The Whitsundays offers many diverse experiences from land, sea, and air to suit every visitor and budget. Whether you’re choosing a half-day experience, a multiple-night sailing adventure, an action-packed thrill ride or a tranquil camping experience in incredible National Parks, you will find it all here in the Heart of the Great Barrier Reef.
With so much to do and so much to see year-round, many people ask; when is the best time of year to visit The Whitsundays and how many days do you need while you’re here? Thanks to the reliably sunny weather, The Whitsundays is a perfect place to visit all year round with 300 days of sunshine on average. Each season in The Whitsundays offers visitors unique conditions, so be sure to pair the season with your style of holiday. The Whitsundays offers whale watching in the Winter, hot tropical Summers and tranquil action-packed shoulder seasons with 25-degree water year-round.
As for the length of stay, you don’t want to cut yourself short on time, so we recommend you stay for a short break or an extended holiday in this gorgeous region to see/do all you can! Keep in mind, you can always add more days to continue your search for the ultimate Whitsundays stay…or just come back again!
Year-round The Whitsundays has a wide variety of experiences to choose from… so filling your itinerary with fun things to do won’t be an issue. Rain or shine, you will find something for everyone; we recommend following your own feelings of creativity and choosing experiences that make your heart sing! Not only are there almost endless experiences, but there is also a busy schedule of events happening across the entire region.
Airlie Beach is a magnet for travellers domestic and international alike and is otherwise known as the launchpad to the Whitsunday Islands, with the greatest variety of tours departing from this hub. Airlie Beach is a playground for all holiday itineraries, bordered on one side by the Coral Sea and surrounded by Conway National Park. From backpackers to luxury, bareboating, multi-day cruises and incredible day experiences snorkelling on fringing reefs, spotting turtles, swimming with the fishes and relaxing on iconic beaches, there truly is something for everyone. Within Airlie Beach, there are plenty of free activities to do all year round to make the most of your time, such as bushwalking and hikes to keep you on the move. Cooling off is always an option in The Whitsundays, explore stunning beaches and the free Airlie Beach Lagoon situated right off the main street of Airlie Beach with ocean views and varying pool depths.
There are plenty of Whitsunday tours to sweep you off your feet if you’re sick of walking; you will find electric scooters, and guided Tuk-Tuk or Segway tours.
Airlie beach is also home to a plethora of delicious restaurants with cuisines of Italian, Latino, Asian, euro and Australian to name a few. Whatever your tastebuds desire, kick back and watch the sunset at one of the many oceanfront restaurants/bars.
For those who wish to explore a little further, The Whitsundays is a hugely diverse and wide-spanning area. Although Airlie Beach can be considered the region’s hub, the surrounding areas have plenty to see. Take a drive to the gorgeous Cedar Creek Falls for a freshwater dip or head out to Proserpine and hop on board the Whitsunday Crocodile Safari, spot estuarine crocodiles on their Proserpine River cruise and explore the Goorganga Plains wetland habitat on the tractor-drawn wagon tour.
If that is not your style don’t forget there is a freshwater dam, Lake Proserpine (Peter Faust Dam)that is perfect for camping, water sports and freshwater fishing. In fact, Lake Proserpine is renowned for having more barramundi over a metre in length than any other impoundment in Australia!
Situated in the northern area of The Whitsundays you will find Bowen, famous for its Big Mango, crystal-clear waters, amazing produce, and super fresh seafood. Bowen is a coastal town surrounded by gorgeous blue water beaches, each with its own charm offering you a secluded sanctuary for you and your family.
The beautiful coastline provides the most magical snorkelling spots, where you can snorkel straight off the beach. Relax and swim around, taking in the stunning sights of the coral reef and marine life.
If you’ve got the inkling to head west and explore even more, Collinsville is the place to go. Collinsville is located only 85km west of Bowen, the scenic drive will see you travel through orchards and farmland teeming with wildlife. This close-knit community always offers a friendly and warm welcome to its many visitors just far enough away from the tourist hubs to be a country retreat. Stay at one of the old-style hotels/motels and explore the rich history this town has to offer.
Don’t forget, if you are exploring a little further into The Whitsundays region have a listen to the Storytowns self-driving podcast. They will teach you about the rich history of these townships and give you even more things to do while you are here!
The Whitsundays is of course home to the famous 74 wonderful islands. Most of these are uninhabited national parks, however, there are five islands that are home to beautiful island resorts all unique and offering different holiday styles. These island resorts are; Hamilton Island; InterContinental Hayman Island Resort; Daydream Island Resort and Living Reef; Camp Island Lodge and Elysian Retreat & Palm Bay Resort which are both on Long Island.
Many local tour operators are available to take you on a guided tour of the famous spots and local’s secrets of the Whitsunday Islands. Each island has its own personal charm, so we highly recommend taking the time to explore each of these tropical paradises at your leisure.
For many, the spectacular ocean waters and the Great Barrier Reef are the drawing card for The Whitsundays. Let us list a few of the best ways to make use of your time in The Whitsundays. Sail through the 74 island wonders and head for the horizon on a multi-day sailing expedition, watch the sunset dip behind the islands and catch the sunrise the next morning. Only have one day to spare? Jump on a day tour and sink your toes into the soft silica sands of Whitehaven Beach and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef.
Then smile for the camera and capture the famous Instagram pic at the Hill Inlet Lookout with a ‘no filter needed’ picture-perfect panoramic view. But it doesn’t stop there, island-hop along the islands by boat or jet-ski. All of the islands have something different to offer.
The Great Barrier Reef is the largest reef system in the world, stretching over 2,600km. With a wide range of tours available to get you out to the reef, you can create the perfect reef experience for you. Take to the skies and see the reef from above (including the iconic Heart Reef, only found in The Whitsundays!), cruise along the ocean or jump into the water and snorkel with the fish. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Enough about what we think, The Whitsundays is jammed packed with things to do! We have gone ahead and listed just some of the amazing experiences to help inspire your inner adventurer; Bareboating; Bike and Hike Tours; Eco-tours; Fishing Tours; Golfing; Island Camping; Jetboat Tours; Jetski Tours; Overnight Sailing; Private Boat Charters; Sailing Tours; Scenic Cruises; Scenic Flights; Sea Kayaking Tours; Segway Tours; Skydiving; Snorkelling and Diving Tours; and TukTuk Tours. Within each of these segments, there are almost countless variations.
Remember, at the end of the day, the key to finding the best Whitsundays experience is to choose your own adventure. Don’t wait any longer, experience The Whitsundays now!