Last Updated: 14th Nov 2013
There are 74 islands that make up the Whitsunday group of islands on the East Coast of Australia. These tropical islands are often surrounded by sensational sandy beaches and azure blue seas and most of the islands are uninhabited, preserved as pristine national parks.
A small number do however have resorts, some of the more famous being Hamilton, Hayman, Brampton, Daydream, Lindeman and Daydream Island.
Most Contiki Tours visiting the region offer the opportunity to take the amazing Sailing the Whitsundays option while you can also simply chill out, relax and enjoy the island life on Long Island.
Airlie Beach is a coastal town along the Queensland coast and is generally known as the ‘gateway to the Whitsundays’. Airlie is a colourful, cosmopolitan and inviting holiday town in its own right however with a palm fringed beach overlooking the calm waters of Pioneer Bay.
The town is usually packed with holiday makers preparing to head out for adventure in the Whitsundays or people just chilling out after returning from the islands.
Around 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of Airlie Beach is Shute Harbour — the embarkation point for ferries to the island resorts as well as reef and charter operations. The large sheltered inlet, sprinkled with boats and flanked by steep, wooded banks, is a hive of marine activity. So much so that it ranks as the second busiest commuter port in Australia after Sydney’s Circular Quay.