If you want to escape from the modern world, get out in nature, and see some of the most stunning scenery in the world, then you should visit the Whitsundays. There are about 150 islands between Queensland in Australia and the Great Barrier Reef that make up the Whitsundays. Many of these islands are uninhabited and all of them offer stunning nature, adventurous activities, and peace and quiet.

Not everyone goes to these islands, so you might have trouble finding information on the best places in the Whitsundays to stay. There are several different islands that offer accommodation at every price point. So, if you find the right island, you’ll be able to have a great stay without breaking the bank. And this Whitsundays neighborhood guide will help you do just that.

Where to Stay in The Whitsundays

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in The Whitsundays.

Best Airbnb in The Whitsundays: Havana Retreat

This luxury studio is one of the coolest places to stay in the Whitsundays. It’s close to the beach and to the Boardwalk and offers Wi-Fi, free bikes, and its own BBQ area in a completely private space. Suitable for 2 guests, the apartment includes a private bathroom and elegant, relaxing furnishings.

Best Hotel in The Whitsundays: Frangipani 103

This hotel in the Whitsundays offers comfortable apartments, a garden, and a free shuttle service. There are lots of restaurants nearby, so you’ll never go hungry, and the apartments are fully equipped with everything you’ll need during your stay.

Best Luxury Hotel in The Whitsundays: Qualia

This hotel is a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in the Whitsundays with kids. It’s just 10 minutes from the airport and offers a swimming pool, beauty center, dry cleaning service, and body treatments. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and offer everything you’ll need for a short or long stay.

The Whitsundays Neighborhood Guide

FIRST TIME IN OAHU
Airlie Beach Whitsundays
FIRST TIME IN OAHU

Airlie Beach

Airlie beach offers easy access to all the islands and is a great beach in its own right as well. This makes it a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in the Whitsundays for your first time.

ON A BUDGET
Long Island Whitsundays
ON A BUDGET

Long Island

Long Island is a great choice if you’re trying to decide where to stay in the Whitsundays on a budget. It’s fairly easy to get to by boat and is a mostly deserted island with lots of opportunities for outdoor and nature activities.

FOR FAMILIES
Hamilton Island Whitsundays
FOR FAMILIES

Hamilton Island

Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in the Whitsundays for nightlife, shopping, or easy access to modern amenities and activities, this is the island to stay on.

If you’re wondering where to stay in Australia, why not make it a bit unique and choose the Whitsunday’s? Each island in the Whitsundays offers a staggering mix of natural beauty and activities. So, when you’re looking for the coolest places to stay in the Whitsundays, it really depends on what you want to see and do while you’re on holiday. And, of course, it depends on your budget, because there are a range of Whitsunday accommodation options at every price point.

Airlie Beach is one of the most popular spots for tourists and for good reason. This mainland area offers the best of both worlds: easy access to the island and all the conveniences of the mainland. It’s also got a bit of a reputation for having a party atmosphere, so it’s a good choice if you’re trying to decide where to stay in the Whitsundays for nightlife!

If you’re trying to decide where to stay in the Whitsundays on a budget, then Long Island is the best choice. There aren’t as many facilities on this island, but it gives you access to beautiful beaches and nature experiences. And if you want a day of shopping, then you can always hop to another island and return to your cheaper accommodation at night.

Hamilton Island is the most popular destination for tourists and a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in the Whitsundays with kids. It’s busy and crowded and offers a range of facilities from shopping areas to nature experiences.

What is the One Item Every Traveller NEEDS???

There is one item every traveller NEEDS. Some travellers don’t even know they need it, but those travellers need it more than anyone.

What is this forgotten essential of the backpacker-life? SPOILERS! Guess you’ll just have to click the button to find out. 😉

Find Out What It Is!

The Whitsundays’ 3 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

No matter where you stay in the Whitsundays, you’ll be surrounded by stunning beaches and rainforest and lots of opportunities for activities. All you need to do, is choose between the following islands based on your preferences!

#1 Airlie Beach – Where to Stay in The Whitsundays First Time

Airlie Beach offers great accommodation and easy access to all the islands and is a great beach in its own right as well. This makes it a great choice when you’re deciding where to stay in the Whitsundays for your first time. You’ll find incredible snorkeling in this area, as it’s right at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, as well as places to stay at every budget point.

