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Can You Swim In Shute Harbour?

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Wed 10 May 2023

Shute Harbour is a busy marine port and ferry terminal near Airlie Beach in Queensland. Despite its relatively small size, it's one of the busiest harbours for small vessels in the Whitsunday area! The main purpose of Shute Harbour is to connect travelers with ferries, tours, and private charter boats out to the stunning Whitsunday Islands. 

But travelers may be wondering, "Can you swim in Shute Harbour?". You can swim in Shute Harbour, but it's not recommended. The dazzling turquoise water here may look inviting, but there are better places for swimming around Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays. Let's take a closer look at Shute Harbour and why you'd be better off swimming elsewhere!

Hiking Shute Harbour


Can You Swim In Shute Harbour?

You can swim in Shute Harbour! However, locals wouldn't recommend it for a few reasons. First of all, Shute Harbour is a major marine port that is filled with charter boats, tour boats, ferries, and more. Because of all the boat activity, Shute Harbour may not be the cleanest place for swimming. 

Shute Harbour is a beautiful area with forested hills and lush scenery, but it doesn't have as many accessible beaches as Airlie Beach and the surrounding Whitsundays. There are a few beaches in Shute Harbour, including Coral Beach and Canecutters Beach. These beaches are quite remote and don't have lifeguards or stinger nets, so they are better suited for camping, walking, exploring, and fishing. 

If you are looking for the best places to swim near Shute Harbour, you'd be better off swimming around Airlie Beach. Boathaven Beach is a gorgeous local beach with a stinger net so you can swim safely during stinger season. The Airlie Beach Lagoon is a popular place to swim in downtown Airlie Beach, or you can opt for a freshwater swimming location such as Cedar Creek Falls

Airlie Beach Lagoon


Is It Safe To Swim In The Whitsunday Islands?

Another common question travelers may be asking is whether or not it's safe to swim in the Whitsunday IslandsYes, it is totally safe to swim in the Whitsundays, as long as you take the necessary precautions. We just mentioned stinger season, which occurs every year between October and May. Marine stingers may be present in the ocean around Airlie Beach, Shute Harbour, and the Whitsundays, so just make sure you swim with a stinger suit on or in a designated swimming area with a net. 

Other things to note when swimming in the Whitsundays is the lack of facilities and lifeguards. The Whitsundays are super remote, which makes them so breathtaking. But that also means there are often no lifeguards on patrol, which is the case on the famous Whitehaven Beach. If you're visiting with a tour, just listen to your local guides and they will advise you about staying safe!

Powerplay Whitehaven


Things To Do In Shute Harbour

Though you can swim in Shute Harbour, the best activities in the area are land-based! Shute Harbour is known for its lush natural beauty, so exploring the wilderness is the best way to spend your time here. Conway National Park is a gorgeous place where you can go hiking or zip through the forest on a segway!

To experience Shute Harbour's Coral Beach in a more unique way, book a guided cultural adventure where you can hike and learn about the indigenous Australian traditions, stories, and native wildlife. Or you can further explore Conway National Park with a trip to Cedar Creek Falls, the beloved local waterfall. 

But the #1 reason why travelers visit Shute Harbour is to book tours out to the Whitsundays! Admire these world-famous islands by jumping on a guided tour, an overnight sailing trip, or a private charter in Shute Harbour. Once you depart the harbour, you'll be in awe of the vibrant tropical scenery that awaits you out in the Coral Sea!

Cedar Creek Falls


How To Get From Airlie Beach To Shute Harbour

Shute Harbour is just a short, 10-minute drive east of Airlie BeachYour drive will take you through the towering hills of Conway National Park, so make sure you soak in the beauty of the rich greenery along the way. If you don't have a car, taxis and rideshare services are available in Airlie Beach. Whitsunday Transit also has a daily public bus service that runs between downtown Airlie Beach, Cannonvale, and Shute Harbour!

driving airlie beach


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