Guide to Landscapes of the Whitsunday Islands


Your Photography Guide to The Whitsunday Islands, Australia

In the calm waters of the Coral Sea, a group of 74 Whitsunday islands await guests with their fish crammed waters, snorkelling sizzling spots and luxurious coves aplenty prepared for sailors to drift on in.

The magical Whitsundays had been first visited by Captain Cook in 1770 when he famous ‘Indeed the whole passage is one continued safe harbour,’ on the morning of Sunday, 3 June. Its glowing seas are actually notorious for the annual Hamilton Island Race Week and naturally for vacationers travelling on boats, seaplanes, helicopters and kayaks as they discover the countless dive and swimming areas amongst the myriad of islands.

For photographers, the reef formations, vibrant underwater world and sandy shores supply a playground of alternatives to take that good tropical panorama shot. Having lived on Hayman Island for 5 years I’ve used these particular spots over and over in all seasons and might safely say you gained’t go away the Whitsundays with out your individual collection of fantastic images.

This vacation spot information is my method of sharing one in every of my favorite locations on the earth, a group of photogenic experiences and areas so that you can go to whether or not you’re staying in Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island or crusing round and sleeping below the celebrities.

The Whitsundays - Hamilton Island, Airlie Beach and Great Barrier Reef location guide

Map: Whitsunday Islands + Photography Locations

Below is a map to among the finest images areas within the Whitsundays, then proceed scrolling to learn in just a little extra element about every spot.

Whitehaven Beach photography location, Whitsundays, Australia.

Top Photography Locations within the Whitsunday Islands

#1 Hill Inlet, Whitehaven Beach

Coordinates 20°14’55.2″S 149°01’28.7″E

Located on the northern finish of probably the most well-known seashores on the earth, Hill Inlet is an ever-changing swirl of sand that guests can’t get sufficient of. On a excessive tide you’ll discover shiny blue water winding by way of the white silica sand shoreline creating what appears like a portray mom nature conjured up in a dream.

Hill Inlet is finest photographed from the air whether or not it’s in a helicopter or seaplane nevertheless there’s additionally a really useful viewing platform positioned on a hill above Tongue Bay. The platform offers a surprising view throughout the inlet permitting a vantage level from east to west and loads of area to share with different folks or discover your favorite angle.

Getting Here: The finest method to see Hill Inlet is from the air with Air Whitsunday Seaplanes or helicopter, there actually isn’t any comparability to that first sight from the sky. Otherwise, the viewing platform nonetheless provides an incredible view and you may take a day tour with Red Cat Adventures who drop you on the seashore of Tongue Bay and you may then stroll as much as the lookout. When travelling with Red Cat Adventures you’ll additionally get some seashore time to absorb the sand swirls and clear shallow waters of Hill Inlet.

Photography Tip: If you may get an aerial view it’s normally fairly fast so be prepared along with your digicam settings. Opt for a quick shutter pace so your pictures don’t blur with the motion of the airplane! When photographing from the lookout you may get actually artistic with the composition of the sand patterns so you’ll want to get a large shot then search out alternate compositions inside the panorama.

Whitehaven Beach photography location, Whitsundays, Australia. Whitehaven Beach photography location, Whitsundays, Australia.Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island, Queensland, Australia

#2 Hardy Reef

Coordinates 19°44’57.1″S 149°12’26.4″E

Just a tiny spec within the grand panorama of the Great Barrier Reef, Hardy Reef sits off the coast of Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Islands. It’s comparable compared to different reef lagoons aside from one particular little coral formation…Heart Reef. This chunk of coral sits inside Hardy Reef lagoon within the good form of a love coronary heart, you’ll be able to’t actually get extra photogenic.

When flying over Hardy Reef you’ll additionally go Bait Reef and Barb Reef providing you an opportunity to check your settings earlier than you arrive to the present stopper. Keep an eye fixed out for the large deep channel which offers a surprising distinction to the shallow turquoise colored reef sections.

Heart Reef Tip:

If you’re flying with Air Whitsunday seaplanes, the pilot will rely you down so that you’ve received time to prepare earlier than you’ll be able to take a photograph of Heart Reef. Remember to compose the shot with surrounding reef formations and in case you’ve received time, zoom in, zoom out and attempt to seize as many angles of Heart Reef and the lagoon round it as potential!

