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How to Spend 1 Day in the Whitsundays

How to Spend 1 Day in the Whitsundays

Beloved by sunseekers, divers, yachters, and adventurers, the Whitsunday Islands are one of Australia’s most alluring destinations. With just one day to spare, you’ll likely be based in Airlie Beach on the mainland, but there are still many opportunities to explore the islands. Here’s how to make the most of 24 hours in the Whitsundays.

Morning: Get Out Onto the Water

Either spend the whole day cruising around the Whitsundays, or break up your day into several different excursions. Full-day catamaran tours typically leave from the Airlie Beach area in the early morning and take you sailing, swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing all around the Whitsundays and the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef. An onboard lunch is often included. Otherwise, take a much shorter jet-skiing excursion around the islands, with options to explore South Molle and Daydream islands, Long Island, or Paradise Cove Resort in Airlie Beach.

Afternoon: Fly Over the Islands

If you’re not already on a full-day boat tour, head for Whitsunday Airport (most tour operators provide transfers) and board a small plane for a bird’s-eye view of the reef and islands. Short sightseeing flights typically fly over landmarks such as the aptly named heart-shaped Heart Reef, the sparkling Whitehaven Beach, Daydream Island, and Hill Inlet. Usually, all passengers have window seats for unobstructed views. To extend your trip, options include touching down on Whitehaven Beach, with time for swimming and snorkeling, or landing on the water at Hardy Lagoon, where you embark on a glass-bottom boat excursion before flying back to the airport.

Night: Glide Into Sunset

Head back onto solid ground and round out an action-packed day with a guided Segway tour that goes from Airlie Beach to Cannonvale. Typically happening around sunset, these tours often take you along the Whitsunday Bicentennial Boardwalk, and past Pioneer Bay, Shingley Beach, and the Whitsunday Botanic Gardens. Some tours wrap up at a local restaurant, where you can grab a bite to eat and toast the sun setting over the offshore islands.

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3 Tours and Activities

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Great Barrier Reef Day Cruise to Reefworld

Great Barrier Reef Day Cruise to Reefworld

star-4.5
368
Get close views of the spectacular coral reef and colorful sea creatures at Australia's famous Great Barrier Reef on a full-day journey to Reefworld. The innovative and spacious pontoon provides gear, instruction and expert guides for snorkeling and diving in the tropical waters. Alternatively, observe the reef up-close without getting wet when taking a semi-submersible ride, accompanied by informative commentary by reef experts. This tour gives you the chance to experience this natural wonder and is suitable for all levels of experience.
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  • 10 hours
From
$212.04
From
$212.04

Whitsunday Islands Sailing Adventure

Whitsunday Islands Sailing Adventure

star-5
208
Discover the Whitsunday Islands on a sailing day trip from Port. You can swim in the turquoise water, soak up the salty sea air as you zoom across the water by high-speed catamaran and be wowed by the islands’ most famous natural sight, Whitehaven Beach. Lunch, snacks and refreshments are included throughout the day.
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  • 10 hours
From
$158.84
From
$158.84

One Way Shared Arrival Transfer: Proserpine Airport to Airlie Beach & Surrounds

One Way Shared Arrival Transfer: Proserpine Airport to Airlie Beach & Surrounds

star-4.5
33
Start your Aussie vacation as soon as you land by pre-booking this convenient shared arrival transfer from Proserpine Airport (PPP). Meet your driver on arrival at the airport and travel directly to your Airlie Beach or Shute Harbor hotel in a comfortable, air-conditioned shuttle, with a maximum of 24 passengers. Save both time and money with either a one-way or round-trip transfer and maximize your time at the beach.
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  • 40 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$16.72
From
$16.72