We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Help with Planning my 3 days in the Whitsundays!

Hereford
Level Contributor
148 posts
24 reviews
Save Topic
Help with Planning my 3 days in the Whitsundays!

Hi There

We are visiting Queensland in August for a road trip from Brisbane to Cairns and stopping off for 3 nights at Airlie Beach to take in a little of the Whitsundays. We have 2 full days and a 3rd day where we will be driving to Townsville for the ferry to Magnetic Island at the end of the day so I’m looking at the best way to fill those days. The range of possible trips and excursions is huge so I’m hoping some TA advice will help me narrow things down 

We are very much the outdoor types keen on seeing the natural side of the Whitsundays. Some of the places/activities we’d thought of were:

Whitehaven Beach

Snorkelling on the Island reefs

Snorkelling on the outer reef

Walking on one of the islands especially if it’s possible to climb one of the island peaks or take in some rainforest scenery

A Guided kayak trip (day or half day)

I’d thought of one of the Ocean Rafting trips as they look fun in the faster boat and seems to tick the boxes for Whitehaven and snorkelling but I’ve read their day is a little shorter than some. I’ve also been looking for a day sailing trip but not yet found one. I was also wondering if it’s possible to take a ferry-style crossing to one of the islands and just do our own thing while there, perhaps find a quieter spot if they exist!

With regards to an outer reef trip we are visiting Lady Elliot Island in the south and also planning on taking a reef trip from either Port Douglas, Cape Tribulation and Mission Beach. I’m not sure if the reef edge at the Whitsunday’s offers anything better or different to the other locations

Really appreciate any suggestions on the best way to make use of these 3 days

Cheers

Andy

Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
268 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Help with Planning my 3 days in the Whitsundays!

Personally I wouldn't bother about snorkeling in the Whitsunday's. Lady Elliot has amazing snorkeling off the shore and the outer reef from Port Douglas also has fantastic snorkeling, although expensive to get out there. Have you considered staying on Hamilton Island instead of Airlie? Whitsundays is great for sailing, kayaking, long boarding that sort of thing but I found the snorkeling and diving underwhelming, especially compared to Lady Elliot. I know from Hamilton people were taking kayaks and small sail boats to other islands. Whitehaven is a beautiful beach but for me still just a nice beach like many areas of the coast. I enjoyed the actual sail trip out to Whitehaven more than the beach. Another alternative is doing a one or two night sailing trip from Airlie. Sounds like a great trip though either way.

Hereford
Level Contributor
148 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Help with Planning my 3 days in the Whitsundays!

Thanks for the tips

We did consider an overnight sailing trip but as a young family we didn't feel our kids were quite old enough yet. I think I'm settilng on either a day trip to Whitehaven, plus a day on Long Island by ferry (that gives us a bit of flexibility to change plans), and a day with Ocean Rafting as that looks like fun!

As we are planning a Reef trip from 2 out Mission Beach, Cape Tribulation and Port Douglas I was wondering if the reef at the Whitsundays offered anything different but my preference was always to explore the islands

Cheers

Andy

Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
1,792 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Help with Planning my 3 days in the Whitsundays!

<<Walking on one of the islands especially if it’s possible to climb one of the island peaks or take in some rainforest scenery.>>

Many of the trips out to Whitehaven Beach also stop at Hill Inlet, and from the shore there (Tongue Bay) it's about a 15-minute walk to a lookout which is highly recommended. I would suggest checking for a trip that does this. Even with younger kids it should be doable, and I think it will tick these boxes for you.

Alternatively you could do a day trip to Hamilton Island, though the fares on the ferry might make this prohibitive, given it doesn't include any other activities. However there is a bus around the island and some nice walks you can do. It's not very isolated though. Long Island I don't know so much about.

<< I’ve also been looking for a day sailing trip but not yet found one. >>

You'll find that day trips to Whitehaven from the mainland are typically done on fast motor catamarans. The tides and conditions are such that slower sailing yachts can't reliably make the trip in a single day - it's a significant distance across the Whitsunday Passage, and the smaller passages between islands can have tidal currents up to 7 knots, so you need a lot of power to push against them. (On a private or multi day sailing trip you have more scope to alter the timing of your trip to match the tides, but the day trips have to match a schedule.) There may be some boats that have both strong engines and sails, and use the sails for part of the trip, but I'm not aware of any doing day trips.

Port Sydney, Canada
2 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Help with Planning my 3 days in the Whitsundays!

Marked

Hereford
Level Contributor
148 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Help with Planning my 3 days in the Whitsundays!

Thanks Jeremy, lots of ideas to work with there. As always with these trips 3 days just isn't enough. My hope is that in the 4 weeks I'm in Queensland I'll come up with enough holiday ideas to last me a lifetime

The Hill Inlet walk is one I'd love to do so hopefully I can find a way to fit that in

Andy

6. Re: Help with Planning my 3 days in the Whitsundays!

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 18 June 2015, 05:16
Get answers to your questions about Airlie Beach