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Based just off the beautiful coast of Queensland, Australia are the 74 islands that make up the tropical archipelago, the Whitsunday Islands. Enclosed within the Great Barrier Reef, the tranquil seas that surround the islands have no extreme waves or dragging undertows, meaning windsurfing, sailing and kayaking are a dream in the azure waters. Seven of the islands have tourist resorts but the beauty of the inlets and atolls in the Whitsundays is the sense of exploration - for every comfortable five star resort you will find, there are numerous sheltered beaches, uninhabited atolls, and snow-white beaches that make up for what they lose in crowds with stunning scenery. Cruisers should make it a priority to indulge in the perfect balance of sumptuous, sun-soaked luxury and rugged adventuring these islands have in store.
Whitsunday is an archipelago that has more than its fair share of fantastic beaches, but Whitehaven has the enviable honour of being the one of the best. To get there in style and comfort, make sure to cross the beautiful waters aboard a high-speed, luxury catamaran, which can be hired from many of the central resorts on Hamilton Island. Five miles of pure white sand and beautiful crystal clear waters coloured by shades of turquoise and green await visitors who take the plunge, and delve into the rapturous beauty of this idyllic hideaway. A site protected as part of the Whitsunday Islands National Park, Whitehaven is Queensland’s cleanest beach, a perfect place to relax and unwind on soft, pristine sands. The intrepid should make sure to snorkel amongst the shallows and get an exhilarating look at the fantastic turtles that live amongst rocky outcrops along the shore.
The Great Barrier Reef
The world’s largest living structure, this stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site is mere miles away from the ideal hub of The Whitsunday Islands. If scuba diving is what you crave from a beach holiday, then is your paradise. Thousands of species of fish swim amongst coral of every describable colour and shade, along with dolphins, whales and turtles. From novice to expert, every kind of diver is catered for, but those who would like to keep dry, there are underwater viewing chambers, glass bottom boats, and even luxury hotel rooms that are a stone’s throw from the reef itself. For some of the finest fishing in the world, charter vessels with exceptional crews are available from Shute Harbour and many of the resorts on the islands.
Proserpine is a great spot for fulfilling all of your luxury shopping needs. This grand location is becoming a sun-dappled boutique hotspot, with Sirene Sea Pearls, Tropical Beach Hut and Epicure Homewares offering some of the finest goods on the islands for prices which are truly unbeatable. For fresh local produce and a festive atmosphere, pay a visit to Airlie Beach Markets for beautiful beachwear, specialities such as dragon fruit, and handmade jewellery.
The Manta Ray café is a fantastic spot to indulge in Gourmet pizzas, as well as the freshest local seafood, Italian dishes and fine wines served in its convivial bar. Overlooking colourful ships in the Marina opposite, the restaurant has a laid-back atmosphere with an elegant twist. For modern Australian Cuisine, the Pool Terrace restaurant serves a la carte evening meals and a lunchtime buffet menu of mouth-watering seafood and beef dishes served straight from the grill.
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