|Coordinates||20°18′S 148°56′E / 20.300°S 148.933°E|
|Major islands||Hamilton Island|
|Area||282.82 km2 (109.20 sq mi)|
|Largest settlement||Hamilton Island (pop. 1350)|
|Pop. density||5.551/km2 (14.377/sq mi)|
The Whitsunday Islands are 74 continental islands of various sizes off the central coast of Queensland, Australia, 900 kilometres (560 miles) north of Brisbane. The northernmost of the islands are off the coast by the town of Bowen, while the southernmost islands are off the coast by Proserpine. The island group is centred on Whitsunday Island, while the commercial centre is Hamilton Island. The traditional owners of the area are the Ngaro people and the Gia people, whose Juru people has the only legally recognised native title in the Whitsunday Region.
The islands are within the locality of Whitsundays and the local government Whitsunday Region. In 2009, as part of the Q150 celebrations, the Whitsunday Islands became one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for their role as a natural attraction.
On Sunday 3 June 1770, (the day Whitsun—Pentecost was celebrated on the Christian calendar) Captain James Cook sailed his ship H.M.B. Endeavour, through a broad expanse of islands which provided an unimpeded passage to the north. Cook named the passage "Whitsundays' Passage". Cook's recorded times and dates are often questioned. Time quoted is simply local time (calculated at Noon), the Date recorded is a little more confusing. Cook recorded Marine Time (PM comes before AM or GMT+12 hours). Considering the International Date Line, and knowing today's date on the East Coast of Australia is calculated at GMT+10 - Cook's recorded date is fortuitously correct.
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 travellers 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.
The Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail is a mix of seaways and short walks, crossing South Molle, Hook and Whitsunday islands. 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.
The Ngaro Whitsundays Underwater Art Trail  is a series on sculptures of Turtle, Manta ray, Maori wrasse, Coral polyp and a traditional piece named Bywa. They are located in shallow water depths assessable for snorkelling.
There are a total of 74 islands and islets among all the groups in the Whitsundays.
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.
The best known island in the Lindeman group is its namesake Lindeman Island (20°26′44″S 149°02′33″E / 20.4456°S 149.0425°E). However the largest island in the group is Shaw Island (20°29′12″S 149°04′32″E / 20.4867°S 149.0756°E).
The most notable islands in the Molle group are Daydream Island (formerly West Molle Island), Long Island and South Molle Island.
Some of the islands in the Northern group are Armit, Gloucester and Saddleback.
Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island
Sunset over mainland from summit of South Molle Island's Mount Jeffreys
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.
|Island||Capital||Adjacent islets and features||Area (km²)||Population|
|Lindeman Islands||Lindeman Island||30.34||10|
|Little Lindeman Island||0.49||0|
|Maher Island||Jesus Point||0.94||0|
|Other||Ann Island, Cole Island||0.222||0|
|Seaforth Island||North Beach||0.265||0|
|Shaw Island||Neck Bay, Burning Point||15.62||0|
|Thomas Island||Thomas Bay, Dead Dog Point||2.23||0|
|Molle Islands||South Molle Island||20.17||150|
|Daydream Island||Coral Beach, Lovers Beach, Mermaids Beach, Sunset Beach||0.23||30|
|Long Island||Base Point, Fire Point, Happy Bay, Paradise Bay, Pelican Beach, Peppers Palm Bay, Sandy Bay, Spit Point||10.6||80|
|Mid Molle Island||0.13||0|
|North Molle Island||2.643||0|
|Other||Gunn Island, Repair Island, Shute Island, Tancerd Island||0.588||0|
|South Molle Island||Bauer Bay||4.66||40|
|Northern Group||Gloucester Island||33.56||1|
|Double Cone Island||0.4||0|
|Manta Ray Island||0.32||0|
|The Whitsunday Group||Hamilton Island||198.75||1409|
|Border Island||Cateran Bay||3.066||0|
|Cid Island||Bench Point, Gilling Point||2.95||0|
|Hamilton Island||Crab Bay, South Head, Driftwood Bay, Coral Cove, Escape Beach, Broken Point, Sunrise Bay, Hideaway Bay, Catseye Bay, Pebble Beach, Airport Beach||7.98||1350|
|Hayman Island||Dolphin Point, Tower Point, Rescue Beach, Groper Point, Arkhurst Point, Blue Pearl Bay, Royal Hayman Hotel||3.78||50|
|Other||Buddibuddi Island, Yuindalla Island, Petrel Island, Arkhurst Island, Plum Pudding Island||0.904||0|
- List of islands of Australia
- Regions of Queensland
- Tourism in Australia
- Whitsunday Islands National Park
- ^ "Perfectly places: The Whitsundays: The place to live". Whitsunday Regional Council. p. 7. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
- ^ Prior on Behalf of the Juru (Cape Upstart) People v The State of Queensland (No.2)  FCA 819 (26 July 2011), Federal Court (Australia).
- ^ "Queensland Globe". State of Queensland. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
- ^ 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.
- ^ "Trove - Archived webpage".
- ^ Andrew Bain (21 November 2009). "The alternative Whitsunday". Brisbane Times. Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 1 February 2010.
- ^ Science, jurisdiction=Queensland; sector=government; corporateName=Department of Environment and (19 November 2009). "Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail". Department of Environment and Science. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
- ^ "Whitsunday Ngaro Sea Trail". Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing. 25 March 2011. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- ^ "Ngaro Whitsunday Underwater Art Trail". tourismwhitsundays.com.au.
- ^ "Lindemann Island – island in the Mackay Region (entry 19445)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
- ^ "Shaw Island – island in the Mackay Region (entry 30595)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 31 August 2021.