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How far is Whitehaven Beach from Airlie Beach?

Updated Mon 11 Apr 2022

Whitehaven Beach boat south end

Many visitors to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands choose to stay in Airlie Beach due to its close proximity and endless options for exploring the region, particularly Whitehaven Beach. The pure white sand exclusive to Whitehaven Beach lures visitors from all around the world and no trip to the Whitsundays would be complete without a dip in the crystal clear turquoise water and a selfie or two. If you are thinking of making a day trip to Australia’s most iconic beach, you are most likely wondering how long it will take. There are endless options for day trips to Whitehaven Beach and which one you select will depend on your budget and how much time you wish to spend on the beach.

Trip route whitehaven beach sailing whitsundays

How far is it?

The distance from Airlie Beach to Whitehaven Beach is only 33km, however travel times will vary depending on the vessel you choose to travel on, the tide and local weather. Travel time from Airlie Beach to Whitehaven via boat ranges from just over one hour for high-speed vessels to around two hours for sailboats. If you are lucky enough to travel to Whitehaven Beach on a helicopter or seaplane adventure the trip time can be as little as 15 minutes if you fly directly there. We've been on every tour in the Whitsundays to Whitehaven, and below are our top picks! 

Whitsunday Bullet Paddleboarding

Here are our top picks on how to get to Whitehaven from Airlie Beach:

Whitsunday Bullet 

Whitsunday Bullet is a speedy catamaran that will zip you over to Whitehaven Beach in no time! Cruising along at 25 knots, Whitsunday Bullet is a perfect way to take in the beautiful scenery while getting your fix of adrenaline! 

The day trip involves spending time relaxing on and exploring Whitehaven, snorkelling with the exotic marine life on the Great Barrier Reef, and eating a delicious lunch. Snorkelling gear, paddle boards and wetsuits are all-inclusive! Plus alcohol is for sale on board! It truly is an action-packed way to experience Whitehaven!

Ocean Rafting - Southern Lights

ocean rafting

If you’re keen for an adventure hit but don’t have much time, Ocean Rafting is for you! This jam-packed tour takes you on the “wild-side” as you explore the Whitsunday islands. 

What’s included? Travelling at top speeds between each location, two hours on Whitehaven where you visit both the northern and southern ends, snorkelling (gear provided) on the Great Barrier Reef, exclusive access to Hill Inlet’s silica sands and lookout, and courtesy bus pickup and drop off to/from your accommodation. 

You’ll be accompanied by a knowledgeable, social and friendly crew while you get your adventure fix! Ocean Rafting is suitable for all ages too which could make for a fun, family trip you won’t forget!



Camira is the ultimate choice if you’re looking for a luxurious way to see the Whitsunday islands. This 85-foot, speedy catamaran will get you to Whitehaven Beach in absolute comfort! 

You can sit back and relax with a drink in your hand as you cruise through the islands, taking in the stunning scenery. Spend the day relaxing on Whitehaven Beach, snorkelling the coral reef, hiking up the Hill Inlet Lookout, and feasting on a well-earned Aussie BBQ lunch. Beer, cider, and wine is all provided too!

Camira is an ideal way to combine adventure with luxury while you enjoy what the Whitsundays has to offer!

Lady Enid

lady enid

Jump aboard Lady Enid for a luxurious, slow-paced day filled with gourmet meals, snorkelling, and more!

Spend the day swimming in Whitehaven's crystal-clear waters, walk to the lookout to view the swirling sands of Hill Inlet, and even enjoy a complimentary glass of sparkling paired with an antipasto platter as you sail back to Airlie Beach.

The adult only heritage yacht is run by experienced and friendly crew who are sure to make your trip memorable!

Big Fury

Speed boat in the Whitsundays

Cruise the Whitsundays on one of the biggest and most powerful day boats in the area! Big Fury is a custom-designed, fast and stable boat - perfect if you suffer from seasickness. 

Choosing Big Fury will see you enjoying a guided tour of the Whitsunday islands, cruising to Whitehaven Beach where you will feast on a buffet lunch there, snorkelling the colourful reefs, exploring Hill Inlet, and relaxing in the comfortable interior. 

Big Fury ensures you get to do as much as possible during your one day tour, wasting no time cutting its way through the waters of the Whitsundays.


Fast boat in the Whitsundays

Thundercat is a thrilling, high-speed, fast boat that will get you to Whitehaven Beach in no time! With two 300 horsepower engines, you’re in for one adrenaline filled ride! A day on Thundercat involves exploring Whitehaven - including a stop at Hill Inlet Lookout, exclusive snorkelling, and even whale watching (from June - October).

On Thundercat you can BYO alcohol - eskies are even provided to keep your drinks nice and cool! The vessel is unique and spacious to ensure stability, has an onboard toilet, and a friendly, energetic crew.


A yacht in the Whitsundays

If you’re looking for the trip of a lifetime, Providence is for you!

Providence is an authentic tall ship, perfect for sailing through the idyllic Whitsunday islands to Whitehaven Beach. Snorkel, swim, get your tan on and enjoy all that Whitehaven has to offer! The crew also provide a delicious feast, freshly made on board. 

Fun fact: Providence starred in a Hollywood movie in 1992, Survive the Savage Seas, which was filmed here in Australia.

You an even choose a scenic flight from Airlie Beach to Whitehaven Beach!

Helicopter Whitehaven Beach Whitsundays

Ocean Rafting Scenic Flight

GSL Helicopter Tour

Regardless of the tour you choose, you will not be disappointed with your visit to Whitehaven Beach. Click here for a full range of overnight charters that visit Whitehaven Beach-Most of them do! 

Ready to start planning your Whitehaven adventure? Chat to our friendly local boating experts to find out our latest deals, or call +61 74914 2425! 

*Ocean Rafting Scenic flight can be booked with boat and flight combo or flight only combo, ask our consultants at the time of booking. It is recommended booking at least two weeks in advance as scenic flights fill up! 

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