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All About Ocean Rafting In The Whitsundays

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Tue 28 May 2024

Ocean Rafting is one of the most beloved tour companies in the Whitsundays that offers amazing boat tours and scenic flights. Visitors to the Whitsundays dream of seeing the swirling sands of Whitehaven Beach and the pristine coral reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. With Ocean Rafting, you can see all the area's highlights on fun tour itineraries that suit travellers of all ages!

Here is a quick overview of Ocean Rafting and the best tours you can book to see the Whitsundays in style. 

ocean rafting tour guide posing with snorkellers on a day trip


Explore the Whitsundays on Ocean Rafting

Operating in the Whitsundays since 1997, Ocean Rafting is one of the area's most well-established tour operators. With its iconic bright yellow vessels, notoriously friendly crew, and adventerous itineraries, the brand combines sustainable tourism with great vibes that draw in travellers from around the world. 

Ocean Rafting has won over 50 awards since 2007 for its esteemed efforts in Australian tourism. The vessels also have special permits that allow for entry into special areas of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and Hill Inlet.  With master reef guides on board, visitors also gain insights into the area's ecology and history, making Ocean Rafting both an adrenaline-fueled and educational adventure.

ocean rafting vessel inside hill inlet swirling sands whitsundays


Ocean Rafting Vessels

Ocean Rafting's vessels are some of the most recognisable in the Whitsundays! With a bright yellow hue and colourful decorations, the boats are as captivating as they are comfortable. The semi-rigid inflatable vessels have the feel of a raft but they are sturdy so guests feel safe at sea. You can sit on the edge of the smooth yellow surface and hold on to the attached ropes as the vessel cruises over the turquoise Whitsunday waters for an extra dose of adventure. 

The vessels were originally designed to be rescue crafts and are now one of the most iconic tour boats in Queensland. They have 500hp engines and large awnings, allowing passengers to zip through the Whitsundays at top speeds and enjoy shade at their tropical destinations. There is also a handy step ladder at the front for easy beach and water access. 

guests climbing down a ladder on ocean rafting whitsundays


Eco Tourism Efforts

Among the many awards that Ocean Rafting has earned are various Eco Tourism Certifications. The brand has held an Advanced Ecotourism Certification since 1998 and is even in the Ecotourism Australia Hall of Fame! For efforts to reduce carbon emissions, maintain environmental standards, and commit to eco-friendly practices, Ocean Rafting is widely recognised for its sustainable tourism. The dedicated master reef guides are happy to share more about the company's passion for the environment while you're on tour!

ocean rafting staff driving the boat on a whitsundays tour


The Best Ocean Rafting Tours in the Whitsundays

If you're looking for the ultimate Whitsunday day trip, look no further than Ocean Rafting's boat tours and scenic flights. There are quite a few tours to choose from, so we're going to break down each one to help you choose the perfect option for you!

Check out all the best Ocean Rafting products!

ocean rafting tour group at hill inlet lookout in the whitsundays


Southern Lights

  • Highlights
    • 1 snorkel spot
    • South Whitehaven Beach
    • Hill Inlet Lookout & North Whitehaven Beach
    • Also departs Daydream Island

The perfect Whitsunday day trip for beach bums! Ocean Rafting's Southern Lights departs from the Coral Sea Marina in Airlie Beach at 10am, giving you a bit more time to sleep in and prepare for the day. 

Throughout the day tour, you'll visit 1 snorkel spot which the skipper will choose based on the current conditions. Have about an hour to snorkel in the fringing Great Barrier Reef, enjoy a picnic lunch, and have some free time on the soft silica sands of South Whitehaven Beach. You'll also get to visit North Whitehaven Beach and the fantastic Hill Inlet Lookout!

south whitehaven beach sign on the white sand on whitsunday island


Northern Exposure

  • Highlights
    • 2 Hook Island snorkel spots
    • Hill Inlet Lookout & North Whitehaven Beach
    • Also departs Daydream Island

Northern Exposure has a similar itinerary to Southern Lights but with less time for relaxing on the beach and more time for snorkelling. If you're more interested in snorkelling with marine life than hanging out on Whitehaven, this is the tour for you!

On this tour, you'll visit two incredible snorkel spots around Hook Island, a remote and beautiful Whitsunday island notorious for its flourishing marine life. You'll also get to visit North Whitehaven Beach and head up to Hill Inlet Lookout. With a slightly earlier itinerary that departs at 8:45am, this tour is perfect for early risers, adventure seekers, and marine life enthusiasts!

two snorkellers on an ocean rafting boat in the whitsundays


Scenic Flight to Heart Reef

  • Highlights
    • 1-hour seaplane flight
    • Fly over Whitehaven Beach & Hill Inlet
    • See Outer Great Barrier Reef and Heart Reef

A scenic flight is one of the best activities to try in the Whitsundays! There is nothing quite as spectacular as seeing the saturated turquoise waters, swirling white sands, and sprawling coral reefs from the sky. Ocean Rafting offers a one-hour scenic flight with expert commentary. Soar over the gorgeous islands and get a bird's eye view of famous landmarks like Hill Inlet, Hamilton Island, and Heart Reef. 

seaplane flying over heart reef on the great barrier reef


Fly & Raft Southern Lights or Northern Exposure

  • Highlights
    • Combine an epic boat tour with a scenic flight
    • Choose between Southern Lights or Northern Exposure
    • Flexible flight times

Can't decide between a boat tour or a scenic flight? Do both! Ocean Rafting has a Fly & Raft package that includes both a scenic flight and a boat tour. You can choose between Southern Lights or Northern Exposure for your boat tour and fit an amazing, 1-hour flight into your Whitsunday itinerary. This is an epic value deal that combines two magnificent experiences into one convenient package!

ocean rafting boats cruising along whitehaven beach


Private Charter

  • Highlights
    • Bring up to 32 guests
    • Private tour with an experienced guide
    • Personalised itinerary

Bring your friends and family on your own private Ocean Rafting tourYou can hire a private charter on Ocean Rafting for groups of up to 32 people. Have the vessel all to yourselves and help customise the itinerary. Perfect for celebrations or groups who want an exclusive Whitsunday experience, Ocean Rafting's private charters are affordable and suitable for all types of travellers. 

person doing a backflip off an ocean rafting boat in the whitsundays


Ready to see the Whitsundays with Ocean Rafting? Contact our travel experts to secure your place or enquire about a private charter!

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