Chances are, if you are visiting iconic Whitehaven Beach, you are going on a sail or a boating adventure out into the Whitsundays. Several tour companies provide multiple tours including day trips out from the iconic Whitehaven Beach to the Whitsunday Islands, which is one of Airlie Beach’s most iconic attractions. Whether you are looking for a day trip, private charter, or even (if you have the money) the million-dollar yacht experience, you can choose your choice of boating trips around the Whitsundays.
In the following section of this post, you will find the best tours that leave from Airlie Beach (mostly taking you to its 74 islands and Great Barrier Reef). Airlie Beach golf course is one of the best places to stay for exploring both the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef, so we wrote an all-in-one guide on all things Airlie — where to stay, what to do when to visit, how to get there, and much more. With the Great Barrier Reef and Whitsundays Islands both in easy reach, as well as a host of activities waiting for you on Airlie Beach itself, you can never run out of things to do in Airlie Beach, Queensland.
Known as the best-loved mainland escape from the gorgeous Whitsunday Islands, Airlie Beach land is a great mix of busy sophistication and relaxed beach city vibes. Airlie Beach may be small, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for with gorgeous natural surroundings, incredible restaurants, a paradisaical-looking island, and always-welcoming locals. The main beach at the heart of Airlie is a gorgeous expanse of palm-lined sand.
If you prefer swimming in the turquoise waters, but do not want to take a drive out to one of the islands, then the best of Airlie Beach beaches to visit is Boathaven beach, a short walk east from the main drag. Dingo Beach has incredible coral reefs to snorkel around, and great views of the ocean and surrounding islands. The amazing Airlie Beach provides an ideal base to explore these famous islands, and most tours begin and end in the city.
While you can snorkel from the beaches of the mainland, it is far better to venture out to the islands and reefs a bit farther. While the turquoise waters and Whitsunday Islands are the biggest drawcards, there is plenty on the mainland too. The Whitsunday mainland is full of gorgeous beaches that are worth exploring.
You will see all of the highlights of Whitsunday, including the stunning Heart Reef, which is visible from just above. The highlight for many is seeing Heart Reef, the little heart-shaped island which everyone falls in love with. You can see the stunning Heart Reef, the Inlet Hill, and the Whitehaven beach while flying over the ocean.
You will also get a glimpse of Whitehaven Beach’s gorgeous coastline on this trip. Despite being just a short walk away from Whitehaven beach, it is not unusual to have this small gem all to yourself, even if the rest of Whitehaven is pretty busy. This little gem is one of Whitsunday’s more underrated beaches.
Boathaven Beach is ideal for relaxing swims, with an enclosed swim zone. If you are looking to swim off your shopping trip, Boathaven Beach is a beautiful stretch of white sand and a refreshing ocean just beyond the markets. The iconic Whitehaven beach is located right on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, so you are going to get some incredible opportunities for snorkeling and getting up close to the marine creatures that call the place home.
Thanks to Airlie Beach is just a stone’s throw away from the Great Barrier Reef, it goes without saying that the Whitsunday’s underwater opportunities are amongst the world’s best. Ocean Rafts can take you out to Whitsunday Island faster, and due to their smaller size, can be pulled straight into Airlie Beach (larger boats need to go out from Tongue Bay, at the opposite end of the island).
You can visit Hamilton Island for a day and use resort facilities using a Whitsunday Islands Hopper Pass from Airlie Beach Town, and it is a good way to get an idea of luxury, without actually staying there. Once you get to Hamilton Island, you can enjoy Hamilton Island Resorts swimming pool and beaches at your convenience.
The Whitsundays is home to extensive barrier reefs, gorgeous beaches, protected bays, and coves that are perfect for quiet anchorages overnight, making them some of the best places in the world for sailing. On a Whitsunday sailing adventure, you will dock in isolated coves to snorkel with colorful fish and stop by iconic spots such as Whitehaven Beach, where you can relax on the white silica sands and swim in the crystal-clear waters. There are a few well-known parts of Whitsundays you will hear people talking about — like Whitehaven Beach — and plenty of tours take you there.
Jump in the car instead, and drive down to the tropical city of Bowen (located on the upper end of the Whitsunday coast), where you can weave through eight gorgeous beaches, snorkel colorful coral reefs, and dine on fresh-caught seafood. Located at the center of Airlie Beach, it is the ultimate chillout destination for spending an afternoon swimming in its big pool, basking in the sunshine, and taking in the gorgeous views. Get out there and explore by walking around Conway National Park, otherwise known as The Great Whitsunday Walking Trail. From family-friendly spots such as Boathaven Beach to the scenic Honeyeater Lookout, Airlie has a lot of cool spots to explore.