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  • Address: Whitsundays Passage, Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia
The Whitsundays Passage is the waterway that carves through the middle of the Whitsunday Islands in the heart of northwestern Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. These famous islands, perhaps some of Australia's most popular tourist attractions, are named after the passage, which was given its title by the famed explorer Captain James Cook in 1770. The area was discovered on Whitsun, a Sunday feast day held seven weeks after Easter, thus resulting in the name. However, since the international dateline has now been established, it is now said that the day Cook discovered this passage would have actually been a Monday.

Within Whitsunday Passage, there are 74 islands in total, with the largest simply known as Whitsunday Island. Most of these islands have remained uninhabited or are, at the very least, protected by a vast system of national parks. The oldest settlement in the Whitsundays is the town of Bowen, settled in 1861. Later, in 1936, the city of Airlie Beach was established and it remains, in many ways, the heart of Whitsunday Passage. Today, the Whitsunday Passage is sailed constantly by tourists on chartered boats and cruises, while including some of the world's most photographed beaches.

Practical Info

Most visitors arrive in the Whitsunday Islands via flights to either Hamilton Island or Whitsunday Coast Airport in Proserpine, just a 25-minute drive from Airlie Beach. There are more flights to Hamilton Island with connections from Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. There are also a number of ferries that link the various islands of Whitsunday. The main hub of transport in the islands is Shute Harbour.

Tours & Tickets

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2-Night Whitsundays Sailing Cruise Aboard 'Spank Me' Including Whitehaven Beach and the Great ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

2-Night Whitsundays Sailing Cruise Aboard 'Spank Me' Including Whitehaven Beach and the Great Barrier Reef

2.5 star rating: It was OK, but could have been better 2 Reviews

Spank Me Whitsundays 2 day/2 night adventure tour explores the World Heritage-listed Whitsunday Islands, visiting Whitehaven Beach and snorkeling the fringing ...  Read more

Location: Airlie Beach, Australia
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $343.79
2-Night Whitsunday Islands Catamaran Cruise with Resort Stay from Airlie Beach, Airlie Beach, ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

2-Night Whitsunday Islands Catamaran Cruise with Resort Stay from Airlie Beach

Choose the ultimate 2-day 2-night resort stay package around the Whitsunday Islands. The all-inclusive combo departs from Airlie Beach and offers an ...  Read more

Location: Airlie Beach, Australia
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $434.45
2-Night Small-Group Whitsundays Sailing Adventure Aboard 'Mandrake', The Whitsundays & Hamilton ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

2-Night Small-Group Whitsundays Sailing Adventure Aboard 'Mandrake'

Mandrake Whitsundays takes 14 guests around the islands for 2 days and 2 nights, allowing you to snorkel the coral fringed Islands and explore the spectacular ...  Read more

Location: Airlie Beach, Australia
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $343.79
Cairns to Sydney Hop-on Hop-off Travel Pass, Cairns & the Tropical North, Multi-day Cruises
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

Cairns to Sydney Hop-on Hop-off Travel Pass

Explore Australia's east coast from Cairns to Sydney with a guided, hop-on hop-off travel pass. Travel by rail and bus from Cairns to Sydney. Visit off the ...  Read more

Location: Cairns, Australia
Duration: 1 year (approx.)

From USD $506.98
2-Night Whitsunday Islands All-Inclusive Sailing Tour from Airlie Beach, The Whitsundays & ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

2-Night Whitsunday Islands All-Inclusive Sailing Tour from Airlie Beach

Experience Tongarra, a custom built catamaran that offers an on-board living and sailing experience that is hard to match, enabling you to see the best of the ...  Read more

Location: Airlie Beach, Australia
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $354.67
1-Night Whitsundays Tour by Catamaran with Paradise Cove Resort from Airlie Beach, The Whitsundays ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 2 ADMISSION : 5

1-Night Whitsundays Tour by Catamaran with Paradise Cove Resort from Airlie Beach

Choose the unique overnight resort stay package around the Whitsunday Islands. The all-inclusive combo departs from Airlie Beach and offers an ...  Read more

Location: Airlie Beach, Australia
Duration: 2 days (approx.)

From USD $216.86

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