Author – Ayla Wilde
Date Published 7/3/2021
Whitehaven Beach Tours
Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays are home to the best cruises and adventure tours in Australia
When you envision our beautifully idyllic and picturesque island home of Australia, you think of long stretches of sandy white beaches with stunning turquoise crystal clear waters you can’t wait to dive under – right? Well if you could paint that picture, I could almost guarantee you it would look exactly like the incredible 7.9km stretch of Whitehaven Beach in far north Queensland, currently voted one of the best beaches in the world. A Whitehaven beach tour to those famous swirling silica sands is an absolute bucket-list moment, the sand is so pure and fine it’s even a natural exfoliant and jewellery cleaner! But we’ll tell you more about that once we’ve got you here.
There are a few different ports you can access Whitehaven from, however, Airlie Beach is the main departure point for all Whitehaven Beach tours, and offers a variety of tours that appeal to any age demographic, gender and style
Prosail Whitsundays sailing experts
The Best Whitehaven Beach Tours Departing Airlie Beach
First and foremost there is of course us, Prosail Whitsundays.
I know we’re a little bias, but hear us out – it’s arguably the best way to visit the islands as you get to spend the equivalent of a whole day on Whitehaven, soaking it up in all it’s natural beauty at both ends (being 7.9kms you need two stops to visit each end!).
We already allowed 3 hours at the north end of Whitehaven on our old trips, giving you plenty of time to snap your new Instagram-worthy profile pictures at the stunning Hill Inlet lookout and then another 2+ hours on the beach frolicking in the turquoise waters in a true pinch-yourself-to-know-it’s-real destination. But with our new and improved longer trips, you not only get to do this, but we also give you another 2+ hours at South Whitehaven, with an option to visit the lookout there to get a birds-eye view in reverse of the beach.
It means no rushing – which is what we’re all about. We want to make sure you can fully immerse yourself in all its beauty, and trust us in saying you’ll want this too – after all, you’ve flown all this way haven’t you? All of our liveaboard trips (now including Whitsundays Freediving Tour) are inclusive of all food, bedding and equipment too.
For more information on our tours and how to book, see our homepage
2. ZigZag Whitsundays
If you can’t take the extra time off work to experience a liveaboard trip, or you’re after a more family-friendly option, then we highly recommend ZigZag Whitsundays Day Tour.
They run a brilliant fun and adventurous fast day trip on a motorboat, that is appropriate for all ages and abilities. Departing at 8 am and returning at 4 pm, it brings all the key highlights into one day tour for you – Whitehaven Beach, the south end lookout, a guided snorkel, PLUS – exclusive to ZigZag, a stopover to the idyllic boutique Palm Bay Resort on Long Island.
3. Camira Whitsundays
3. If you’re after a day sailing trip that is still all age-appropriate, the catamaran Camira operated by Cruise Whitsundays is a great option. You’ll have slightly less time at each destination and it returns a little later at 6 pm, but you get to experience what this little sailing town is known for as they set sails and take you on a smooth and comfortable tour to Whitehaven beach and for a snorkel.
Lay back on the nets and bask in the sun as you peacefully sail into the Whitsunday Islands, you can even knock back a glass of wine or beer from the inclusive bar if that’s what tickles your fancy. Don’t forget this one departs from Port of Airlie rather than Coral Sea Marina!
Whitehaven Beach Tours Departing Hamilton Island:
Although Airlie Beach is the main departure port for Whitehaven Beach tours, you can also access Whitehaven from Hamilton Island.
So if you’re planning an island resort vacay, sipping on cocktails by the pool under the shade of the palm trees, rest assured you can still tick off your bucket list Whitehaven tour direct from there. Cruise Whitsundays offer ferries between all the islands, so you can mix it up a little if you fancy one of the trips from Airlie Beach more – otherwise here are some of your options from Hamilton Island (nicknamed Hamo by the locals – we all know how Aussie’s like to shorten every word possible):
1. Reef Rider
1. Reef Ryder is one of the main tours operating out of Hamilton Island, they offer an adventurous tour suitable for all ages on a highspeed motor boat (similar to that of ZigZags from Airlie Beach).
They also offer two different trips depending on what you’re after and how much time you have: the half-day tours depart at 9 am and return at 12 pm or from 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm – so there’s flexibility depending on what works best for your schedule. This tour offers a snorkel local to the southern end of Whitsunday Island and takes you to South Whitehaven and up to the lookout there, but not to North Whitehaven or to Hill Inlet lookout.
So if you want that iconic view then you’ll need the full day tour 9.30 am-4.30 pm, which does all of the above and also goes to Hill Inlet.
2. Cruise Whitsundays
Cruise Whitsundays also offer a tour from Hamilton Island that visits both ends of Whitehaven so lots of time to hang out on the beach, and included in the ticket price is a gourmet BBQ on the beach – it doesn’t get more typically Australian than that.
This tour however doesn’t offer a snorkel, so again something you need to weigh up with your preferences when you’re deciding to book.
3. Explore Whitsundays
I don’t want to overwhelm you with too many options, so lastly I’ll leave you with Explore. They also offer a variety of trip lengths and activity inclusions, but if you’re after a half-day that ticks off the Whitehaven beach tour experience of a swim and relax on the sand and a bushwalk up to Hill Inlet, then this is the one for you. It departs at either 8 am -12 pm or 12.30 am – 4.30 pm (subject to tides) and simply takes you to explore the iconic and most visited area of Whitehaven Beach. You can then pair it with a snorkel tour if you feel like adding that on (or weigh it up with the above options).
Being a major tourist destination (and the fact you get to live up the high life on an Island in the middle of the tropics, cruising around on golf buggies) Hamilton Island actually offers an extensive variety of tour options to Whitehaven beach and more. It’s a great destination for couples and families who just want to chill out and do day trips. For a full list of all their tour options, jump over to their website and have a look (there’s a lot to choose from).
You can also visit Whitehaven from the other two island resorts currently in operation – Daydream Island and Palm Bay Resort Long Island (this one I mentioned earlier – Palm Bay with ZigZag tours).
Whitehaven Beach Scenic Flight
The last option I want to leave you with is seeing Whitehaven from above.
It’s absolutely incredible and well worth the splurge, there are options to do it via either helicopter, seaplane or a scenic flight from either Hamilton Island or from Airlie Beach. Prices vary depending on the tour you book, but you’re looking at anywhere from $200 to $600 dollars per person dependant on the experience you’re after.
You can find a list of these options from the link I provided for Hamilton Island’s website above, or if you’re looking to depart from Airlie Beach we recommend booking Fly Australia charters Whitsundays Scenic Flight.
Have a little explore around your options and look at the various websites so you can get a feel for what company feels like the best fit for you, but whichever you decide- Whitehaven Beach Tour is a must for your trip to the Whitsundays.