About Whitsundays

The Whitsundays is a cluster of 74 tropical islands located off Queensland, and is the gateway to the World-Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. Renowned for its white sandy shores, crystal-clear waters, cruise experiences and laid-back tropical vibes, the Whitsundays is one of the go-to holiday destinations in Australia.
 
Cruising is synonymous with Whitsundays and is the most effective way to navigate the islands. Whitsunday cruises are popular among both locals and tourists, offering quality guided tours of the islands and its wildlife. From full day and half day cruises to sunset sailing and adventure tours, there is something for everyone!

The beaches here have a story of their own. The most famous one is Whitehaven, which is regarded as one of the world's best beaches. It’s where you’ll find the iconic Hill Inlet Lookout. The popular Whitsunday Island cruises to Whitehaven and Hill Inlet are not to be missed! 

Airlie is also a buzzing social hub with an eclectic lineup of resorts, restaurants, bars and shops. It is a great base for exploring the islands and experiencing the local culture. Most Whitsunday Island tours depart from here. Daydream, Hamilton, Hook, Langford and Hayman Islands are other must-visit islands within the Whitsundays. You can explore them on sailing trips or during one of the Whitsunday boat tours. 

Although it’s a year-round destination, the best times to visit Whitsundays are in the winter and dry seasons. The water won’t be clouded, offering excellent snorkelling, diving and even whale watching opportunities. So, if you’re eyeing a quintessential tropical escape in the Land Down Under, then the Whitsundays is an obvious choice. Don’t think twice, plan your trip now!



Whitsundays Cruise Experiences

Full Day Tours

9 Cruises

From $145

Snorkel Tours

9 Cruises

From $199

Sightseeing Cruises

15 Cruises

From $69

Sunset Cruises

3 Cruises

From $69

Featured Cruises

18 Cruises

8Hr ‘Lady Enid’ Langford Island Sail + Snorkel Cruise

Premium sail to Langford Island on the Lady Enid – for adults only. Snorkelling, illusion of ‘walking on water’, bush walks, fancy dining & service.

Duration 8hr

From $229 $259

2Hr ‘Lady Enid’ Sunset Sailing Experience

An adults-only tour from Airlie Beach on a classic yacht – barefoot luxury with 5-star service. Enjoy antipasto and watch the sunset over the hills.

Duration 2hr

From $95

2Hr Sundowner Airlie Beach Sunset Cruise

Enjoy a sparkling sundowner on a cruise around Pioneer Bay & Turtle Bay. Take in the picture-perfect sunset and the lights of Airlie Beach on return.

Duration 2hr

From $69

10Hr ‘Lady Enid’ Whitehaven Beach Sail + Snorkel Cruise

Sailing luxury redefined with the best of Whitehaven Beach – sunbathe on the soft silica sand, walk to Hill Inlet lookout, deluxe lunch & snorkel tour.

Duration 10hr

From $269 $299

9Hr Camira Sailing Adventure Whitsundays

The Whitsundays beckon as you sail the azure waters on the stunning Camira. The complete Whitehaven Beach tour – snorkel & hike to Hill Inlet lookout.

Duration 9hr

From $230 $259

10Hr Reef World Hardy Reef Exploration

Cruise beyond Whitsundays to Reefworld – a multi-level pontoon at the spectacular Hardy Reef! Snorkel, swim & explore this heritage-listed ecosystem.

Duration 10hr

From $259 $319

10Hr Hamilton Island Freestyle Boat Tour

Explore Hamilton Island, a uniquely Australian paradise, at your own pace. Swim at Catseye Beach, hike to Passage Peak, visit galleries & go shopping.

Duration 10hr

From $145 $156

10.5Hr Whitehaven Beach & Hamilton Island Tour

Discover two of Australia's best-loved destinations in one day. Eat, drink, shop on Hamilton Island, later - swim, hike or relax on Whitehaven Beach.

Duration 11hr

From $205

7Hr Whitsunday Islands & Whitehaven Beach Cruise

Cruise through azure waterways to Whitehaven Beach – the jewel in the Whitsundays crown! Sunbathe, swim & hike the Solway Circuit for stunning views.

Duration 7hr

From $150 $185

30Min Ultimate Airlie Beach Jet Boat Ride

Airlie’s #1 must-do jet boat ride – 360° spins, power stops, drifts, nosedives. Splendid Whitsundays views, informative commentary & free photos.

From $95

6Hr Southern Lights Whitehaven Beach Tour

Memorable beach tour in Whitsundays onboard a semi rigid inflatable vessel offering a snorkel experience at Border Island with colourful wildlife

Duration 6hr

From $199

6Hr Ocean Rafting Whitehaven Northern Exposure Cruise

Three experiences in just one day – fun boat ride to Whitehaven Beach, snorkelling at two sites & guided National Park walk to Hill Inlet lookout.

Duration 6hr

From $199

8Hr Whitehaven Beach And Hill Inlet Tour

Longest-running day tour to Hill Inlet & Whitehaven Beach with maximum time at each location. Classic Aussie Beach BBQ lunch included.

