If you are looking for the best island to stay on then there are only a few options.
All of these islands have beautiful resorts with stunning views though there are two islands that really stand out from the rest Hamilton Island which is the most well known and Hayman Island which prides itself on being ‘exclusive’.
Hamilton Island is going to be a better choice for families and people who like to socialise on holiday. Hamilton has lots of activities including ten pin bowling, golf and watersports.
Hamilton Island also has the luxury of its own airport which means there is no need for a transfer after your flight.
Hayman Island is much more private and is designed for people who work hard and like to really relax on holiday. Hayman Island is all about being served cocktails by the pool in the day and eating fine food at night.
Getting to Hayman Island is only achieved by air or sea. Ferry and helicopter transfers leave from both Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island.
All of the island resorts have beautiful beaches where you can swim around, sail a Hobie Cat or just relax under an umbrella. The best beach in The Whitsundays is of course Whitehaven Beach, which can be reached as part of a tour from any of the island resorts.
Hamilton Island has no snorkelling worth mentioning but Hayman Island is actually home to one of the best snorkelling locations in The Whitsundays. Blue Pearl Bay is a beautiful bay with lots of coral and fish that is located on the northwestern side of Hayman Island.
The islands water sports team will drive you around from the resort or if you like, you can take the 30 min bushwalk over to the bay. Also within easy reach is Bali Hai and Langford Island which offer more snorkelling opportunities.
Daydream Island has a small bay called Lovers Cove which in good conditions can be a pretty good snorkel. It will never compare to Blue Pearl Bay though.
Long Island doesn’t have anything worth snorkelling when compared to the other islands.
Current rates for a one night stay in a standard room as of 15/03/2021.
Prices are for a moderate room, mostly without a sea view. Sea view rooms can easily be double these prices.
Daydream Island – $356
Hamilton Island – $390
Hayman Island – $918
Long Island – $289
It’s really important to keep your eye open for specials, sometimes they can be up to 50% off.
Ferry transfers to all island except Hamilton Island will be roughly $70 per person each way. If you fly into Airlie Beach then you will need transfers to Hamilton Island.
If you are staying on Hamilton Island, then it will likely be cheaper and easier to fly directly there even though the flight prices tend to be slightly higher than the Airlie Beach airport.
If the resort thing is not your style and you would prefer to camp then we have some good news for you. There are many campsites scattered around The Whitsundays, and it’s cheap. Visit the National Parks website to see a full list of locations and permit prices.
Top 3 campsites
- South Whitehaven Beach
- Crayfish Beach
- Steens Beach
There are lots of hiking trails through The Whitsundays and many are easily accessible. On Hamilton Island, there are a few trails that head up to the mountainous peaks and provide breathtaking scenery.
Hayman Island also has a network of walking trails that flow over the top of the island.
Long Island also has quite a lot of walking trails to explore.
Daydream has no trails.
If you are taking the kids on holiday then head to Hamilton Island, if you are not taking the kids and it falls in your budget, then Hayman is the best.
Whatever you choose, just make sure you check the weather first. There is nothing like arriving at a beautiful tropical holiday and having it rain until the day after you leave.