In the heart of Queensland's Great Barrier Reef lie the Whitsundays, 74 islands floating like jewels in the tropical waters of the Coral Sea. Discovering the Great Barrier Reef is one of life's must-dos and it's easily accessible from Airlie Beach or directly from the islands. It is a cosmopolitan and vibrant town filled with palm-fringed beaches, waterfront parks and alfresco dining restaurants.
The best way to fully explore this lovely region is on a sailboat. Cruise through the islands and drop anchor for a quick snorkel and fall asleep at night to the gentle rocking of the waves under a canopy of stars. Spend the day exploring the pure white silica sands of Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet from one of the world's most exquisite lookouts, or enjoy the views of the reef from the cockpit of a seaplane. Paddle a sea kayak gracefully through the water, follow bushwalking trails overlooking the Coral Sea or simply relax with a cocktail by the pool.