Top 5 things to do in the Whitsundays

Island view Hamilton Island my nrma local guides
View Hamilton Island Whitsunday Islands my nrma local guides

The Whitsunday Islands are made up of 74 islands. Discover our top things to do do at Hamilton Island, Daydream Island and Whitehaven Beach.

Hamilton Island

  • Drink at the Marina Tavern. The swim-up bar in the resort area near Catseye Beach is fun, but if you want a marina view and a beer in a glass like a civilised person, this pub is the ticket.

  • Increase your heart rate. If those creamy cocktails have upped your calorie count to unacceptable levels, go for a round of golf, play tennis, visit the gym, take a quad bike for a spin, or hit the go-kart track.

  • Get a photo on One Tree Hill. A high point on Hamilton, One Tree Hill offers amazing views and overlooks Qualia, the island’s $1,000 to $4,000 a night resort.

  • Eat out every night. Hammo has a great selection of eats: from fine dining at Hamilton Island Yacht Club to the family-friendly Manta Ray, and takeaway fish and chips at Popeye’s.

  • Wild Life. For such a small zoo, Wild Life packs quite the zoological punch.

Daydream Island

  • Watch a movie outdoors. Stroll down to Fish Bowl Restaurant for a meal, pull up a chair in front of a 13.4-metre screen for a film, and then catch a shuttle back to your room. 

  • Dine at Mermaids restaurant. This place is set beachside near Daydream’s iconic mermaid statues. The setting is spectacular and the food is first rate without being esoteric.

  • Visit the Living Reef. For a fee, you can get a behind-the-scenes tour, where you’ll feed barramundi and get hands-on with stingrays and starfish.

  • See a sunset at Lovers Cove. This secluded coral beach has a deck area where you can kick back with a drink and is a top place to snorkel and watch parrot fish scavenge for food.

  • Take a bushwalk. Just up the stairs from Lovers Cove is the rainforest walk, which runs across the middle third of the island. It’s a great way to shake off last night’s indulgence.

Whitehaven Beach

  • Go for a swim. Cruise Whitsundays provides you with stinger suits, so it’s possible to swim all year round. Don’t forget to look for ‘leaf fish’ in the shallows (juvenile batfish that mimic leaves blown into the water).

  • Take photographs. It’s almost impossible to take a bad photo on Whitehaven, so be sure there’s plenty of space on your memory card or iPhone.

  • Play beach cricket. The Cruise Whitsundays crew brings along all the equipment needed for one of Australia’s favourite pastimes.

  • Pick up your rubbish! You’d think this would be a no-brainer, but some tourists still struggle with it.

  • Learn some history. On the cruise there and back, our captain provided both modern and colonial history about the various islands we passed. The original 1950s Daydream Island resort on the south end, for instance, is now quarters for staff.

Image credit: Tourism and Events Queensland

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