The Great Barrier Reef is a popular location for world travelers, and the Whitsundays region off the coast of Queensland is an excellent starting place. The Whitsundays themselves are worthy of exploration, and boaters, in particular, will revel in the beauty of their scenic waterways. The Whitsundays is comprised of 74 lovely islands, and make for great sailing due to the combined protection of the Great Barrier Reef and the island bodies themselves. Sailing tours are the most popular choice for visitors to the Whitsunday Islands, but there are many ways to enjoy this breathtaking part of Australia.

Boating in the Whitsunday Islands in Australia

Any traveler enjoying a road trip on the East Coast of Australia will need to make a stop for a Whitsunday Islands boat tour. On a tour, you'll cruise from the Queensland coast into the Whitsunday Islands National Park, making stops for swims and snorkels along the way. The highlight of any trip to the Whitsunday Islands is undoubtedly Whitehaven Beach, considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world. Soak up the sun and enjoy walking in the white silica sand of Whitehaven Beach and wade into the crystal clear waters during your boat trip to the Whitsunday Islands.

To experience it for yourself, you'll have to get to Airlie Beach or Shute Harbour. Airlie Beach is the more popular jumping-off point for tours heading to the Whitsunday Islands. From Airlie Beach, you can charter a yacht, rent a boat, or book a sailing tour for an overnight adventure to the Whitsunday Islands. Airlie Beach offers a range of yacht charters, sailboat rentals, tours, and other experiences that you can book for an excursion to the Whitsunday Islands, as well as Hamilton Island and Hook Island.

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As part of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (and the Cumberland Island Group), the land of the Whitsundays is mostly untouched, allowing for Australia’s raw, natural beauty to shine through. There are ample snorkeling opportunities, as you can explore the reef and enjoy the high visibility in the calm waters within the sheltered bays of the island. Marvel at stingrays and other fish when snorkeling in the Whitsundays.

While not as popular as the regular sailing tours, another great experience you can have from Airlie Beach into the Whitsundays is a fishing charter. On a fishing boat, you can expect to catch all kinds of reef fish, including parrotfish, coral trout, sweetlips, trevally, and tusk fish. The numerous reefs in the area make for rich and diverse fishing territory, and the rockier edges of many islands such as Haselwood Island, Hook Passage, Shute Harbour, and Nara Inlet are great spots to try to make a catch.

Prefer to go scuba diving or book a scuba charter during your trip to the Whitsundays? With countless types of fish and sea creatures and over 600 types of coral, this unbelievable landmark is a diver’s or snorkeler’s ultimate destination. Besides this famous destination, the Ngaro Sea Trail is a lush and meandering self-guided tour that encompasses both scenic pathways and seaways and is ideal for nature lovers who enjoy both hiking and kayaking.

Want to spot a whale in the Whitsundays? Whale watching is possible, if you visit from May through September you'll have a chance to see a humpback whale, as the island waters are a popular calving ground for these migratory creatures.

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Travel Tips for visiting the Whitsundays

No matter if it's technically winter or summer, it's always a good time to visit the Whitsunday Islands. The rainy season runs from November to April, so if traveling during these months you might run into some storms that could impact your boat trip.

Much of the Whitsundays region is protected by natural parks, and it is important to keep this in mind when planning your boating trip and during your stay on the islands. If renting a boat on your own in the Whitsundays, be careful and watch your speed while you are island-hopping as the turtles often like to come to the surface of the water to sunbathe.

When on land, keep in mind the regulations on collecting shells or coral. If you decide to swim, know that stingrays are sometimes found around the islands, so be sure to wear protective clothing and to carry a first aid kit. The waters of the Whitsundays are legendary for their clarity and beauty, and a few precautionary measures can help ensure that you and yours enjoy the safest and best adventure possible.


Boating the Whitsundays Way

The Whitsundays is a magical place that offers boaters the chance to see and experience some of the most beautiful places in the world in a way that is unique and accessible. With so many islands and the closeness of the mainland, there is no shortage of things to do or experiences to enjoy. The Whitsundays are a string of islands with a timeless appeal that brings travelers back time and again as there is simply too much beauty to take in during one boat trip alone. The availability of nearby boat ramps and the existence of several fully-equipped marinas in the island chain ensures that visitors have everything they need for their boat rental. The range of sightseeing opportunities and water activities that the islands provide will help ensure that no passenger leaves disappointed. The Whitsundays should be at the top of any boater’s list of must-see places in both Australia and the world.

Want to book a boat tour of the Whitsundays? Download the GetMyBoat app to search through boat rentals, sailing tours, bareboat charters, and more and book the perfect experience for your time in Australia.