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The shining jewel in the crown of Australia's coastline

Off Queensland's central coast, a collection of more than 70 islands entice visitors with promises of a pure tropical paradise. You won't be disappointed on a short break to the Whitsundays with sparkling aquamarine waters rolling onto shimmering white beaches as palms gently sway in the balmy sea breeze. Part of the Great Barrier Reef, the Whitsunday Islands are an outdoor playground perfect for a few days of aquatic adventures. Fly direct into Hamilton Island or catch a ferry from Shute Harbour on the mainland and kick start your Whitsundays weekend retreat relaxing by the pool at one of Hamilton Island's high rise hotels.

With over seven kilometres of silky white sand (some of the purest in the world) and gentle glistening water lapping the shore, Whitsunday Island's Whitehaven Beach is ideal for afternoon naps under shady trees, therapeutic dips in the warm ocean and shoreline strolls to Hill Inlet where the sands swirl into magnificent formations. You are spoiled for choice on your weekend getaway to the Whitsundays as far as paradisiacal islands go – from the affordability of Hook Island to the exclusivity of Hayman Island, family-friendly Daydream Island and eco-focussed Long Island, the only problem is choosing where to go next!

If you're wondering what to do in the Whitsundays, jump on a boat for a day trip to the reef – dive or snorkel among colourful coral gardens and placid marine life or join a tour to spot whales migrating to the Whitsundays' warm waters. Take some time for yourself with a spa package before settling in at a relaxed, modern restaurant with stunning ocean views. If you're celebrating your honeymoon or are planning on popping the big question, book a scenic flight over Heart Reef – a natural coral composition shaped like the ultimate symbol of love.

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