Airlie Beach Whitsundays

Over the years, Airlie Beach has garnered a reputation as a bit of a party destination. But lately, it’s been growing up and adopting a more sophisticated approach and this shows in both the restaurants and the hotels nearby. And this is also the best neighborhood to stay in the Whitsundays for activities as there’s no end to the things you can do there while you’re on holiday.

Best Airbnb in Airlie Beach: The Deck

Only 300 meters from the main street, this apartment is in the best neighborhood to stay in the Whitsundays. It offers stunning views over the marina and offers a private place for you to enjoy your vacation. The studio apartment includes an ensuite and self-contained kitchenette as well as an outside BBQ you can use!

Best Hostel in Airlie Beach: Airlie Beach Magnums

This hostel in the Whitsundays offers proximity to the beach and local restaurants and shops. The hostel is set in a beautiful tropical garden and offers luggage storage, private single and double rooms as well as dorms, and a fully equipped shared kitchen. They also offer a tour desk where you can book a range of trips and activities.

Best Hotel in Airlie Beach: Colonial Palms Motor Inn

This hotel is in the best neighborhood in the Whitsundays to stay in if you want to be close to the beach and local restaurants and activities. The rooms are comfortable and come in a range of sizes and the hotel offers a kids’ pool, room service, outdoor pool, and a gym. Each room has a kitchenette and mini bar and there’s an on site restaurant and lounge bar in the hotel too.

Things to See and Do in Airlie Beach

  • Go snorkeling!
  • Book day trips to the islands to check out their charms.
  • Head up towards Mount Rooper to take in the incredible views of the Whitsunday Passage.
  • If you have the guts, make sure you go skydiving in this area for amazing views over the ocean.
  • Spend the days on the beach, relaxing and doing water sports.
  • Hike through the coastal rainforest and look for hidden beaches.
Is This the Best Travel Pack EVER???

We’ve tested countless packs over the years, and now we’ve found our absolute favourite: the nomad-approved Nomatic Travel Bag.

Want more deetz on why we love it so damn much? Then read our comprehensive review for the inside scoop!

Learn More Now!

#2 Long Island – Where to Stay in The Whitsundays on a Budget

Long Island is a great choice if you’re trying to decide where to stay in the Whitsundays on a budget. It’s fairly easy to get to by boat and is a mostly deserted island with lots of opportunities for outdoor and nature activities.

This isn’t the type of tropical island vacation destination where you’ll find lots of resort hotels. Instead, you’ll find budget Whitsunday accommodation options like camping as well as a couple of mid-budget and resort hotels.

Long Island Whitsundays

This probably isn’t one of the best areas to stay in the Whitsundays if you’re traveling with kids who need to be entertained. This island offers a more rustic experience, with untouched natural landscapes and lots of cheap or free activities like hiking and bushwalks.

Best Airbnb in Long Island: Oceanfront Villa

This is one of the best places to stay in the Whitsundays if you want a relaxing, luxurious experience. This villa offers beach, mountain, and rainforest views with large windows, attached bathrooms, and private balconies. There’s also a restaurant on site that uses the area’s local delicacies as inspiration, so you definitely won’t go hungry while you’re staying there!

Best Hotel in Long Island: Elysian Retreat

This all-inclusive retreat is in the best area in the Whitsundays to stay in if you want to kick back and relax. It offers a swimming pool, dry cleaning service, and is a short drive from the airport. The rooms are comfortable and will suit the needs of any traveler.

Best Luxury Hotel in Long Island: Palm Bay Resorts

This hotel is in one of the best areas to stay in the Whitsundays for a truly relaxed tropical island experience. It offers a private beach, laundry facilities, outdoor pool, and a fitness center as well as an onsite bar. The rooms are comfortable and offer everything you’ll need during your stay.

Things to See and Do in Long Island

  • Grab some equipment from your hotel and try some local water sports like paddle-boarding, kayaking or snorkeling.
  • Take a Heli-tour of one of the other islands!
  • Head out to try some of the island’s incredible walking tracks and look out for wildlife like kangaroos and goannas.
  • Check out the activities your hotel offers, you’ll find everything from sailing to parasailing.
  • Try out the local mini golf course.
  • Make sure you bring your own food or be prepared to rely almost exclusively on your hotel’s restaurant.

