From its close proximity to the Southern Great Barrier Reef and its superb marine life, to coral-fringed archipelagos with picture-postcard beaches, Central Queensland and the Whitsunday Islands have something magical for everyone.
The Queensland Central Coast stretches from Hervey Bay to Mission Beach and is dotted with beachside resorts and towns including Bundaberg, which as well as the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef has museums, gracious colonial buildings, Botanic Gardens and cruises along the Burnett River. Gladstone is a dynamic, modern city that basks in a sub-tropical climate with islands, waterways and beaches providing year-round water activities. Relaxed and elegant Townsville is home to 19th century architecture, a beautiful white sand beach, swaying palms, water parks and eateries. At Magnetic Island, take in the spectacular scenery on a trail walk before relaxing under a palm at one of the 23 beaches and bays, or head to fabulous Mission Beach which boasts nine miles of sandy beaches backed by the rainforest.
The Southern Great Barrier Reef offers visitors the chance to see large hard coral reefs first hand and join colourful fish and big marine life, including turtles and manta rays, for a swim.
The 74 islands of the Whitsundays are located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. A true paradise with clear blue water, white powdery beaches and fringing coral reefs at their doorstep, a visit to the Whitsundays is a feast for the senses. The majority are uninhabited national park islands, but four offer a variety of resort accommodation, and on the largest island you'll find idyllic Whitehaven Beach, boasting brilliant white silica sand that is among the purest in the world.
With its gorgeous outlook over bays and islands, and the tropical feel of an island resort, Airlie Beach is regarded as the vibrant hub of the Whitsundays and the ideal mainland base for fun and adventure. Enjoy activities on the water and in the lush, green rainforest of the Whitsunday coast.
At the heart of Central Queensland is Rockhampton, a town of well-preserved old hotels and warehouses down by the river, with Quay Street listed on the National Estate's heritage register.
Also not to be missed is Carnarvon National park, where you can witness dramatic escarpments and narrow-sided gorges 27 million years in the making along with Aboriginal art and creeks filled with turtles, frogs ad echidna. Natural attractions appear to be on tap in the Mackay Region, from beach-lounging wallabies at Cape Hillsborough National Park to the shy platypus in Eungella National Park as well as numerous secluded beaches. Let's not forget Sandstone Wilderness, an area of outstanding natural beauty featuring unique sandstone gorges, water sculptured formations and significant Aboriginal art sites.
GMT +10 hour
The Whitsunday Islands have two airports, Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island or Whitsunday Coast Airport at Prosperine, which is 25 minutes from Airlie Beach. Both have flights from Brisbane and Sydney. From the port at Airlie Beach you can get to Hamilton Island and Daydream Island. Heron Island is easily reached from Gladstone by either boat or seaplane.
he sub-tropical climate makes it perfect for beach holidays, with a year-round warm climate and an average temperature of 27ºC. The maximum summer temperatures are around 30ºC, which is also when brief tropical showers can also be expected, while maximum winter temperatures are around 25ºC.
Self-explore the best that Townsville and Magnetic Island have to offer with this convenient and flexible package. Includes entry to Reef HQ Townsville; entry to Museum of Tropical Queensland, Townsville; return ferry between Townsville and Magnetic Island; all day bus pass on Magnetic Island with Sunbus; and entry to Bungalow Bay Koala Sanctuary, Magnetic Island. Available daily from Townsville (excluding selected dates).
This fantastic half day cruise takes you past some of the Whitsundays remote areas, beautiful bays, peaceful islands and onto dazzling Whitehaven Beach. On arrival at this gem, there’s time to wander along the beach to find your own secluded spot of pristine white silica or swim in the azure waters before your return journey. Available daily from Airlie Beach.
This six hour tour begins with a journey to the Proserpine River for the chance to see saltwater crocodiles in their natural habitat, as well as many other mangrove residents. After lunch, board an open-air tractor-drawn wagon train and travel through the Goorganga Plains. Explore the natural waterholes, pastures and forest, which are home to a variety of birds, mammals and reptiles. Available daily from Airlie Beach (excluding 25 & 26 Dec).
A fantastic full day of reef exploration around Dunk Island, cruising aboard ‘Reef Goddess’. During the day you will be taken to two snorkel sites where there’s ample time to soak up the extraordinary underwater world. A BBQ lunch is included along with morning tea and coffee. Available on selected dates from Mission Beach.
In this one of a kind ‘blend your own rum’ experience, you’ll spend an entire hour with two expert blending guides who will teach you the art of tasting rum straight from the barrel. Once you’ve chosen your favourites, you’ll be taught how to craft your very own blend, it’s pure personalised perfection. You’ll bottle it, cap it, label it and leave with two of your very own bottles! Available Monday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday from Bundaberg (excluding selected dates). Minimum age 18.
Travel by high speed catamaran to the pontoon permanently moored on Hardy Reef at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. The pontoon has a choice of areas to relax and a great range of activities including an underwater viewing chamber, semi-submersible rides for coral viewing and full use of snorkelling equipment and wet suits. There are also presentations by reef experts. Available from Airlie Beach.