Duration 8hr

From $205

2Hr Wildcat Sunset Cruise

Join an award-winning operator on a sunset cruise around Mackay Marina; roof-top viewing platform for 360° views. Perfect for couples & families.

Duration 2hr

From $89

7Hr Wildcat Mackay Snorkel and Islands Tour

An adventure cruise on the brand-new Wildcat to discover the Paradise islands off the Mackay coast. Snorkel and paddle-board expeditions included.

Duration 7hr

From $209

8Hr Thundercat Great Barrier Reef Adventure Cruise From Whitsundays

Choose this award-winning Whitsundays adventure tour on the Thundercat – visit Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet lookout & snorkel at 2 unique sites.

Duration 8hr

From $210 $240

8Hr Red Cat Outer Reef Snorkel Adventure Tour

Expert-led small group adventure cruise through the Whitsundays – snorkel at multiple sites on the Outer Great Barrier Reef. Eco-friendly tour.

Duration 8hr

From $249 $259

9Hr Viper Adventures Great Barrier Reef & Whitsundays

Only tour to take you to the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach & Hill Inlet in one day! Jet boat rides, snorkelling & bush walks. Small groups.

Duration 9hr

From $311

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Know Before You Go

Best Time To Visit

With approximately 300 days of sunshine each year and mild temperatures, the Whitsundays region is a haven for pleasant weather. Spring unveils the best of the Whitsundays, offering consistently sunny days, low humidity, and ideal conditions for swimming, snorkelling, and diving. During the wet season, tropical showers are common but typically brief, adding a refreshing touch to the tropical ambience.

Public Holidays

Monday, 1 January: New Year's Day
Friday, 26 January: Australia Day
Friday, 29 March: Good Friday 
Saturday, 30 March: Easter Saturday 
Sunday, 31 March: Easter Sunday 
Monday, 1 April: Easter Monday
Thursday, 25 April: Anzac Day
Wednesday, 25 December: Christmas Day
Thursday, 26 December: Boxing Day

Other public holidays declared by the state and territory governments:

Monday, 6 May: Labour Day
Monday, 7 October: Queen’s Birthday

Events & Festivals

Airlie Beach Festival of Music
Held in November, this multi-day music festival brings together local and international artists across various genres. It's a lively celebration of music, with performances taking place in venues throughout Airlie Beach. (Some even call it Queensland’s best music festival!)

Whitsunday Reef Festival
Celebrated in August, this festival is a week-long extravaganza that highlights the Whitsundays' coastal lifestyle. It includes fireworks, live music, street parades, food stalls, and various family-friendly activities.

Hamilton Island Race Week
Taking place in August, this prestigious yachting event attracts sailors from around the world. It combines competitive sailing with social activities, including fashion shows, gourmet food, and entertainment.

School Holidays

TERM 1 SCHOOL HOLIDAYS 2024
Queensland: 2 April to 14 April

TERM 2 SCHOOL HOLIDAYS 2024
Queensland: 22 June to 7 July

TERM 3 SCHOOL HOLIDAYS 2024
Queensland: 14 September to 29 September

TERM 4 SCHOOL HOLIDAYS 2024 - 2025
Queensland: 14 December 2024 to 26 January 2025

Accommodation

The larger islands like Hamilton Island have hotels and resorts which are expensive; for cheaper alternatives you find mid-range hotels or eco lodges on other smaller islands. Airbnb is also available and is a more affordable option. Expect to pay double if you don’t book early! Camping grounds are available on the island, but this requires you to have your own boat and make your own meal.

Dining

Being one of the most popular of all the islands, Hamilton is flooded with food establishments. There are numerous fine dining venues, but dig deep and you can find plenty of casual eateries as well. The coastal enclave of Airlie Beach is also mushrooming in cafes and restaurants. The menus here have a strong local influence and the views here are simply out of this world!

Transport

Car hire is easily available at the Whitsundays Coast Airport. Hiring a car is the easiest way to get around the mainland, but to navigate between the mainland and islands, there are other options. Skipper your own boat, join a range of multi-day or single-day cruises or tours, or take a transfer.

Whitsundays Tourist Information

Public Conveniences

There are open parks and gardens for recreational use. There are also RV-friendly camping grounds within the region. Public toilets and campsites are available on most beaches.

Shopping & Market Hours

Whitsundays Plaza in Cannonvale and Whitsundays Shopping centre in Airlie are the two major shopping destinations on the islands. Expect food, fashion, everyday convenience, and specialist retailers. Grab a souvenir from one of the supermarkets!

Medical Services

Find medical assistance at Affinity Family Medical on Cannonvale. Proserpine Hospital, one of the region's popular hospitals is 26 kms away from the Whitsunday region.

Blogs & Articles

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Island Paradise Unveiled: The Best Of Whitsundays

If you visit a new beach in Australia everyday for the rest of your life, it would take more than 32 years to see them all. The 74 stunning islands of the Whitsundays are like emeralds scattered on a sapphire-blue ocean.