If you are looking to book a holiday to the Whitsunday Islands and like many are finding that most tour companies itineraries all look the same, then you can rest assured your holiday won’t be a quiet relaxing one, you will be following the crowd. The Whitsundays Islands are a stunning archipelago of 74 Islands off of Queensland’s coast bordering the Great Barrier Reef. Every island has its unique features and the ones that are visitable offer a holidays experience for everyone from the humble camper to the high-end luxurious traveller. There are multiple islands to choose from and some of them much less known.
So here I am going to give you a list of 12 islands that you may never have heard of and what you can expect to find on each one to see if they may be suitable to help you customise your trip to these beautiful isles. Choosing your own Whitsundays experience.
- Rattray Island: Rattray is a little-known island as it is uninhabited but extremely popular among anglers. The waters here offer top game fishing with idyllic scenes off of the Western Point. Keen fishermen can expect to tackle fish such as the famous sailfish while predators such as the tiger shark are prevalent on these waters primarily in the passage between Rattray and neighbouring Gloucester Island. However, remember that especially with the sharks it’s a catch and release policy only. Perfect for: Fishermen – Beginners to Experts
- Stone Island: Stone Island is situated around two kilometres from the coast of the city of Bowen, accessible by a very short ferry ride. The island doesn’t come under the banner of being part of the holiday-route for the ordinary tourist. It’s a journey worth taking though as it’s a short one and has a lovely stretch of beach in which to relax and if you are in any way a boat enthusiast it’s a perfect vantage point in which to watch regular competitive yacht races. Perfect for: Day-trippers and Whitsunday Sailing Enthusiasts
- Armit Island: For escapist camping to a picturesque island environment, Armit Island is the ideal choice. It lies just north of Arlie beach, which is the main tourist focal point and the island and where most people will be at some stage. With a pebble beach and a multitude of birdlife on the island, it’s a nice getaway. It has space for roughly 10-12 campers and is ideal for a short getaway from the hustle and bustle of Airlie. Though with that in mind, if you run out of supplies and want to stay longer, it’s only a short boat ride back to re-supply. Perfect for: Secluded Camping – Day-Trippers from Airlie
- Grassy Island: Grassy is rarely visited and certainly not on the standard tourist route which is surprising given the fact it’s also close to Airlie Beach. This is another must for the budding fisherman, and there are numerous fishing tours available, ask your agent to include this one. The island is covered in greenery and has untouched beaches, the western shore beach being the most popular. Perfect for: Romantic Beach Walks – Fishing
- Gloucester Island: Gloucester has become a popular hotspot for the in-the-know camping community. In the north you will find plentiful native wildlife, the highlight being the endangered Rock Wallaby, which is quite an experience to be up close with one. There is an official campground called Bona Bay which has facilities such as picnic tables with shelter. Perfect for: Wildlife and Bird Enthusiasts – Quiet Secluded Camping
- Border Island: Border is famed for its snorkelling. The island itself is mountainous and has one of the most stunning bays of all the Whitsunday Islands at its Northern end. It has an official ‘green Zone’ which was put in place to preserve the islands nature, corals and fish. The waters surrounding the island are teeming with ocean life and fish ranging from tiny Angelfish all the way up to the giant Maori Wrasse and everything in between. Perfect for: Diving Whitsundays and Snorkelers (preferably experienced)
- Harold Island: Harold sits just across from the world famous and popular Whitehaven Beach. Although it is hard to get away from Whitehaven, what Harold offers you is a fantastic vantage point in which to see Whitehaven beach at sunset, the sunset is quite a spectacle and has photographers purring. There are also a few on-shore fisherman who frequent the island as there is plenty of sport without having to sit on the open water. Perfect for: Sunsets Views of Whitehaven Beach; On-Shore Anglers
- Haslewood Island: Haslewood is another island with a spectacular beach but goes somewhat under the radar due to its proximity to Whitehaven. Though among those who do visit, Chalkies Beach on the Western side of the island is a very popular point at which to anchor, as it gives protected conditions. It offers the same pristine sands as Whitehaven, and is ideal for a bit of secluded snorkelling or a beach walk, while undisturbed by any commercialisation. Perfect for: Anyone Seeking a Whitehaven Beach Experience With no Hustle and Bustle
- North Molle Island: The Molle’s are a group of island, and the North is one less visited of the group. Again it is surprising as it consists of a lush wild environment, has some of the most scenic campgrounds of any of the island and powder like sand. Offering excellent vantage points for observing the other islands in the group. The islands most well-known beach is ‘Cockatoo Beach’ consisting of soft and smooth white sand ideal for swimming and has table and chairs for picnics with toilets. Perfect for: Camping – Uncrowded Beautiful Beach, Photography Enthusiasts.
- Pentecost Island: Interestingly Pentecost was the first island of the entire Whitsunday group to be named. The islands main stand out feature is its shape; it has a distinctive look with a rocky peak that gravitates up into the sky and hangs over its surrounding greenery. These cliff faces lend themselves to adventure climbers who are looking to challenge themselves. Perfect for: Thrill-seeking Adventure Climbers
- Lindeman Island: Lindeman was formerly the home to Club Med on the Whitsundays and is situated at the Southern end of the islands. It has been bought and re-developed in recent times. It now boasts a superb array of facilities, and a national park with bushwalks that are not to be missed. Since its re-development, it is growing in popularity, but there’s something there for everyone. Perfect for: Higher-end Accommodation – Nature and Walking Enthusiasts
- Mansell Island: Mansell is a reasonably flat island but consists of a grassy summit that offers a panoramic view of the surrounding areas. The island is very popular with divers as it offers some of the islands most high-quality sites. The main attractions being sections of open water that contains some of the most stunning coral formations with visibility at its highest. Though as a rule, this is not for beginners, you need to have had some diving experience with the tour companies that offer trips to the site. Perfect for: Experienced Scuba Divers – Relaxation
As you can see, there is a lot more to the Whitsunday Islands than Whitehaven Beach and Airlie Beach. There is something for everyone, for the individual traveller on a budget, to families and honeymooners alike. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t tend to like to follow the crowd, or are keen to be sailing the Whitsundays then there should be something in these 12 islands for you. Even if it’s just a day trip or a one-night stay-over certain things are guaranteed on the Whitsundays, beautiful, serene beaches, waters and wildlife, what more could you want?
Author Bio: Pat is a veteran blogger with a life-long love of global travel and adventure. He is associated with Whitsunday Sailing Adventures who have years of experience of sailing Whitsundays and enjoys sharing his experiences of this beautiful region.