Whitsunday Islands and Resorts

Island Resorts

Placeholder. If there is demand, and I have time to visit all the islands, I'll expand this.

Although all but five of the 74 Whitsunday Islands are uninhabited National Park, a number of the Whitsunday Islands also have large resorts. As I don't live on one of the islands I haven't listed many details, but do provide their URLs. Mostly more expensive than mainland Airlie Beach, and fewer choices of boats and eating places (although what is there is often very good to outright excellent). You should note that staying on an island is not the same as visiting the Great Barrier Reef. The reef is a decent distance offshore, and there are no resorts on the reef (in other areas Heron, Lady Elliott and Green Island are on the reef). You visit the reef by boat or you fly.

Brampton Island
A P and O resort, a bit over 100 rooms. Well south, part of the Cumberland Islands really, although they advertise it as Whitsundays. You would be more likely to visit from Mackay, 150 km south. About 770 hectare, 12 beaches mostly secluded. No day trips. Try also http://www.bramptonisland.com
Daydream Island
(actually West Molle island). A very small island, close inshore to Shute Harbour, newly updated in 2002 as a Novotel by Vaughan Bullivant. 296 rooms, three pools, three restaurants, one with bronze mermaids offshore, wedding chapel overlooking Sunset Beach, extensive rejuvenation spa, themed miniature golf with stuff like Birdsville, the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, outdoor movie screen, coral reef lagoon now stocked, and impressive for an artificial reef. Children feed fish in the lagoon. Marine biologist Ian Gallaway has developed the reef until it is probably the largest in the world. Seven million litres of sea water flow through the reef, which has 8 tonnes of coral and 50 fish species.
Hamilton Island
Large buildings, 21 story Hamilton Tower, an entire small town with four hotels, 11 restaurants, 7 pools. If you like your tropical islands with regular flights to a jet airport, large marina and tall buildings, this is for you (I hate it). I think they still have a flying fox. Largest inhabited island in the Whitsundays (over 700 hectares). About 20 km of walking trails. Largest resort in the South Pacific, I believe. Possibly named after Sub Lieutenant A.R. Hamilton (formerly of HMS Salamander) by Commander H.M. Bingham of HMS Virago.
Hamilton is one of two Whitsunday Islands where property can be purchased under a leasehold. Hamilton Island Enterprises holds the head lease. In 2006, 22 private units were sold at prices ranging from $469,000 to $2.45 million. Resort apartments operate under leaseback, and must be in the letting pool 11 months of the year. Room occupancy rates have increased from around 50% in 2002 to a little over 60% from 2004, but since 2006 appear to be in a slight decline. Occupancy variability has been considerable, with a June 2006 low below 35%.
Hayman Island resort.
Most northerly of the Whitsunday Islands. Around 400 ha, 8 km around. Outright luxury, once among top ten resorts in the world. Five restaurants. Website takes forever to load, due to Flash. Walking trains through forest interior. There is good coral and fish viewing at Blue Pearl Bay, Dolphin Point and East Reef. Named after Thomas H Hayman, Master of HMS Salamander by Commander George Stanley Nares RN hydrographer in 1866.
Hooke Island
Hook Island Wilderness Lodge for camping and snorkling, cheaper than most resort islands. The nearby underwater observatory is old but open.
Lindeman Island Club Med
17 km from coast, at the southern end of the Whitsundays. Highly organised Club Med and its European all inclusive (except bar drinks) approach, bit over 200 room, and a nine hole golf course. Club Med took over in 1992. Large island, around 700 hectares. 20 km of walking trails.
Long Island
Long (obviously) and narrow. I think it might be the closest island to the mainland. Heavily vegetated National Park on most of the island.

Club Crocodile At the northern end of the island, catering to fun seekers. There is another Club Croc (much cheaper) at Canonvale on the mainland.

Peppers Palm Bay Hideaway Resort, 21 bungalows on a sandy beach on Long Island with their own generator and sewerage recycling. At the narrowest part of Long Island, where it is only a hundred metres or so wide. Upmarket, about $400 a day. No TV or phone. 14 km of national park tracks nearby.

South Long Island Nature Lodge
On the southern end of Long Island, with an informative web site. A secluded island retreat catering for a maximum of ten guests with fine dining, premium Australian wines, and personalized service, in a friendly, homely atmosphere and a spectacular unspoilt natural environment. The all inclusive tariff includes helicopter tours plus private yacht cruises to explore the coral gardens, deserted beaches and unique wildlife of the surrounding Whitsunday Islands and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. A perfect escape for couples and singles seeking a truly unique experience (no single surcharge applies). May have changed names to Paradise Bay Island Eco Escape, and moved to 16 visitors.
South Molle resort.
Nice sheltered beach, good facilities, 9 hole golf, lots of close National Park walks over about 400 hectares, walk to Mid Molle. Seemed a nice laid back place to me. A reality TV show, Fantasy Island, was filming on South Molle from 23 February to 8 March 2004. I think they are calling the place Koala Adventure Island.
Whitsunday Island.
Largest island. No facilities, but Whitehaven Beach is the finest and longest white sand beach in the islands, excellent lookout walk with the most spectacular view of the beach at the right tide time, popular day visit spot by boat or plane. Best boat trip, probably Whitehaven Express.

The Great Barrier Reef

Over 3000 coral reefs totalling 2500 km, along the Queensland continental shelf. It is the largest coral reef in the world, the largest structure built by living creatures, tiny coral polyps from 1mm to 20mm in size. The algae associated with the calcium secreting polyps can only survive in shallow, warm waters. All the islands in this area also have fringing reefs, as indeed do areas of the mainland.

Boat trips tend to concentrate on the nearer reefs. Bait Reef is 16 nautical miles off Hook Island. Hardy Reef encloses a 35 kilometer lagoon, only a handful of metres deep. The large Reefworld pontoon is anchored here.

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