#3 Hamilton Island – Best Neighborhood in The Whitsundays for Families

Whether you’re trying to decide where to stay in the Whitsundays for nightlife, shopping, or easy access to modern amenities and activities, this is the island to stay on. Hamilton Island is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the Whitsundays. It’s the most developed and busiest island as well, so don’t expect a relaxed beach getaway when you choose to stay there!

Hamilton Island Whitsundays

If you like a drag and drop holiday where you have everything you could ever need or want at your fingertips, then this is where you’ll get it. There’s a wide range of Whitsundays accommodation options at every budget point on the island as well, so you don’t have to be rich to stay there. And despite all the development, there are still plenty of nature areas on the island, so you can enjoy some of the popular nature experiences while you’re there.

Best Airbnb in Hamilton Island: 3 B/R Villa

Suitable for up to 7 guests, this is a great choice if you’re deciding where to stay in the Whitsundays for families. It’s located in the hills overlooking the marina and yacht club and also has views over the golf course. The apartment includes a deck where you can have a meal and a washer dryer as well as access to the complex’s pool.

Best Hotel in Hamilton Island: Palm Bungalows

Located in one of the Whitsundays’ best neighborhoods, this hotel offers convenience at a reasonable price. The rooms are modern and comfortable and have garden views, private balconies, and kitchenettes. A delicious free breakfast is offered every morning at the hotel and there are lots of cafes and restaurants nearby too.

Best Luxury Hotel in Hamilton Island: Beach Club

This hotel in the Whitsundays offers the perfect combination of luxury and convenience. It’s on the beachfront and close to local restaurants and attractions. The hotel has a palm-edged infinity pool, on site bar and restaurant, tropical gardens, a beauty center, and a free shuttle service. And each room has a balcony with beautiful views and all the usual luxuries and amenities.

Things to See and Do in Hamilton Island

  • Hire a golf buggy to explore the island.
  • Play a round at the world-class gold club on the island.
  • Indulge your need for luxury at the yacht club.
  • Take the kids out for a day of fun at the go-kart circuit or hire quad bikes to get around.
  • Go snorkeling offshore and marvel at the colorful and surprisingly friendly fish in the area.
  • Hire a kayak or jet skis and have some adrenalin pumping water fun!
  • Take a hike through the rainforest area.
  • Take trips out from Hamilton Island to hotspots like the Great Barrier Reef or Whitehaven Beach.
The Future of the SIM Card is HERE!

A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!

An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected. It’s just that easy.

Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.

Buy an eSIM!

FAQ about Finding a Place to Stay in Whitsundays

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Whitsundays and where to stay.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for The Whitsundays

A banner creative for World Nomads travel insurance

It’s good to get lost sometimes, but it’s also good not to get too lost. There are people that want you home in one piece.

There’s one travel insurance provider The Broke Backpacker trusts for all his wildest shenanigans… World Nomads!

Click the button below to get a quote on your insurance or read our in-depth review of World Nomads’ coverage. And then… let the shenanigans begin. 😉

Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in The Whitsundays

Whether you’re looking for a hotel or a hostel in the Whitsundays, with a bit of hunting around, you’ll be able to find your dream accommodation during your trip. And then you can get on with enjoy the stunning nature and exciting activities in this part of the world. And when you go home, no one will believe you when you tell them just how beautiful and perfect it all was.

Do you own an awesome hostel, hotel or apartment? Want to be featured in our list? Email [email protected] to find out how.


Thanks for reading – that was fun! 😀

We bring you epic FREE content!
Find out how YOU can help support us.

We’re a big site with a big team and this job isn’t always easy. But we do it because we love it – we love providing epic and free content. We love the knowledge that our content keeps you adventuring. We don’t ask for money, but if you’d like to find out how you can help the site in more organic ways, click the button below.
Thank you for your support 🙂


Bye for now, but not forever!

If you want MORE top-tier Broke Backpacker content like this, then sign up for our weekly newsletter below to get the latest and greatest!










    And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!