The Whitsunday Islands sit off the northeast coast between Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. Most of the 74 islands are uninhabited, but no less beautiful for that. Dense rainforests contrast with perfect white sand beaches and there are hundreds of miles of hiking trails to explore. Thanks to the shelter offered by the Great Barrier Reef, these warm waters are rarely boisterous, making them perfect for sailing. Every year in August, over 250 yachts gather for Hamilton Island Race Week. Hamilton Island is the largest inhabited of the Whitsundays, with a commercial airport. It is car-free and set up for tourists, so there is no problem finding things to see and do. For history enthusiasts, these islands are the traditional home of the Ngaro people and have some of the oldest archaeological sites on Australia's east coast.