Whitsunday Islands

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.[1]

Whitsunday Islands
LocationQueensland, Australia
Coordinates20°18′S 148°56′E
Total islands74
Major islandsHamilton Island
Area282.82 km2 (109.20 sq mi)
Largest settlementHamilton Island (pop. 1350)
Population1,570 (2014)
Pop. density5.551 /km2 (14.377 /sq mi)

The islands are within the locality of Whitsundays within the local government area Whitsunday Region.[2]

In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, the Whitsunday Islands was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as a "Natural attraction".[3]


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.[4] Based on his journal date, Cook believed that the passage was discovered on Whitsunday, the Sunday of the feast of WhitsunPentecost in the Christian liturgical yearwhich 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.[5]

The Ngaro Sea Trail Great Walk is a mix of seaways and short walks, crossing South Molle, Hook and Whitsunday islands.[6] 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.

Whitsunday group

The most notable islands in the main Whitsunday group are named Dent, Hamilton, Hayman, Hook and Whitsunday which features the white sands of Whitehaven Beach.

Lindeman group

The most notable island in the Lindeman group is its namesake Lindeman Island.

Molle group

The most notable islands in the Molle group are Daydream Island (formerly West Molle Island), Long Island and South Molle Island.

Northern group

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.

IslandCapitalAdjacent islets and featuresArea (km²)Population
Lindeman IslandsLindeman Island30.3410
Baynham Island0.0740
Comston Island0.2360
Gaibirra Island0.3230
Keyser Island0.5770
Lindeman Island6.78910
Little Lindeman Island0.490
Maher IslandJesus Point0.940
Mansell Island1.1770
OtherAnn Island, Cole Island0.2220
Pentecost Island1.250
Seaforth IslandNorth Beach0.2650
Shaw IslandNeck Bay, Burning Point15.620
Thomas IslandThomas Bay, Dead Dog Point2.230
Triangle Island0.1150
Volskow Island0.0320
Molle IslandsSouth Molle Island20.17150
Daydream IslandCoral Beach, Lovers Beach, Mermaids Beach, Sunset Beach0.2330
Denman Island0.0950
Goat Island0.0470
Long IslandBase Point, Fire Point, Happy Bay, Paradise Bay, Pelican Beach, Peppers Palm Bay, Sandy Bay, Spit Point10.680
Mid Molle Island0.130
North Molle Island2.6430
OtherGunn Island, Repair Island, Shute Island, Tancerd Island0.5880
Pine Island1.0630
Planton Island0.1140
South Molle IslandBauer Bay4.6640
Northern GroupGloucester Island33.561
Armit Island1.050
Double Cone Island0.40
Eshelby Island0.130
Gloucester Island26.80
Grassy Island1.290
Gumbrell Island0.470
Manta Ray Island0.320
Middle Island0.430
Olden Island0.430
Poole Island0.190
Rattray Island0.230
Saddleback Island0.580
Stone Island1.241
The Whitsunday GroupHamilton Island198.751409
Bird Island0.0170
Black Island0.050
Border IslandCateran Bay3.0660
Cid IslandBench Point, Gilling Point2.950
Cowrie Island0.0240
Deloraine Island0.1720
Dent Island4.132
Dumbell Island0.1410
Dungarra Island0.0940
Esk Island0.10
Fitzalan Island0.0540
Hamilton IslandCrab Bay, South Head, Driftwood Bay, Coral Cove, Escape Beach, Broken Point, Sunrise Bay, Hideaway Bay, Catseye Bay, Pebble Beach, Airport Beach7.981350
Harold Island0.3450
Haslewood Island7.9410
Hayman IslandDolphin Point, Tower Point, Rescue Beach, Groper Point, Arkhurst Point, Blue Pearl Bay, Royal Hayman Hotel3.7850
Henning Island0.4960
Hook Island54.875
Ireby Island0.0460
Langford Island0.0930
Lupton Island1.050
Nicolson Island0.1630
OtherBuddibuddi Island, Yuindalla Island, Petrel Island, Arkhurst Island, Plum Pudding Island0.9040
Perseverance Island0.3420
Teague Island0.5580
Titan Island0.0112
Whitsunday Island1090
Wirrainbeia Island0.040
Workington Island0.3330
Whitsunday IslandsTotals282.821570

See also


  1. Prior on Behalf of the Juru (Cape Upstart) People v The State of Queensland (No.2) [2011] FCA 819 (26 July 2011), Federal Court (Australia).
  2. "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  3. 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.
  4. http://southseas.nla.gov.au/journals/cook/17700604.html
  5. Andrew Bain (21 November 2009). "The alternative Whitsunday". Brisbane Times. Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
  6. "Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail". Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing. 25 March 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
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