The Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef

Fact File for The Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef

The Whitsunday Islands lie on the North East Coast of Australia, just a one and a half-hour flight north of Brisbane. With sweeping white bays, mountainous islands and beautiful coral reefs, this is the jewel in the crown of Australia. Seventy-four islands lie in waters protected from the ocean by the outer Great Barrier Reef.

COORDINATES: 18º00S, 146º50E

LANGUAGE: English

REGION'S CAPITAL: Brisbane (Queensland)

WEATHER: Perfect year-round weather with good winds for sailing. From March to September the wind is generally SE-E while in October through February it blows more NE. December-March is the wet season; however, it does not see as much rain as one could expect.

BEST TIME TO CHARTER: June-September

AIRPORTS: Hamilton Island Airport (HTI) has flights to and from Brisbane (BNE).

TIME: UTC+10

CURRENCY: Australian Dollar (AUD). Major credit cards are accepted but use may be restricted in small towns and outback areas. ATMs are found in all major cities and towns.

ELECTRICITY: 220/240V, 50 Hz. Three-pin plugs are in use, however sockets are different from those found in most countries and an adaptor socket may be needed.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS:

1 Jan - New Year's Day
26 Jan - Australia Day
Mar/Apr - Good Friday, Holy Saturday, Easter Monday
25 Apr - ANZAC Day
2nd Mon in Jun - Queen's Birthday Celebrations
25 Dec - Christmas Day
26 Dec - Boxing Day

MAIN PORTS AND MARINAS: Abell Point Marina in Airlie Beach, Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Bowen Marina

RECOMMENDED BEACHES: Whitsunday Islands are home to some of the world's best beaches, including the prized and praised Whitehaven Beach along Whitsunday Island. Upon arrival, it becomes very clear why it is Australia's most photographed beach.

CULTURAL: A largely informal ambiance prevails and shaking hands is the customary greeting. Casual wear is worn everywhere except in exclusive restaurants, social gatherings and important business meetings. It is prohibited to smoke in most restaurants.

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