The Whitsunday Islands are a collection of continental islands of various sizes off the central coast of Queensland, Australia, approximately 900 kilometres (560 miles) north of Brisbane. The northernmost of the islands are situated off the coast by the town of Bowen while the southernmost islands are off the coast by Proserpine. The island group is centered on Whitsunday Island, while the group's commercial center is Hamilton Island. The traditional owners of the area are the Ngaro people and the Gia people (Birri Gubba language group) whose Juru Clan has the only legally recognized native title in the region.
|Major islands||Hamilton Island|
|Area||282.82 km2 (109.20 sq mi)|
|Largest settlement||Hamilton Island (pop. 1350)|
|Pop. density||5.551 /km2 (14.377 /sq mi)|
The term is a misnomer as it is based on Captain Cook’s date for the naming of Whitsunday Passage, or as Cook spelled it in his HMS Endeavour journal, Whitsunday’s Passage. Based on his journal date, Cook believed that the passage was discovered on Whitsunday, the Sunday of the feast of Whitsun—Pentecost in the Christian liturgical year—which is observed 7 weeks after Easter. As the International Date Line had not yet been established, the day of discovery was actually Whit Monday.
There is some contention as to exactly which islands are within the informally named Whitsunday Islands, in particular those at the southern extremity and the inclusions to the west. What is certain is that they lie within the chain named Cumberland Isles by Captain Cook (now officially the Cumberland Islands) and a reasonably defined section of that chain and surrounding waters have become known worldwide as The Whitsundays, based on a contraction of the Whitsunday Islands designation.
The Whitsunday islands are a popular tourist destination for travelers to Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef with the area being one of the most popular yachting destinations in the Southern Hemisphere. The islands received about 700,000 visitors between March 2008 and March 2009.
The Ngaro Sea Trail Great Walk is a mix of seaways and short walks, crossing South Molle, Hook and Whitsunday islands. The tracks across the islands are linked by seaways suited to kayaking, sailing or powerboating. Camping is available at eight camping areas on the three islands. Several islands have large resorts, offering a wide variety of accommodation and activities. Chartering a yacht or bareboating is a popular way to explore the seaways, beaches and coves.
There are a total of 74 islands and islets among all the groups in the Whitsundays.
The most notable island in the Lindeman group is its namesake Lindeman Island.
Some of the islands in the Northern group are Armit, Gloucester and Saddleback.
Table of islands
Listed below are islands of The Whitsundays, divided by group locality. Named rocks and islets can be found listed within the entry for the nearest island to that feature.
|Island||Capital||Adjacent islets and features||Area (km²)||Population|
|Lindeman Islands||Lindeman Island||30.34||10|
|Little Lindeman Island||0.49||0|
|Maher Island||Jesus Point||0.94||0|
|Other||Ann Island, Cole Island||0.222||0|
|Seaforth Island||North Beach||0.265||0|
|Shaw Island||Neck Bay, Burning Point||15.62||0|
|Thomas Island||Thomas Bay, Dead Dog Point||2.23||0|
|Molle Islands||South Molle Island||20.17||150|
|Daydream Island||Coral Beach, Lovers Beach, Mermaids Beach, Sunset Beach||0.23||30|
|Long Island||Base Point, Fire Point, Happy Bay, Paradise Bay, Pelican Beach, Peppers Palm Bay, Sandy Bay, Spit Point||10.6||80|
|Mid Molle Island||0.13||0|
|North Molle Island||2.643||0|
|Other||Gunn Island, Repair Island, Shute Island, Tancerd Island||0.588||0|
|South Molle Island||Bauer Bay||4.66||40|
|Northern Group||Gloucester Island||33.56||1|
|Double Cone Island||0.4||0|
|Manta Ray Island||0.32||0|
|The Whitsunday Group||Hamilton Island||198.75||1409|
|Border Island||Cateran Bay||3.066||0|
|Cid Island||Bench Point, Gilling Point||2.95||0|
|Hamilton Island||Crab Bay, South Head, Driftwood Bay, Coral Cove, Escape Beach, Broken Point, Sunrise Bay, Hideaway Bay, Catseye Bay, Pebble Beach, Airport Beach||7.98||1350|
|Hayman Island||Dolphin Point, Tower Point, Rescue Beach, Groper Point, Arkhurst Point, Blue Pearl Bay, Royal Hayman Hotel||3.78||50|
|Other||Buddibuddi Island, Yuindalla Island, Petrel Island, Arkhurst Island, Plum Pudding Island||0.904||0|
- Prior on Behalf of the Juru (Cape Upstart) People v The State of Queensland (No.2)  FCA 819 (26 July 2011), Federal Court (Australia).
- "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
- Bligh, Anna (10 June 2009). "PREMIER UNVEILS QUEENSLAND'S 150 ICONS". Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
- Andrew Bain (21 November 2009). "The alternative Whitsunday". Brisbane Times. Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- "Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail". Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing. 25 March 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Whitsunday Islands.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Whitsunday Islands.|