Visiting one of the world’s finest beaches at Whitehaven Beach is an obvious choice for yacht guests, as is passing lazy sun-kissed days of diving and snorkelling and hiking rainforest paths. But there’s much more to the Whitsundays, whether you fancy hitting a round at one of the world’s most challenging golf courses, game fishing past the drop-off, or taking a scenic flight above the Great Barrier Reef.
Back on the Whitsunday Coast, adventures abound, with crocodile safaris on the Proserpine River, an abundance of walking and mountain-biking trails, and quaint hinterland villages and lively beach towns.
There are many reasons to linger over lunch at qualia, an exclusive resort on the northern tip of Hamilton Island. The dining at the resort’s Pebble Beach and Long Pavilion restaurants is exquisite, but equally memorable are the picnics unpacked on far-flung sandbars or on islets ringed by warm lagoons.
Also available through qualia, a seaplane flight reveals the beauty of the reef from above, sweeping over Heart Reef’s perfect outline before landing on top of the reef 50 kilometres out to sea.
An 18-hole championship golf course on its very own island, Hamilton Island Golf Course is as challenging as it is scenic. Designed by Peter Thomson, the par-71 course is strung along the beautiful green ridges and steep valleys of Dent Island, accessible by helicopter from neighbouring Hamilton Island. There are plenty of tests – unpredictable winds, thick bushland, unforeseen sand traps – but there are also plenty of rewards, including breathtaking views of the Whitsunday Islands, best enjoyed from the contemporary clubhouse.
Some of Queensland’s most abundant fishing sites can be reached within just 20 minutes from either Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island, making private fishing charters with Renegade a time-friendly way to experience premium game, sport and reef fishing in the Whitsundays. Trips can be tailored to target species; charters on offer include reef fishing and trolling for pelagics.
Operating further south out of Mackay, Elizabeth EII Cruises also covers a huge stretch of the Coral Sea, from Swains Reefs on the southern Great Barrier Reef to more remote fishing destinations that few have the opportunity to visit. Charters are fully customisable, with opportunities to snorkel or spearfish.
Abell Point Marina (Airlie Beach)
Hamilton Island Marina
Port of Airlie Marina.