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What’s new in the Whitsundays for families?

A trip to the sunny Whitsundays is a yearly tradition for a lot of east coast families, but trust us, it’s worth travelling across the country to dip your toes in the pristine Great Barrier Reef waters. With so much competition on the accommodation front, properties in the Whitsundays are always working to one up each other. These are the latest crop of Whitsundays hotels and resorts to open. 

Daydream Island, Whitsundays

After a multi-million dollar refurb project, Daydream Island is set to re-open this month. Families have been staying at Daydream for years, but the revamped property brings a whole new level of luxury.

Unbelievably blue waters surrounding Daydream Island. Photo: Daydream Island

Guests will have 277 rooms to choose from, three new restaurants, a swim-up-bar, and my personal favourite, a gin bar. I’m already packing my bags.
Daydream Island’s Kids Club has an extensive range of activities and learning experiences. They’ll enjoy everything from kite-making and scavenger hunts to coral collecting and learning about wildlife on guided rainforest walks.

Kids will love the new Daydream Island. Photo: Daydream Island

Price range – $$

Location – From Hamilton Island Airport, it’s a 30-minute ferry ride to Daydream Island. If you’re flying into Prosperine Airport, drive 40km to the Port of Airlie and jump on a 30-minute ferry. 


Hayman Island Resort by InterContinental

Heading to the Whitsundays after July? Treat yourself to a stay at one of Australia’s most well-known Whitsundays resorts.

Hayman Island’s huge resort pool. Photo: Hayman Island Resort

The property will have three separate accommodation wings, with a range of suites and guest rooms to choose from. Some of the rooms even have private plunge pools. Each wing has multi-bedroom suites for larger families, and the Pool Wing has an accessible one bedroom pool suite for those travelling with wheelchairs.

Take a dip in your private plunge pool. Photo: Hayman Island Resort

Price Range – $$

Location – The easiest way to get to Hayman Island is by plane from Prosperine Airport. The flight takes around 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, you can charter a yacht at a much higher cost.


Freedom Shores, Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach’s newest boutique resort has been welcoming families since opening in October last year.

Whitsundays hotels

Golden sand and secluded beaches at Freedom Shore. Photo: Freedom Shores

Located in a picturesque hidden valley, the resort features nine boat-shaped bungalows. These unique cabins are crafted from seafaring vessels with timber decking and ocean views to make you feel as if you’re out on the water – minus the constant rocking.

Whitsundays hotels

No seas sickness on these boats. Photo: Freedom Shores

Nearby, families will find great restaurants, pristine beaches and even props sourced from the set of Pirates of the Caribbean.

Price range – $$

Location – 30 minutes drive from Prosperine (Whitsunday Coast) Airport.


Camp Island, Bowen

Located three kilometres off the coast of Abott Bay, Camp Island is the second most northerly island in the Whitsundays. It’s also one of the most exclusive, allowing just 14 guests at a time. Stay in the large Guest Lodge or opt for a suite, nestled a few metres from the ocean.

Whitsundays hotels

Camp Island guests houses. Photo: Camp Island

The hosts, John and Lyn, will help you craft an itinerary to suit your travel style. Fill your days with snorkelling, hiking, jet skiing and fishing adventures or relax at the spa and laze by the pool.

Jet skiing around Camp Island in the Northern Whitsundays. Photo: Camp Island

Camp Island opened in late 2018 and has been almost fully booked ever since. It pays to plan ahead with this one.

Price range – $$$

Location  – 30 minutes by helicopter from Hamilton Island and Proserpine, or 45 minutes from Townsville airport. Alternatively, a 90 minute private bus transfer can be organised from Proserpine or Townsville airports to Elliot River where you will be transferred by one of the resort’s boats to the Island.


The best Whitsundays trips for kids

Beginner’s guide to the Whitsundays

Great Barrier Reef islands you can camp on

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