Whitsunday Islands for a Weekend

Five days is better, but this is how to make the most of 48 hours on Whitsunday Islands

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Discover Whitsunday Islands on a 2 day getaway. This is tough! Two days is only just long enough to give you a taste of island life but not quite long enough to allow you slip onto island time. Do yourself a favour and allow at least five days for a Great Barrier Reef Whitsundays visit. But if you’re seriously time poor and only have two days, here’s how we suggest you spend them.

Getting to the Whitsundays

Fly into Proserpine Airport on the mainland or Hamilton Island’s own airstrip. Hamilton Island is a mini village and is perfect for a weekend getaway. Accommodation options are plentiful. If you’ve got short arms and deep pockets try Palm Bungalows or the Reef View Hotel.. At the other end of the scale, qualia (pronounced kwa-lee-ya) is the ducks nuts, the bees knees, the top of the food chain. Hidden away behind towering gates at the north of the island, qualia is one of the most awarded resorts in Australia. If you do check in here for two days there’s a good chance you won’t pass through those gates again until it’s time to head home. Two days will flash by in a whirl of gourmand-fuelled romantic liaisons in a dreamy waterfront setting.

For the rest of us, Hamilton Island is a fully functional village on an island, from a school, church, supermarket, post office, bank, cafes, bars and restaurants along with a gazillion activities.

Whitsunday Islands: Day 1

Breakfast with the koalas at the WILD LIFE Hamilton Island, have your photo taken cuddling one of Australia’s iconic marsupials before exploring the nature park at leisure.

Get airborne by seaplane or helicopter to gain a stunning perspective of the Whitsunday Islands and reefs. Snorkel in secluded coral lagoons on the outer Great Barrier Reefbefore landing at Whitehaven Beach with an Air Whitsundays seaplane tour. Or take a helicopter joy ride over famous Heart Reef – the inspiration for countless romantic proposals and celebrations!

Hire a buggy and take a self-guided tour around the island. Check out the houses and villas (and the luxury yachts) of the rich and famous, enjoy the panoramic views from One Tree Hill (stop in for afternoon tea with a view!) or cruise Front Street where boutiques and galleries line the waterfront.

Order a cocktail or a glass of bubbles and watch the day turn to dusk at One Tree Hill. Sunset drinks here are an absolute must do.

Dine down on the waterfront at Romanos restaurant where contemporary Italian cuisine is served up in a relaxed and romantic setting enhanced by starched linen and the subtle flicker of candles. Naturally you’ll find superb pasta and gnocchi in abundance on the menu but there’s also a healthy representation from the surrounding sea.

Check into Beach Club, a deluxe low rise hotel set just behind Catseye Beach. Alternatively, rooms on upper levels at the Reef View Hotel come with splendid views over Whitsunday Island.

Explore more local itineraries via the RELATED links below.

Whitsunday Islands: Day 2

Start the day with an invigorating walk to Passage Peak, the highest point on Hamilton Island. Wear walking shoes as it gets a bit rocky towards the top where you’ll have to clamber over rocks to
reach the summit. Hikers are rewarded with stunning views over the islands.

Designed by legendary five-times British Open winner Peter Thompson, Hamilton Island Golf Club is the only Australian golf course occupying its own island. It’s worth a round for the views alone. A ten min boat ride from Hamilton Island, Dent Island offers hilly topography across a challenging 18 hole, par 71 championship course. Linger in the hilltop Clubhouse for lunch after a round.

Chill out on Catseye Beach, hire a hobie cat, SUP board or take a parasailing tour. At low tide the beach is a rock hoppers dream as parts of the reef dry.

Enjoy a romantic sunset dinner onboard classic motor yacht Denison Star. Start with cocktails and canapes as Denison Star departs Hamilton Island Marina for a three – four hour cruise around the Whitsunday Islands. Savour first class dining in an elegant setting in calm waters before slipping outside for after dinner stargazing on the deck.

About the author: Fiona Harper is a Queensland-based travel writer – follow Fiona at Travel Boating Lifestyle

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