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What To Do In The Whitsundays

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Gabby Boucher
Updated Mon 26 Feb 2024

As one of the most beautiful and popular travel destinations in Australia, the Whitsunday Islands are full of wonders. If you're planning a trip here, you may be wondering what to do in the Whitsundays! Luckily, there is no shortage of fun activities to fill your days here. From snorkelling and diving, to flying over the islands, to enjoying the town of Airlie Beach, there are endless opportunities for adventure in the Whitsundays!

Whitehaven Beach

What To Do In The Whitsundays: 12 Best Activities

For travellers wondering what to do in the Whitsundays, you have a wealth of options. With tropical rainforests, secluded beaches, and pristine coral reefs, you will never run out of things to do in the Whitsundays! Here are 12 of the best activities to add to your Whitsunday itinerary. Of course, there are many more things to do, but these are the top activities that you should definitely try to make time for. 


Book An Overnight Sailing Tour

The absolute best way to see the Whitsundays is on an overnight sailing tour. As one of the top sailing destinations in the world, the turquoise waters and lush scenery makes for some world-class boating. Spending the night out at sea, spotting wildlife, and watching the sunrise over the ocean is an unforgettable experience. Day tours are great, but overnight tours are much more immersive and memorable. 

Check out our top maxi tours here!

British Defender

See Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven Beach is the most famous beach in the Whitsundays! And many consider it to be the best beach in the world as well. Located on Whitsunday Island, Whitehaven Beach is a tropical paradise. The pristine shores are made of velvety-soft white silica sand, and the warm water is a vibrant turquoise. There is no better place for a beach day! Most overnight sailing tours and day trips visit Whitehaven Beach


Hike To Hill Inlet Lookout

At the northern end of Whitehaven Beach, you can embark on a leisurely bushwalk up to Hill Inlet Lookout. If you thought the beach was beautiful from the ground level, wait until you see the view from the lookout! Hill Inlet Lookout provides panoramic views of the swirling sands and towering mountains, and is one of the best viewpoints in the Whitsundays. 

Hill Inlet

Go Snorkelling

Snorkelling is an absolute must in the Whitsundays! Scattered throughout the Coral Sea around the Whitsunday Islands are the fringing reefs of the Great Barrier Reef. The Outer Reef is about 3 hours from Airlie Beach, but you can snorkel in the edges of the reef right next to the islands! Hook Island and Langford Island have some incredible snorkelling spots, and most tours include snorkel gear. 


Try Scuba Diving

Take your exploration of the underwater world to the next level with scuba diving! Whether you're an experienced diver or you'd like to take your first breaths beneath the surface, diving in the fringing reefs is a lovely way to experience the natural beauty of the Whitsundays. If you don't have time to venture to the outer reef, there are some sailing tours that include scuba diving onboard, like New Horizon, Atlantic Clipper, and Kiana

Scuba Diving 

Book A Scenic Flight

If you're wondering what to do in the Whitsundays, a scenic flight should absolutely be on your bucket list! Seeing the islands and reefs from the sky gives you a whole new level of appreciation for this stunning area. Choose between a seaplane or helicopter tour, many of which fly over Whitehaven Beach and the famous Heart Reef! You can also book packages that include a boat tour with a scenic flight so you can have the best of both worlds. 

Scenic Flight

Go Fishing

Those who love fishing will be in heaven in the Whitsundays! With a diverse range of marine life, fishing is one of the best things to do in the Whitsundays. It's best to book a tour that includes a half or full-day fishing charter so all your gear is included. The Whitsundays are highly regulated as well, so it's important to know where you can and can't fish legally in the area. 


Ride A Jet-Ski

A fun way to spend a day in the Whitsundays is on a jet-ski tour! There is no better way to sightsee by water than on a zippy jet-ski! You can't travel as far on a jet-ski as you can on a boat tour, but this is a great way to explore the coastline of the mainland. And it's an affordable and quick activity to add to your day if you have some downtime. 

Jet Ski

Hang Out In Airlie Beach

Airlie Beach is the "Gateway to the Whitsundays". This small yet lively tourist town on the mainland is usually the first stop for travellers looking to explore the Whitsundays. Full of great restaurants, bars, cafes, shops, and clubs, there is something here for everyone. You can even explore the nearby waterfalls and rural towns if you want to experience more of the culture and scenery of the mainland!

Airlie Beach

Go Hiking

Outdoor enthusiasts wondering what to do in the Whitsundays are spoilt for choice when it comes to hikes! From the mainland to the islands, there are some epic places to hike in the Whitsundays. Near Airlie Beach you can hike to the Honeyeater Lookout of embark on a trek in Conway National Park. Hamilton Island, Hook Island, Whitsunday Island, and the Molle Islands have some incredible hikes as well!


Visit Hamilton Island

One of the most famous islands in the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island is well worth a visit. Famous for its incredible viewpoints, gorgeous beaches, and top-notch resorts, many travellers choose to spend a few days on this fabulous island. There are numerous tourist attractions to enjoy as well as secluded places to soak in the beauty of nature. You can also book tours to the reef and Whitehaven Beach directly from Hamilton Island!

Hamilton island

Learn About The History

An important way to spend some time in the Whitsundays is learning about the history of the area! Like most places in Australia, the Whitsundays were once inhabited by the Ngaro People. These indigenous Australians are the traditional owners of the land, and they had a deep spiritual connection with the natural world here. Book a cultural tour to learn about the history of the area, or visit the fascinating Ngaro Cultural Site on Hook Island. Many attractions around the Whitsundays have informational signs detailing the significance of the Ngaro People, so definitely take the time to read those!

Ngaro Country

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