Long Island

A lovely and more budget-conscious island within the Great Barrier Reef.
One of the first and easiest-to-recommend ports of call for those visiting the Whitsundays region who are also short on time is Long Island – as the island of the group situated closest to the mainland, it’s both easy to reach and generally more reasonably-priced than some of the other more developed alternatives. Long Island offers a blend of scenery and relaxation along with a relatively compact layout that makes enjoying its beauty a breeze; the island derives its name from its unusually thin and narrow shape with the majority of its surface covered by National Park.
About Long Island

Long Island’s proximity to the shore of Airlie Beach means that it takes a mere 20 minutes’ ride via one of the available regularly-scheduled ferries from the nearby Shute Harbour, and upon arrival you’ll instantly get a sense of its pretty, greenery-draped offerings.

 

Long Island offers plenty of opportunities for exploration both on and off shore, and it’s an island that’s far more suited for those looking for a “relaxed getaway” as opposed to an activity-laden adventure hub. Possessing a generally tranquil atmosphere and a typically smaller number of guests to some of the more robust islands, Long Island is thus an ideal choice for visitors wanting to chill out and take things at their own pace.

The island’s walking and hiking opportunities are extensive; there’s around 13 kilometres of bushwalking track on offer here, and during the various leisurely strolls native wildlife such as kangaroos and goannas can be encountered. Each of the tracks lead to a variety of fairly secluded spots, including lovely beaches that epitomise the term “natural escape”.

Its this escapist nature that gives the island its overall appeal; don’t expect any of the glitz and glamour of the likes of Hamilton Island here as this is definitely not what Long Island is about – it’s much more of a back-to-basics holiday environment that brings the benefit over reduced prices to reflect this. This combination of factors makes Long Island a good place to use as a base if you’re planning to relax and then take some day trips or tours further out to the reef and other islands.

Most of the activities on Long Island are limited to the island itself, with offshore snorkelling being very viable in the island’s surrounding fringing reef roughly 150 metres from the shoreline.

Otherwise, the amount of activities on the island will be largely determined by your choice of accommodation options – the BreakFree Long Island Resort offers traditional resort-style activities as well as the likes of jet ski hire, parasailing, and even sailing upon booking. As a result, if you’re looking to bring children along for your Whitsundays trip, in most cases you’d be best to look elsewhere; while Long Island offers a mini golf course, the chance to feed kangaroos, and a small kids club, it’s an island mostly suited towards adults wanting to unwind.

Long Island also suffers slightly from a lack of on-island food purchasing options that makes relying on restaurants for the majority of your dining a necessity. Alternatively, pre-purchasing food and provisions from the mainland and transporting them over is another option, and which you’ll be able to use to take advantage of the barbecue facilities to cook a meal.

This lack of development is also reflected in the area of on-island transport as you’ll have to travel from point A to B entirely on foot – which some would argue is part of the island’s charm. Ferries to Long Island from the mainland depart roughly ever 2 – 3 hours throughout the day, while one-day tour packages that include return transfer and which allow full use of resort facilities are also available.

Given the overall escapist purpose of Long Island, most people visiting here will be simply looking to unwind and unplug from the world. Bring your own food and / or alcohol over to the island, relax and read a book under the shade of a palm tree, take a leisurely snorkel, or simply plug in your headphones and relax in the sun – that’s what a trip to Long Island is all about.

Long Island in Pictures
Learn About the Great Barrier Reef