Whitehaven Beach Half Day Trip
This Whitehaven Beach Half Day trip takes us to one of the most stunning destinations in the Whitsunday Islands Region.
The Whitsundays are a collection of 74 islands off the coast of Central Queensland. They are some of the most beautiful islands you will find in all of Australia. White sand, clear water and blue sky. The perfect Aussie summer escape.
The most famous island in the region is Whitsunday Island. On Whitsunday Island, there is a perfect 7km stretch of the finest and whitest sand in Australia. This is called Whitehaven Beach.
In fact, the sand at Whitehaven Beach is so white that it never gets hot. Almost all the sunlight reflects off the sand. That means you can walk around barefoot, even in the middle of summer, without ever burning the bottom of your feet.
The water at Whitehaven Beach is the clearest you will find in Australia too. As you swim out in the ocean, you will notice the water is just like swimming in a huge pool. Even from the boat, you will see straight down to the bottom of the sandy white ocean floor.
Behind the beach is a tropical forest of mixed palm trees and eucalyptus trees. It is a proper Aussie bush setting which really makes this island feel like something straight out of castaway.
The last time I had found an island this remote was in Thailand. A secluded island in the Andaman Sea called Koh Adang.
What to do on Whitehaven Beach
Though Whitehaven Beach is located near the Great Barrier Reef, there is actually no snorkelling or scuba diving here. The ocean is just fine white sand for as far as you can see.
One of the popular activities for the Whitehaven Beach full day trip is to visit the Tongue Point Lookout, which overlooks the stunning Hill Inlet. A short hike leads to the top of the mountain, which offers a fantastic view over the estuary below.
Note: the lookout is not included in Whitehaven Beach half day trips.
The most common thing to do on your Whitehaven Beach half day trip is just chill on the beach. The southern end of the beach, where the boats typically drop you off, offers beach volleyball, music and tents for some shade.
Discover: Great Beaches on the Great Ocean Road
If you want to get some cool drinks like beers, then you will have to head back to the bar on the boat where a drink will typically cost you AUD 7 or more.
Do you plan to go swimming off Whitehaven Beach? Between November and May is stinger season (jellyfish season). If you did not know already, northern Queensland is home to two of the world’s most deadly marine animals; the Box Jellyfish and the Irudkanji. A sting from either of these can kill you in minutes.
If you plan to go swimming in the ocean off Whitehaven beach during stinger season it is advise to wear a “stinger suit.” It is pretty much a full body swimsuit, which covers even your toes and fingers.
How to get to Whitehaven Beach
Whitehaven Beach is located on Whitsunday Island, about 1.5 hours from Airlie Beach by boat. The most common way of getting to Whitehaven Beach is by charter boat.
There are no standard ferries running between Airlie Beach and Whitehaven Beach, so unfortunately prices are going to be a bit higher than you expect. Cruise Whitsundays is the most popular ferry company running full day and half-day trips.
Another way of getting to the Whitsundays is to rent your own sailing boat for the weekend. Though it may sound expensive, boats are available from Airlie Beach from AUD 700 per night, which sleep up to 8 people. Not too bad if you manage to split the fees.
How Much Does a Whitehaven Beach Trip Cost?
A full day trip with multiple stops around the island and lunch included costs about AUD 179. A half-day trip with only one stop on Whitehaven Beach itself costs about AUD 99. These prices are booked directly at the ferry terminal at the Port of Airlie.
Booking a half or full day trip at a tourist agent or backpackers on the main strip of Airlie Beach adds a 10% to 20% margin for the agent.
Insider tip: make your booking direct at the ferry terminal to save
Where to Stay in the Whitsundays
Whitsunday Island is uninhabited. That means there are no hotels available on Whitehaven Beach, or the rest of Whitsunday Island. While that may disappoint you now, you will soon notice this is part of what makes the island so special.
If you are looking for accommodation under AUD 100 per night, your best bet is to book in Airlie Beach. There are backpacker dorms available in town from AUD 29.
Just a few kilometres outside of Airlie Beach you will find “tourist parks” such as the Kipara Rainforest Retreat where single rooms are available from AUD 59, or the Island Getaway where you can park your campervan from AUD 30 per night with all amenities provided.
Where to Next?
What are your plans after Whitehaven Beach and the Whitsundays Region? If you are heading north to Townsville, be sure to check out my guide to Magnetic Island. This is one of Australia’s most underrated attractions.
Further north still are the amazing waterfalls in the Atherton Tablelands. Located just an hour west of Cairns, this is a road trip not to miss.