Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Australia


Queensland is home to some of the world’s most treasured natural wonders, the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest.

This region of Australia boasts beautiful beaches, idyllic islands and tropical rainforests. Queensland conjures images of Robinson Crusoe islands and magical underwater worlds and it doesn’t disappoint.

Stay in the atmospheric town of Port Douglas in the tropical north, where the rainforest meets the reef, or retreat from the world to spend days on the reef, snorkelling off hidden beaches, far from anyone. Further south, sail the azure waters of the Whitsundays or head to Fraser Island to search for dingo and surf the dunes on this, the worlds largest sand island.

Lizard Island Resort, Snorkelling, Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia
Snorkelling on Lizard Island

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is a World Heritage site extending 2,600 kilometres along Australia’s east coast. It is the world’s most extensive coral reef system and is one of the planet’s richest areas in terms of faunal diversity containing 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish, and 4,000 types of mollusc. The reef is also the habitat of whales, dolphins, dugongs, large turtles, a variety of harmless sharks and it is an important habitat for seabirds, shore and land birds.

Whitsundays scenic flight over Whitehaven beach, Queensland, Australia
Aerial view of Whitehaven Beach in the Whitsundays

The Whitsunday Islands

The Whitsundays are made up of 74 beautiful tropical islands located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Only a handful of the 74 islands have resorts on them, and most are beautiful, tropical deserted islands which make a fabulous option for a sailing holiday.

Where to stay

Some of the wonderful places to stay that we frequently recommended.

Haggerstone Island £££££

  • Australia
  • Beach and Island Escapes

This private island hideaway is a true piece of paradise, a chance to leave all modern-day trappings at home and become a castaway. The Island is covered in tropical jungle and surrounded by lagoons with the open ocean and corals of the Northern Great Barrier Reef stretching for hundreds of kilometres. Accommodation is luxuriously rustic with just four “huts”, each of which is unique and have a lounge area and a private deck.

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Thala Beach Nature Reserve £££££

  • Australia
  • Beach and Island Escapes

Set on the coast within 145 acres Thala Beach Nature Reserve is nestled into the rainforest, overlooking two kilometres of beautiful beach.

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Silky Oaks Lodge £££££

  • Australia
  • Unusual

Silky Oaks Lodge is spectacularly situated on the banks of the Mossman River and surrounded by the World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest. The 40 treehouses are contemporary and comfortable with a rustic vibe and each has a private balcony with hammock. Facilities include a freshwater swimming pool and a spa.

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qualia £££££

  • Australia
  • Beach and Island Escapes

Pronounced kwah-lee-ah, qualia is located on the far north of Hamilton Island. A peaceful retreat with 60 elegant pavilions, nestled among 30 acres of tropical gardens, each with panoramic views of the ocean, surrounding islands or tropical bushland. Timber, stone and glass have been creatively used and each pavilion has a private sundeck as well as a private garden area or infinity-edged plunge pool. Alternatively, the Beach House has its own 12-metre swimming pool and a guest pavilion. Spa qualia offer an extensive range of treatments and other facilities include two pools, and two exclusive restaurants offering fresh and innovative cuisine.

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Lizard Island Resort £££££

  • Australia
  • Beach and Island Escapes

Located in the remote northerly sections of the Great Barrier Reef, Lizard Island is an understated yet stylish retreat, rimmed by 24 powdery white sand beaches and fringed with colourful coral reefs. A stay here has you literally sleeping on the reef.

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What do you really love doing? We curate your itinerary especially for you.

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Whitsundays scenic flight over Whitehaven beach, Queensland, Australia

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Charter a yacht to explore some of the 74 Whitsunday islands, or head to the skies by helicopter or seaplane for an aerial view.

Southern Cassowary, Daintree National Park, Queensland, Australia

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Explore the 135 million-year-old Daintree rainforest.

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Snorkel or dive in the ultimate underwater world on the Great Barrier Reef.

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Paddle Boarding, Lizard Island Resort, Lizard Island, Australia

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Stay on a remote island on the Great Barrier Reef; fringed by coral reefs and white sandy beaches.

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Meet our experts

A passion for travel runs right through every one of our experts - meaning they're always ready with first-hand insight about their specialist countries.

Clare Higginson

It was my passion for languages that first encouraged me to leave the UK behind and grab my rucksack. Since then, it’s been a mixture of intriguing cultures, jaw-dropping landscapes and the wonder of seeing animals in their natural habitat that sees me continuously extending my travel wish list.

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