Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Queensland, Australia (Tourism Queensland)

A swim-up bar at Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays (iStockphoto)

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What to do in Whitsunday Islands

Eastern Australia’s mountains shelve into the Pacific to form the Whitsunday Islands, an archipelago of hundreds of jewel-like islands, all fringed in beaches and sandwiched between the continental shelf and the Great Barrier Reef. Most of the Whitsundays are deserted and protected as a national park, but a handful are destinations in their own right. Hamilton and South Molle offer package tourism on a large scale, with mega-resorts and golf clubs. Luxurious Hayman is more exclusive, with infinity pools and celebrity sightings. Lindeman has Australia’s only Club Med, and Hook, which is famous for its coral, has little more than a backpacker lodge. Many visitors prefer to sail around the archipelago: Days are spent whale-watching, snorkelling, or diving; lazing on stunning Whitehaven beach; and dining on the deck under stars.

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