Queensland’s jewel is noted for posh pampering, exclusive boating and beautiful beaches.
Overview: This island archipelago off the coast of Queensland is a playland for the rich and famous, including you. Its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef make it ideal for boat enthusiasts and divers. The hub is Hamilton Island, run like one big happy town, with the marina as its high street.
Crowd: This is the self-contained luxury-condo crowd, practised at the art of driving the golf cart.
Agenda: Hopping on and off boats is the order of the day—everything from tall ships to yachts. You can explore the region by raft or jet ski or sail around all 74 Whitsunday islands, skippering yourself or chartering a crew. A trip to the Great Barrier Reef is a no-brainer. Head to the Reefworld platform at Hardy Reef to snorkel with 1,500 species of fish and about 400 types of coral. You can even spend the night.
Essential: An afternoon spread out on the fine white silica sand of world-famous, seven-kilometre-long Whitehaven Beach is time well spent.
Timing: Prime time is October through May, but keep in mind that December and January can get very busy. June through September are the best months for saiilng and whale-watching.