The Ultimate Whitsundays 5-day Itinerary: Exactly how to spend 5 days in the Whitsundays

Are you thinking of heading to Queensland soon and looking for the ultimate Whitsundays 5-day itinerary? You have come to the right place!

The Whitsundays is a destination that offers up a variety of experiences.

Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly beach holiday, a romantic getaway with your significant other or an adventure-packed excursion, it can all be found in the beautiful Whitsundays.

Since there are so many things to do in the Whitsundays, it can be hard to decide what to do. This is when this Whitsundays 5-day itinerary will come in handy.

It will tell you exactly how to spend 5 days in the Whitsundays and make the best of your time there.

You can use this itinerary exactly how it is or make some alterations to make me more yours.

So, are you ready to discover the ultimate 5 days itinerary for the Whitsunday Islands? Let’s get started!

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Whitsundays 5 day itinerary ideas

How to get to the Whitsundays

The first thing you need to do is get to the Whitsundays.

There are a few different ways you can do this. You can fly into Proserpine Airport, which is located just outside of Airlie Beach, and then take a connecting shuttle bus or taxi to Airlie Beach.

PRO TIP: This itinerary is based on the fact that you will be staying in Airlie Beach. Accommodation on the mainland is cheaper and you will find so many options in terms of tours that it makes an excellent base for exploring the islands.

Another option is to fly into Hamilton Island Airport and stay in one of the wonderful resorts there. This is a better option if you want to relax and mainly spend time on Hamilton Island and less time exploring the Whitsundays as a whole.

No matter what though, you can always take a ferry over to the mainland.

There are flights available from all the main airports in Australia including Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne.

PRO TIP: If you are planning to stay on Hamilton Island, make sure to fly straight there. The flights may be a tiny bit more expensive however, you will save money on transport and more importantly, it will save you time.

Where to stay in the Whitsundays

Now that you know how to get to the Whitsundays, it’s time to decide where to stay.

Again, there are a few different options. You can stay on the mainland, in Airlie Beach, or on one of the main islands such as Hamilton, Hayman or Daydream Island.

I particularly recommend staying in Airlie Beach if you want to explore the islands and the coast. Accommodation is much cheaper and you can easily access everything you need.

Here are some recommendations of places to stay in Airlie Beach:

  • Airlie Beach Hotel is ideally located in the heart of the town and only a couple of minutes’ drive from the marina. It has everything you may need including a swimming pool.
  • Mirage Whitsundays is a bit further out (but still only 5 minutes from the town) and is the perfect choice for people who would rather be renting a holiday apartment with sea views.

The island resorts have everything from luxury accommodation and private beaches to activities. They are excellent options for people who want to spend more time on the islands and just chill.

They are particularly popular for honeymoons. If you opt for one of them though, make sure to remove some day trips from our itinerary since you will want to spend more time in the resort.

The best ones are:

The Ultimate 5-day Whitsundays Itinerary

Now that you know all of this, it’s time to get down to business and discover the perfect 5-day Whitsundays itinerary.

Whitsundays Itinerary Day 1: Scenic Flight and Airlie Beach

whiteheaven scenic flight

Your first day in the Whitsundays will be the one where you start soaking up the atmosphere.

No need to rush into a day tour for today, this will only create stress and chances are that you won’t be flying in early enough anyway.

Instead, we recommend booking a scenic flight of the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef.

This will give you a good idea of what the islands are like and what you will get to explore in the next few days.

The scenic flight is operated by GSL Aviation. They provide loads of tours from Proserpine airport and are, by far, one of the best companies in the Whitsundays.

The scenic flight lasts 1 hour so it’s a good way to start easy while being mind-blown by the surroundings.

You need to book your flight in advance online. Once it’s done, you will be given all the instructions but in short, you will be starting at Proserpine airport.

As you get there, you’ll go through some security checks and will then board the aircraft.

It’s only for 6 people which means that you will all have your own window!

The pilot will act as your guide. He will tell you everything you need to know about the Whitsundays and the Great Barrier Reef. He will also tell you where to look, which is quite handy!

It’s also the only way you can get to see the heart reef in all its beauty since you need to be high enough to see the shape (the only other option would be a helicopter ride but that’s more expensive).

READ MORE: Airlie Beach Scenic Flight Review: Flying above the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef

If you are more of a thrill-seeker and would rather opt for an adrenaline-filled activity, you can go for the skydive in Airlie Beach instead.

This is one of the best places in Australia to go skydiving and you won’t be disappointed.

READ MORE: Airlie Beach Skydive Review: Is Skydiving in Airlie Beach with Skydive Australia worth it? [Ultimate Guide + Tips]

In the afternoon, make your way to Airlie Beach. This is the main town in the Whitsundays and where you will find all the restaurants, shops and activities.

