Whitsundays Island is a group of 74 islands that lie off the coast of Queensland, Australia and form part of the Great Barrier Reef. The islands are one of the most popular Australian tourist destinations. The northernmost of the islands are situated off the coast by the town of Bowen while the southernmost islands are off the coast by Proserpine.
The vast majority of islands are designated national parks and major attractions include access to coral reefs for snorkeling and diving, pristine beaches, especially Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island and clear aquamarine warm waters. They are well connected by two major airports on Hamilton Island and the mainland town of Proserpine. Over half a million visitors come to the Whitsundays each year.
History of Whitsundays Island
Before tourism could make money, the Whitsundays were used for logging. Aboriginal people had traditionally used the trees here for timber, which might account for references in Captain Cook’s diary about grasslands when he first came here.
White settlers did the same after the Aboriginal population had dwindled away through European diseases and bloodshed. Nowadays, there is no visible trace of logging ever having happened in the Whitsundays (except for the old dam that was used by the sawmill on Sawmill Creek in Cid Harbour Whitsunday Island), although on Hook there are two clues of previous industry.
One is that at the Nara inlet there are Aboriginal cave paintings. This can be accessed by boat, either on a private charter (bareboating) or on one of the backpacker sailing yachts who sometimes stop in. The second is that on Hook Island(and on some other islands) you may hear bleating in the forest. Goats were introduced by the colonialists so that shipwreck survivors could find food and later so that loggers could have something to hunt in the event that food ran out.