Getting Here: Again, the air is my tip for seeing this panorama in its full grandeur. Obviously a helicopter or seaplane is the best choice but when they’re out of your price range, an alternate method can be to take a day journey from Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island with Cruise Whitsundays to the reef pontoon, have a snorkel after which take a 10minute scenic flight from the pontoon. The helicopters are on stand-by ready for guests who need to see the reef from the air so it’s an important alternative to see the spectacular surroundings each underwater and over water!

Photography Tip: Be certain to examine your white stability when photographing the reef from the air. If it’s essential add just a little extra oomph to the vibrance, swap to ‘cloudy’ mode and see what the outcomes are. If you discover it’s too heat nonetheless, keep on sunny or auto and snap away on the contrasts between the deep blue ocean and shallow reef pockets.

For extra ideas see Photographing Aerials of The Great Barrier Reef.


Heart Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Whitsunday Islands, Australia

#3 Airlie Beach Coastline

Coordinates 20°16’17.3″S 148°43’28.2″E to twenty°16’22.1″S 148°41’48.0″E

Don’t make the error of basing your self in Airlie Beach and never exploring among the lovely spots the mainland has to supply. In downtown Airlie Beach wander round to the foreshore to {photograph} yachts floating within the turquoise colored water or body your panorama photos utilizing one of many many palms that line the trail.

Further alongside there’s Boat Haven and the Port of Airlie, the marina right here is basically photogenic, to not point out the Boathouse constructing with its tropical white shutters and luxurious gardens. This is definitely an important place to remain, the Mantra Boathouse Apartments supply views throughout the marina that means you’ll be able to get up and watch the solar rise over Mandalay to the east.

If you’ve received a number of hours to spare, the foreshore stroll from the Port of Airlie all the best way round to Cannonvale offers numerous scenic photograph spots. There’s the Airlie Beach Lagoon, Coral Sea Resort (simply beside is a beautiful little rocky bay), Abell Point Marina, Shingley Beach after which a boardwalk which wraps across the rocks in the direction of Cannonvale and makes for an important topic to {photograph}.

There are some new spots which have opened lately, in case you’ve received a automotive drive round to Northerlies Bar & Grill for superb views trying again in the direction of Airlie Beach. It’s additionally a really cool place to spend sundown with out of doors lounges scattered alongside the seashore, video games, scrumptious meals and stay music.

Getting Here: If you’re staying in Airlie Beach, most areas are accessible on foot. To have a bit extra of a glance across the space although, rent your self a automotive and take a drive out to Cedar Creek Falls, Conway Beach (the place tides exit for miles!), Hideaway Bay and Dingo Beach.

Photography Tip: Because the solar units behind the mountains, in case you’re planning on photographing golden hour simply bear in mind that you just’ll have to arrive just a little earlier in case you’re hoping to seize some glow. Otherwise, {photograph} the anti-sunset and seize nightfall colors as the autumn over the islands within the distance.

Where to stay in Airlie Beach? At the Mantra Boathouse Apartments, Airlie Beach, Queensland Northerlies Bar and Grill, Airlie Beach

#4 Hook Island

Coordinates 20°06’06.1″S 148°54’15.5″E

As the second largest island within the Whitsunday group, Hook Island is dotted with coral coves, rocky outcrops that jut into the clear waters beneath and marine life, loads of it! Around Hook Island you’ll discover the peaceable Nara Inlet, dwelling to aboriginal rock artwork and in addition apparently an important place for hammerhead sharks to bear their infants.

On the northern aspect of the island is Manta Ray Bay which is named among the best dive spots within the Whitsundays with underwater valleys and caves together with majestic Manta Rays and Maori Wrasse. Around the nook is Butterfly Bay which provides a relaxed cove for snorkelling and mooring your boat for a lunch cease.

Just reverse Hayman Island is one in every of Hook Island’s most spectacular options, Stonehaven. A large rock face looms above a coral crammed bay that gives a protected haven when the southerly wind is blowing and an important little spot to remain the evening in case you’re on a ship.

Getting Here: Hook Island is finest explored by boat, you’ll be able to leap on board the Thundercat with Red Cat Adventures to snorkel in among the spots talked about above, or rent a yacht and take a number of days to cruise round your self. If your arms are up for it take it a step additional and enterprise round on sea kayak with an organization like Salty Dog.

Photography Tip: The rocky outcrops and big pine tree forests round Hook Island make for an important distinction towards the ocean. It’s additionally an important location to strive the half below/half over water pictures so you’ll be able to seize the superb reef and fish life in half and the attractive rocky island surroundings within the different.

