Green, blue, gold, red, yellow, turquoise ... these are just some of the vibrant colours you'll enjoy in the sandy beaches, blue waters, coral reefs, lush rainforests and incredible resorts that make up the Whitsunday region on the tropical coast of Queensland.

If you haven't heard of these 74 islands, or you hadn't considered it in your itinerary then start thinking again. The Whitsundays are a must during your visit to Queensland.

These islands are located right in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef so that means there are plenty of sailing, snorkelling, diving, bush walking, sun bathing and entertainment options to keep you busy and deliriously happy.

So where do you start? Well let us outline some of the highlights for you.


Most visitors use Airlie Beach as the gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. For a small town it's a pretty happening place with restaurants, bars and cafes spilling out action onto the main drag; Shute Harbour Road.

Airlie Beach is well serviced by transport including bus (Greyhound and Premier Motor Service) and air (bus connections from Mackay) so getting here is no trouble. Plus once you arrive there are a plethora of activities and fun to be had and options for getting out into the Whitsundays. You could take one of the ferries or book into a sailing trip, go diving, sky diving or even stay on one of the beautiful islands.

VIP Backpackers also has a number of accommodation options in Airlie Beach, the Whitsundays and even Mackay. There are also plenty of events on in the region throughout the year from sailing regattas to food and lifestyle shows. See our "what's on" list for the next three months of festivities.

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South Molle Island is one of the gems of the Whitsunday's 74 islands. In fact if you only got to one place off shore this should be it.

South Molle is part of the Molle Island group that includes North, Mid and South - you can even walk between them at low tide.

The great thing about South Molle is it has rainforest, reefs, bays and even grasslands to explore and revel in. You'll even find bird life, 16km of walking tracks and plenty of underwater life to enjoy with a snorkel and fins.

And what's even more fantastic is that VIP Backpackers offers accommodation on South Molle through the Adventure Island resort where you can make use of the paddle skis, beach volleyball, the pool, archery, nightly entertainment, tennis courts and tons of sailing and boat trips out to the reef.

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Every land and sea based activity you can think or dream about is offered in the Whitsundays from diving to sailing to snorkelling to paddle boarding or sky diving.

If these kinds of activities interest you then VIP Backpackers has you covered. VIP Backpackers offers a range of tours and activities for exploring the Whitsunday Islands. These range from day trips to overnight or multi day packages. We've listed a range of these in our tours and packages section.

Koala's Pride of Airlie sailing package includes two resort style nights on Koala's South Molle Adventure Island and is one of the best opportunities for you to both see the Whitsundays by day and night.

The package includes: meals and afternoon teas, fresh linen, nightly entertainment, tennis, golf, non-motorised watercraft, bushwalks, free welcome champagne, spacious decks, luxury air conditioned rsort accommodation, hot showers, all meals, morning and afternoon teas, tennis, golf, entertainment and watersports, free nightly entertainment.

RELAX - Sunbathe & unwind on deck or on the magnificent Whitehaven Beach. Enjoy great food and free entertainment! EXPLORE -   Island bushwalks and see spectacular views and sunsets SNORKEL - The Coral Reefs of Langford, Balihi, Blue Pearl Bay, or Dumbell SAIL - Across the Whitsunday Passage, be as involved in the sailing as you like!

Trips depart: Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 3pm & return 2pm.

Click here for details and to book this tour.

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Mackay and the Whitsundays did suffer some damage from the summer of natural disasters in early 2011. But the damage, or subsequent risk of visiting, wasn't as bad as perhaps tourists were led to believe.

The region is now rebounding strongly and is well and truly open for business and waiting for your visit. In fact your visit is just what the Whitsundays needs to help put it back on the visitor's map.

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