Some things you can do include:

  • Airlie Beach lagoon. This is a great spot for people who want to go for a swim and relax a bit.
  • Bicentennial Walkway. If you are up for a walk, make sure to head there. The views are so beautiful!
  • Shopping. Airlie Beach is home to loads of local and souvenir shops.
  • Restaurants. There’s no shortage of restaurants in Airlie Beach. Whether you’re looking for a casual meal or something more formal, you’ll be able to find it here.
  • Water Activities. From jet skiing and parasailing to sailing and swimming, there are plenty of water activities to choose from in Airlie Beach.
  • Sunset cruise. In the evening, if you want to start discovering the islands and enjoy the beautiful colours of the sunset, you can opt for a sunset cruise from Airlie Beach.

READ MORE: 25 Best Things to do in Airlie Beach, Queensland

Whitsundays Itinerary Day 2: Whitehaven Beach

Whitehaven beach in the Whitsundays

On your second day, you will be exploring one of the most famous beaches in the world: Whitehaven Beach.

This is a must-see for everyone who visits the Whitsundays and it’s definitely the highlight.

Whitehaven beach is the beach you see on every Australian postcard. It’s 2 kilometres long and the sand is made of 98% of silica (quartz powder) meaning it’s very white and soft.

To get there, you will need to take a boat tour from Airlie Beach. This is the only way to visit since there aren’t any ferries going to Whitsunday Island (where Whitehaven beach is).

I particularly recommend booking the overnight cruise Summertime. It’s one of the best sailing trips in the Whitsundays and very good value for money.

If you opt for this cruise, the activities on day 2 and day 3 will be included.

Also, you’ll get to spend the night on the boat which is a unique experience.

READ MORE: Summertime Whitsundays Review: the best overnight sailing trip in the Whitsundays

If you don’t want to go on an overnight trip, it’s no problem, you can simply book a day trip from Airlie Beach.

The best ones are Ocean Rafting and Thunder Cat.

They both provide a similar experience, the only main difference is the type of vessel they use.

You will be leaving in the morning from Port of Airlie and sail towards Whitsunday Island.

hill inlet whitehaven beach

You will then leave the boat, join the island and start exploring the National Park.

The guide will take you on the bush walk which leads to Hill Inlet. S/he will explain everything you need to know about the island but also about the native-Australian culture here.

As you get to Hill Inlet lookout, you will uncover what is, without the shadow of a doubt, the most beautiful view in Australia!

From there you can see the beach but also the delta with the crystal clear water swirling into the sand.

It’s absolutely stunning!

After that, you will go down to the beach and enjoy some relaxing time.

This means that you can go for a swim, play with the sand, walk around or simply work on your tan!

If you’ve opted for the Summertime cruise, the crew will take with them a waterproof camera so they can take photos of you and you don’t have to risk losing your phone.

They also make sure they take some cool photos of the group.

Finally, they will provide wet suits so you can go swimming safely.

While the Whitsundays are a fairly safe place to swim, it is recommended to wear a wet suit, especially in winter!

Whitsundays Itinerary Day 3: Snorkelling, scuba diving and/or kayaking

The third day is all about activities on the water. The Whitsundays are a paradise for people who love water activities so you can be sure to be in for a treat!

There are a few different options you can choose from including snorkelling, scuba diving and kayaking.

They all have their benefits and it really depends on what you want to do and see.

If you’ve opted for the Summertime cruise, you will go snorkelling in Butterfly Bay on Hook Island (one of the best snorkelling spots in the Whitsundays) but will also go on a guided kayaking tour.

This is particularly cool because you get to see sea turtles and sting rays swimming underneath your kayak.

If you didn’t go for the Summertime cruise, that’s entirely fine, you can book one of the following activities.

  • The Tongarra day trip. This is another famous day tour from Airlie Beach. You will be sailing all day around the Whitsundays and discover some lesser known spots. In terms of snorkelling, you will be stopping in different spots including Hook Island, Langford and the Black Islands.
  • Jet ski safari tour around the South Molle Islands. Perfect for people who want to have fun.
  • ReefWorld Pontoon tour. This is ideal for people who want to discover the Outer Great Barrier Reef. You will go to the Reefworld pontoon. From there, you can go snorkelling, scuba diving or simply enjoy the views of the Great Barrier Reef.

Whitsundays Itinerary Day 4: Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island in Australia

The fourth day is all about Hamilton Island.

This is the most famous island in the Whitsundays and a popular destination for honeymoons.

The setting is idyllic and you will feel relaxed as soon as you get there.

This is one of the only islands that is connected with a ferry from Airlie Beach which means that you can take it at your pace and explore Hamilton Island on your own terms.

No need to book a tour! Just take it easy.

You will need to book tickets for the ferry and take it from Port of Airlie.

Once you arrive at the marina of Hamilton Island, you can take the shuttle service or simply walk around.

The island is quite small so you can see most of it in a day.

The first place where you should go is Catseye Beach. This is one of the best beaches in the Whitsundays and it feels like you’ve just landed in the Maldives!