Hook Island, Whitsundays, Queensland Australia Hook Island, Whitsundays, Queensland Australia

#5 Langford Island

Coordinates 20°05’00.2″S 148°52’46.6″E

This single strip of sand is kind of the spectacular seashore, just a little bit like how most individuals think about paradise minus the palm timber. One aspect is a shallow reef lagoon crammed with sting rays and crabs whereas the opposite aspect of the sand financial institution is dwelling to turtles, vibrant reef fish (together with Nemo) and a string of coral that can have you ever fortunately snorkelling for hours. On low tide you’ll be able to truly entry Langford Island which sits on the western finish of the sand financial institution however the spotlight of Langford is the sandy stretch that provides an exquisite distinction towards the waters of the Whitsundays.

Getting Here: There are public moorings out there alongside the reef in entrance of Langford so take a day journey from Airlie Beach, rent a yacht and drive your self to this little gem. You can skip the water all collectively and leap in a seaplane or helicopter and fly over it to expertise the colors and contrasts of this final seashore vacation spot too. Actually in case you’re doing a scenic flight to the reef from Whitsunday Airport you’ll little question fly straight excessive!

Photography Tip: The reef of Langford hugs intently to the sand financial institution so it’s an important alternative to {photograph} the feel of the coral towards the sand and blue sky with a half/half underwater shot. Otherwise, in case you’ve received a number of hours to discover Langford attempt to enhance on the everyday seashore pictures by mendacity on the bottom and getting a novel perspective of the fringing waters.

Langford Island, Whitsunday Islands of Queensland, Australia Langford Island, Whitsunday Islands of Queensland, Australia

#6 Hamilton Island

Coordinates 20°20’47.1″S 148°57’27.3″E

Catseye Beach is among the most iconic scenes within the Whitsundays due to the recognition of Hamilton Island. You can fly direct to Hamilton Island from numerous main cities alongside Australia’s east coast that means it’ll solely take a couple of minutes to get from airplane to deck chair.

You can choose to remain on Hamilton in vacation properties, flats or the luxurious qualia nevertheless in case you want to base your self in Airlie Beach, it’s additionally potential to easily do a day journey with Cruise Whitsundays. Jump on board a ship round 8am and by 9am you’ll be arriving to the photogenic marina the place cafes and shops line the luxurious boardwalk.

Over the hill are the place the views await although and for photographers, you’ll want to rent a buggy so you’ll be able to cruise on as much as One Tree Hill lookout for unbelievable views over the Whitsunday Passage, Whitsunday Island and again in the direction of Hamilton Island and Catseye Beach.

While on Hamilton you’ll be able to chill on the seashore or get adventurous with a hike as much as Passage Peak for views over in the direction of Pentecost Island and past. It’s roughly 1.5hrs a method and in case you’re like me, up is quite a bit slower than down so enable for about 2.5-3hrs all up.

Getting Here: Either fly direct with Jetstar, Qantas or Virgin Australia and land at Hamilton Island Airport. Otherwise if travelling from Airlie Beach you’ll be able to take a Cruise Whitsundays vessel which depart at numerous occasions all through the day. Check the Cruise Whitsundays web site for present departure occasions for Island Escapes.

Photography Tip: Nothing beats sundown from One Tree Hill and there’s additionally a brand new cocktail bar on the prime. Don’t overlook to take your underwater digicam too, the reef at Catseye Beach is thought for it’s turtles so provides an important probability to {photograph} the marine lifetime of the Whitsundays.

Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands of Queensland, Australia is home to the Great Barrier Reef and lots of photography locations

Other photogenic spots within the Whitsundays embody…

Maher Island – positioned inside the Lindeman Island group which is discovered South of Hamilton Island, Maher is an untouched wilderness providing these crusing with one very particular function. There’s a piece of seashore which wraps round and a blowhole seems from beneath the headland…just a little difficult to clarify however one thing properly definitely worth the journey all the way down to see in good climate! Take a peek at The Sailing Yogi’s article for extra data and a video, you’ll see why it’s value visiting!

Mandalay Point – simply exterior of Airlie Beach, Mandalay offers an important vantage level to {photograph} sundown because it falls behind Airlie and the encompassing mountains. There’s additionally just a little forest chapel right here which could be a great spot for portraits.

Shute Harbour – often known as a sailor’s haven, Shute Harbour is blessed with the encompassing surroundings of Conway National Park contrasting towards the colorful water which makes for an attractive spot to {photograph}. From Shute Harbour Lion’s Lookout you’ll be able to see throughout to Long Island and there’s additionally Hamilton, Whitsunday and the Molle Islands within the distance.

