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Non Touristy Things To Do In The Whitsundays

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Talia Jones
Updated Tue 28 Feb 2023

Two blonde girls wearing white dresses and sunglasses posing at the camera on a beach

The Whitsundays is a very touristy destination. With 74 tropical islands and the Great Barrier Reef being the biggest Whitsunday attractions, it's no wonder people from all over the world want to tick the region off their travel bucket-lists! If you're like everyone else and want to visit the tropical paradise but you're not big on crowds and would rather blend in like a local, then this article is for you. From exclusive bars to intimate diving adventures, there are plenty of non touristy activities you can do in the Whitsundays

Book a private charter and freely explore the Whitsunday Islands

Two girls walking along the beach holding snorkelling gear

When visiting the Whitsundays, most people choose to book guided tours through the islands. But if you’re wanting to escape the crowds, booking a private charter is your key! Explore the 74 Whitsunday Islands, Whitehaven Beach, and the reef at your own leisure, without being on a constricted time frame. Choosing a private charter means you'll have your own crew, lunch catered for, and the freedom to choose your fellow passengers. Choose from a range of private charters we have available. We recommend the Paradise Explorer Private Charter which allows up to 6 guests, the Wild Dreams Private Charters allows 10 guests, or Big Fury's Private Charter allows up to 35! Alternatively, if you're looking to splurge and cruise in luxury, why not book a day on La Mar's Private Charter and have a 5-star experience!

Go for a sunset sail with the Sailing Club

A man pulling ropes on a sailing boat

Every Wednesday evening, the Whitsunday Sailing Club holds twilight sailing races where people get together and socially race. Located in Airlie Beach, the evenings are directed towards those who are eager to learn to sail or would like to try something new. Plus, it's a great way to meet the locals and learn more about the area. You'll get to hop aboard one of the sailing boats and have the opportunity to be a crew member for the evening while racing through the bays. You'll have to purchase a day pass which is only $10 and allows you membership to the club for the day. There are limited spots available so best to get to the sailing club at 3:00pm when it starts!

Visit the local beach

A group of people on inflatable toys in the ocean

Blend in with the locals who frequent Boathaven Beach whether they're out walking their dogs or taking post-work afternoon dips. The beach is popular amongst those who live in Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays not only because it's Airlie's most pristine beach, but it's one of the only places in the area which allows for dogs to run off-leash. It also has swimming nets that protect you from most of the deadly jellyfish during Stinger Season, and is located conveniently close to town. Grab your towel, a book and sunscreen and set yourself up for a day on the beach.  

Take a hike up Mount Rooper 

Two people with backpacks on hiking up a mountain

We are convinced that if you ask a tourist in the Whitsundays where Mount Rooper is, they will blankly stare back at you with no clue to the answer. Mount Rooper is a hidden gem for locals. It's a mountain, located a 10 minute drive away from Airlie Beach, is perfect for hiking and offers spectacular views of Shute Harbour and the Whitsunday Islands. It takes an hour return on foot and is best enjoyed in the mornings or afternoons when the weather is cooler. As it is a little bit out of the way, most people visiting the area don't tend to venture too far this way. Luckily, for you wanting to escape the crowds, Mount Rooper is where you can go! 

Book an overnight diving trip

A girl with blonde hair underwater scuba diving

Another great non-touristy thing to do in the Whitsundays is to book yourself onto an intimate, overnight diving trip to the Great Barrier Reef with Kiana's Outer Reef Expedition. Sure, you might be paired with other travellers but this diving trip isn't your typical tourist adventure. With four nights onboard Kiana, you'll explore lesser-known reefs in the Whitsundays, scuba dive with a kaleidoscope of tropical marine life, and sail between the enchanting islands. The best thing about a trip with Kiana is that it only allows for up to 8 guests, meaning you will have a more personal experience and have the time to get to know your fellow passengers and crew - something you might not be able to do on a larger tour!

Have dinner and drinks at Anchor Bar

A girl wearing a white broad brimmed hat sipping a pink cocktail

Anchor Bar is a favourite amongst locals in the Whitsundays. Tucked away, out of sight from Airlie Beach's main road, it's not often that tourists find it. But since you've asked, Anchor Bar is situated on Golden Orchard Drive (the street behind Dominos and Airlie Ink tattoo parlour) and is nestled within the Whitsunday Terrace apartments. The reason why Anchor Bar is so loved is because it offers panoramic views of Airlie Beach and its surroundings. Not only is that a perk, but it serves mouth-watering food, delicious cocktails, and has a pool AND spa which is open to visitors to enjoy between drinks. 

If you want to find out more about other non touristy activities to do, then read our other article, Non Touristy Things To Do In Airlie Beach!

For more information or to book a tour live chat to our team or call +61 74914 2425 today.

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