is also a good starting point to take a liveaboard cruise to dive the Great Barrier Reef.
Most of the Islands are included in the Whitsunday Islands National Park and feature crystal clear water and pristine beaches such as the famous Whitehaven Beach! Most accommodation and the tourist centre is situated on Hamilton Island but it is possible to go camping on many of the surrounding deserted Islands!
Activities and excursions in Whitsunday Islands
The Whitsunday Islands really are amazing to visit, not only as a superb diving destination but also for the fun activities on offer in between your dives! You can for example :
- Enjoy a sailing cruise around the archipelago
- Make a snorkelling day trip on the Great Barrier Reef
- Visit the awesome Whitehaven Beach
- Play Golf on Hamilton Island
- Go on a Fishing tour
- Go on a Whale Watching tour
- Just relax on the pristine beaches
There are 74 Islands. Only a few of them are inhabited. The main and most easily accessible islands are:
- Daydream Island
- Hamilton Island
- Hayman Island
- Hook Island
- Lindeman Island
- Long Island
- South Molle Island
To get around between the Whitsundays, there are many boat companies. Most of them also offer sailing cruises. It is also possible to take a short liveaboard for a snorkelling and diving trip for 2 or 3 nights. Longer Liveaboards will take you to the Great Barrier Reef too!
You can also fly from one island to another by SeaPlanes or small aircrafts! The two companies are Island Air Taxis (Airlie Beach to Hamiliton Island and Lindeman Island) and Air Whitsunday Seaplanes (From Airlie Beach to Daydream, Long Island and South Molle Island, $450, the flight).
Whitsundays Local dive sites
Here you can spot turtles, Whitetip Reef Sharks, Blacktip Reef Sharks, dolphins, all the superb Reef fishes, big cods and many Green Sea Turtles. It is also possible to spot the rare and strange Wobbegong Shark. Pelagic fishes are not rare too so look to the blue for the Barracudas and trevallies patrolling the area.
The dives are mostly easy with good conditions and the Whitsundays are a good place to take Padi scuba diving courses.
Great Barrier Reef
You can dive the Great Barrier Reef on a day trip but as it is quite far away the best may be to take a short liveaboard for 2 or 3 nights. You can also take a longer Liveaboard to explore remote areas of the reef. I usually use this website to book in advance my Liveaboards in Australia as they usually have the lowest rates I find. I like it because they have an easy booking system.
Due to the remoteness, diving there is more suitable for experienced divers. The main attractions are the superb coral formations, the big fishes action with lots of pelagic hunting around and the many species of Sharks you can encounter! The gentle giants of the sea, Manta Rays, are commonly spotted too.
During the right season you might even spot a majestic Humpback Whale, a Minke Whale or a whole pod of dolphins. Dugongs are a possible encounter too.
Best time to dive in Whitsunday Islands
The Weather in the Whitsundays is great all year round. During Summer, it is hot weather with the air temperature around 30°C. During the winter, the weather is warm with air temperature being around 23°C. The water Temperature is generally the same year round with 25°C. It is possible to dive all year round in the Whitsundays.
- The Wet season runs from January to March with heavy rain short episodes
- The Minke Whales season runs from June to August.
- The humpback whales season is from June to November.
- The Coral Spawning occurs in October and November
The best scuba diving season on the Great Barrier Reef runs from mid-August to mid-December with excellent conditions.
The Peak Season is in September and October as well as December and January. During these periods, accommodation prices tend to increase meaning you should book well in advance!
Snorkelling in Whitsunday Islands
The Whitsundays Islands features dozens of kilometres of healthy and beautiful shallow coral reef which is easily explored from the beach in front of your resort or your campsite. However, if you want to explore the best of the best of the reefs on offer, it is better to book a snorkelling day tour. It can be around the Whitsundays or even on the Great Barrier Reef.
The Box jellyfish is sometimes present around the islands. A Box Jellyfish sting can be fatal! All the resorts and dive centres will provide full wet suit to avoid any danger!