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  • The Whitsundays are like a 200-square-miles secret,

  • tucked away between Australia's Great Barrier Reef and the tropical hillsides of the central Queensland coast,

  • sharing the same latitude as Rio de Janeiro and Tahiti, the region enjoys a perfect year-round climate.

  • For thousands of years, the Whitsundays hung to the narrow, whose name means vanishing people.

  • When life got a little too stressful on the mainland, the seafaring narrow would paddle off to their island hideaways, disappearing for weeks or sometimes months at a time.

  • If you feel like vanishing from the world for a while, the Whitsundays could be just the place.

  • The heart of the Whitsundays is the coastal town of Ailey Beach, once a tiny community of cane farmers, Timber getters,

  • today, it's the gateway to the islands and the perfect place to decompress from the pressures of the everyday world.

  • Hang by the lagoon with fellow travelers and regain your balance under the palm trees.

  • Wiggle your toes in the sand and reconnect with a gentle rhythm of the sea.

  • Explore the beachside markets and treat yourself to something special crafted by the local hands.

  • Wherever you are in Ellie's Beach, you'll hear Mother Nature calling on the sea breeze, and you don't have to travel far to see her at her best.

  • Right on Ellie's doorstep is Conway National Park.

  • Here you can follow trail through strands of grass trees and towering hoop pines to secluded spots like Coral Beach.

  • When it's time to escape deeper into the Whitsundays, head to Ellie's Able Point marina, where your tour operators are waiting to spirit your way to the islands at Outer Reef.

  • Or just across town at Ellie's maritime terminal. Make a speedy get-away on one of the regular interisland catamarans.

  • Another jumping off point for your Whitsunday Vanishing Act is the nearby town of Shoot Harbor.

  • When Captain Cook cruised out the whit Sunday passage in 1770, he marveled at the region's protected waters and beauty.

  • Today, Shoot Harbor is a popular place for landlubbers to rent a yacht and chart a course on their own island hopping adventures.

  • Off the Whitsunday's 74 islands, only a handful are inhabited, and it's on these that you'll find some of Australia's best island resorts.

  • Just a 30 minute ferry ride from Haley Beach is Daydream Island, an island paradise that's been welcoming travellers for over half a century.

  • For a small island, Daydream sure packs in a lot of beauty.

  • Cool off on a catamaran or paddle board or simply white out into the waters of Lovers Cove and explore the fringing reef.

  • At the island's rejuvenating SPA, trade in your snorkeling mask for one made from the finest botanicals.

  • Then let the SPA's expert therapists loosen up those 21st century knots.

  • It's not just the guests who get pampered on Daydream, the resident sealife enjoy a good massage, too.

  • And if you'd like to find neighbor, the island's biologists are waiting to introduce you to the 200 species of fish and coral, which thrive in resorts lagoons.

  • But of course, one of the best things to do on Daydream is to do nothing at all, and that is a kind of perfection all in itself.

  • A further 30 minutes out from Daydream is Australia's premier resort destination, Hamilton Island. Cruising by fast cat, tie up your boat at the marina or fly in direct from many of Australia's capital cities.

  • This is an island where you're spoiled for choice and where every choice is pure class.

  • Spend your day paddling in the perfect sea or just paddle up to the second bar for another cocktail.

  • Get to know some of the region's wildlife.

  • From the cuddly to the not so cuddly, Hamilton Island offers six resorts with accommodation styles ranging from the luxury to the heavenly.

  • And when you're in the need for a little sustenance is over a dozen restaurants and cafes to choose from.

  • Take a day trip out to nearby beauty spots like Whiteheaven Beach, consistently voted one of the world's great beaches.

  • Sands here are over 90% silica, which means they stay comfy underfoot.

  • No matter how hot the day. Perfect.

  • however you choose to spend your days on Hamilton,

  • there's no better way to end them than on One Tree Hill.

  • Enjoy the sunset and the 360 degree views,

  • and toast our good fortune for having made the perfect with Sunday escape.

  • Just be sure to book a return ticket, because the Whitsundays is the kind of place where days can slip in two weeks, and before you know it, the world of old has slipped below the horizon and vanished forever.

The Whitsundays are like a 200-square-miles secret,

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