The wonders of the Great Barrier Reef and its tropical islands are within easy reach of Mackay, which has 31 beautiful beaches and a world class marina, spectacular coastal National Parks and miles of untouched coastline, all lapped by the warm, tropical waters of the Coral Sea.
The Whitsundays is the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, one of the world’s most spectacular aquatic playgrounds encompassing 74 tropical islands, most listed as National Parks, and is one of the world’s best sailing destinations. Airlie Beach is a cosmopolitan holiday town overlooking the calm waters of Pioneer Bay, with views from above Coral Sea Marina Resort to the Whitsunday Passage.
Some of the better-known idyllic islands are Daydream, South Molle, Long, Hamilton, Hayman, Hook, Lindeman, Brampton and Keswick.
The observatory on Hook Island allows visitors to descend nine metres below the ocean to view coral, reef animals and plants with marine biologists to explain the wonders of the reef.
The reefs of Hardy, Bait, Hook, Line, Knuckle, Elizabeth and Fairey are a highlight, while Heart Reef is a spectacular coral formation which can be viewed by air.
Whitehaven Beach, a pristine expanse of pure white silica sand fringed by brilliant blue water and lush tropical island, is one of the jewels of the Whitsundays, recognised as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Serviced by ultra-fast, ultra-modern ferries, cruising yachts, seaplanes and helicopters, it is accessible from the Islands, Shute Harbour and Airlie Beach.