Shute Harbour, Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia Airlie Beach foreshore in the Whitsundays, Queensland, Australia

Where to Stay in Airlie Beach?

I’ve stayed in fairly numerous motels in Airlie Beach and I can safely say these are my two favourites attributable to their location, consolation and unbelievable views!

Mantra Boathouse Apartments

You’ll discover this magnificence positioned proper on the Port of Airlie, offering these island vibes earlier than you even go away the mainland! The flats are tremendous stylish and have an ethereal, tropical really feel to them with white wood shutters main out to views of palms and turquoise coral seas.

The flats are available 1, 2 and three bed room configurations making them good for households or in case you’re travelling with mates. There’s totally outfitted with kitchens, a laundry and spacious balcony, good for a morning espresso whereas watching the colors change over the surroundings proper in entrance of your room.

At the Mantra Boathouse Apartments there’s a really splash worthy swimming pool, full-sized tennis court docket and downstairs you’ll discover the Coffee Club and Denman’s Cellars amongst different eating places. There’s additionally clothes boutiques and the inspirational Above and Below Photography Gallery by native photographer Brooke Miles.

To examine charges and ebook a room on the Boathouse Apartments click on right here.

Where to stay in Airlie Beach? At the Mantra Boathouse Apartments, Airlie Beach, Queensland Where to stay in Airlie Beach? At the Mantra Boathouse Apartments, Airlie Beach, Queensland

Peninsula Airlie Beach

Smack bang on the waterfront at Shingley Bay and Abel Point Marina, the Peninsula Airlie Beach flats are a luxurious selection that don’t disappoint in terms of consolation. Stylish interiors mix fantastically with the colourful waters of Pioneer Bay that are seen from the kitchen, lounge, bedrooms and expansive balcony.

With a sense of full privateness, like your individual little dwelling away from dwelling, the Peninsula Apartments supply an opportunity to be near all of the facilities of Airlie Beach, however return to a quiet nook on the finish of the day.

You can go for a 1, 2 or 3 bed room condominium relying on how many individuals you’re travelling with or in case you’re on the town for a special day, the penthouse may take your fancy. There’s a landscaped pool in case you’re eager for a dip and the flats are positioned proper beside the coastal pathway so that you’re in a position to stroll into Airlie Beach simply previous some lovely scenic spots.

To examine charges and ebook a room on the Peninsula Airlie Beach click on right here.

Where to stay in Airlie Beach? The Peninsula Airlie Beach Apartments, Queensland Where to stay in Airlie Beach? The Peninsula Airlie Beach Apartments, Queensland

When to Visit the Whitsundays?

Well, to be trustworthy you’ll be able to go to yr spherical and expertise lovely situations for images, all of it depends upon how properly you deal with humidity. The summer season months from November to March might be fairly humid which implies the prospect of rain is just a little greater. Otherwise, winter within the Whitsundays is prime time for clear skies, calm seas and there’s additionally no nasty stingers within the water that means you’ll be able to swim stinger go well with free…hooray! It is suggested to at all times take precautions simply incase the stingers are hanging round so it may be value popping on a stinger go well with for solar safety if nothing else.

Hamilton Island Race Week and Airlie Beach Race Week happen in August making it a good time to {photograph} some mega yachts that compete in challenges across the islands and thru the Whitsunday Passage. Accommodation throughout this era does ebook out rapidly although so you’ll want to plan upfront.

To {photograph} aerials of the Great Barrier Reef and particularly Heart Reef and Whitehaven Beach, it’s finest to time your go to for a mid-level tide round 11am to be able to actually seize the robust patterns of the sand and reef formations. It’s finest to keep away from low tide as coral could also be above the floor which doesn’t look nice from the air, whereas an enormous excessive tide may put an excessive amount of water between the floor and the reef. You can ask any of the pilots they usually’ll little question shed just a little gentle on what gentle can be finest based mostly on the situations however in any other case, for aerial imagery, late morning tends to work finest to keep away from any nasty glare on the water floor.

My prime picks for timings can be anyplace between May – July, then September – November to be able to profit from secure situations earlier than summer season arrives.

Whitsunday Lookout, Hayman Island

For extra data on all there’s to see and do within the Whitsunday Islands and surrounding area, pop on over to the Tourism Whitsundays web site for some inspiration!

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