When it comes to island paradises, they don’t come more idyllic and sun-kissed than the Whitsundays, a collection of 74 tropical islands scattered like confetti across the waters of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, off the coast of Queensland.
While only a handful of the islands are actually inhabited, the ones that are present an irresistible travel proposition, dotted as they are with world-class resorts and offering up sun, sea and sand in abundance. Hamilton Island is the gateway into this island experience, with daily flights from Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. From there, a collection of luxe island retreats are within easy reach.
Hayman Island, managed by InterContinental Hotel Group, is one of world’s most iconic private island resorts. A $79 million refurbishment completed in 2019 saw a collection of new restaurants and bars installed, as well as the three-bedroom Hayman Beach House.
On Daydream Island, a longtime holiday favorite with families, the amazing eco-friendly Living Reef coral lagoon wraps around the resort and includes a stunning underwater observatory.
Both Orpheus Island and Heron Island, meanwhile, pride themselves on their impeccable eco-credentials, with guests (only 28 in total on Orpheus Island) able to indulge in familiar island pursuits such as diving and snorkeling, or embrace their inner eco-warrior and tour a marine research station.