You can choose to just relax and enjoy a good swim but if you are up for some water activities such as kayaking or SUP, that’s also an option.

Your island hopper ticket will also give you access to the facilities of Hamilton Island resorts so don’t hesitate to go to the pool at the Reef View hotel or even get some food at the restaurant.

If you want to explore a bit more, you can hike up to Peak Passage.

For wonderful views, head to to One Tree Hill. The views from this lookout are stunning and you can also get some drinks there if you want.

READ MORE: 12 Best Things to do in Hamilton Island

Whitsundays Itinerary Day 5: Daydream Island (Option 1)

daydream island things to do

The fifth day of your Whitsunday itinerary is all about Daydream Island.

This is one of the smallest inhabited islands in the Whitsundays and it only takes a 30 minutes to get there from Airlie Beach.

You can book the island hopper pass here as well. Like for Hamilton, it will give you access to the ferry as well as the facilities of Daydream Island resort.

This island is perfect for people who want a bit of luxury in their lives, relax for a bit and stay away from the crowds.

It’s a small island and a lot of visitors don’t bother to come but it’s well worth your time.

It’s a bit like a smaller and more welcoming version of Hamilton Island.

As you get to the island, head straight to the resort. You can get a nice lunch at the restaurant of the resort and enjoy the views from the pool.

If you are up for some water activities, you can opt for a guided kayak tour or a paddleboard tour.

You can also explore the island on foot and go on a walk, on your own or with a park ranger (they offer guided tours).

READ MORE: 11 Best Things to do in Daydream Island

Whitsundays Itinerary Day 5: Cedar Creek Falls and Conway National Park (Option 2)

Cedar Creek Falls Near Airlie Beach in Queensland

If you had enough of the islands and are looking for a bit more of an adventure, the fifth day of your Whitsunday itinerary can also include a visit to Cedar Creek Falls and Conway National Park.

This is a great way to discover the other side of the Whitsunday Coast: the hinterland.

Conway National Park is located just south of Airlie Beach and is a great place to visit if you love nature and want to discover the rainforest.

There are different hikes that you can do in the park, depending on your level of fitness and experience. Most of the trails are also accessible for bikes so if you are into cycling, that’s a great option.

Conway National Park is also home to lookouts that boast fantastic views of the islands as well as gorgeous beaches such as Coral Bay.

You can easily get there by car and start exploring on foot.

If you want to try something a bit different, you can also book a segway tour from Airlie Beach. It’s fun and you will cover more ground which means you’ll get to see much more.

If you’re up for a longer drive (about 45 minutes), you can also head to Cedar Creek Falls.

This is a popular spot for swimming. The waterfall is simply beautiful and you can see turtles in the water!

There are a few hikes that you can do in the area but if you’re not feeling too adventurous, you can also simply relax by the waterfall or go for a swim.

It’s very easy to get there by car. There is a carpark 700 metres away from the waterfall.

Alternatively, you can also book a bus day tour from Airlie Beach.

Other Ideas of Whitsundays Itineraries

There are endless possibilities when it comes to creating a Whitsundays itinerary.

Depending on the time you have, you can make a more personalised itinerary.

For example, you could also explore more of the islands and do different hikes or water activities or discover more of the hinterland.

The options are endless but as we want to make sure you are making the most of your time in this beautiful part of Australia, here are the best itineraries for the Whitsundays for 1 to 10 days.

1-day Whitsundays Itinerary

One day is nowhere near enough to discover the Whitsundays so you will need to make choices.

Make sure to see the essentials which are Whitehaven Beach and the Great Barrier reef.

Here is how you can spend one day in the Whitsundays.

Option 1: Ocean Rafting or Thunder Cat day tour to Whitehaven Beach. It includes Hill Inlet and snorkelling time as well.

Option 2: Scenic flight in the morning to see the Great Barrier Reef and half day tour to Whitehaven Beach in the afternoon.

2-day Whitsundays Itinerary

Spending 2 days in the Whitsundays is short but will be enough to see the most famous bits.

Option 1: Summertime overnight cruise which includes Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet, Hook island snorkelling and kayaking

Option 2:

3-day Whitsundays Itinerary

Here are two ideas of itinerary if you are spending 3 days in the Whitsundays.

Option 1:

Option 2:

  • Day 1: Airlie Beach and scenic flight
  • Day 2: Whitehaven Beach with Ocean Rafting or Thunder Cat day tour
  • Day 3: Hamilton Island

4-day Whitsundays Itinerary

Here is an example of itinerary for 4 days in the Whitsundays

  • Day 1: Scenic Flight and Airlie Beach
  • Day 2: Whitehaven Beach tour with Ocean Rafting or Thunder Cat
  • Day 3: Cedar Creek Falls and Conway National Park
  • Day 4: Hamilton Island

6-day Whitsundays Itinerary

Spending 6 days in the Whitsundays? Then these itineraries may help!

Option 1:

  • Day 1: Scenic flight and Airlie Beach
  • Day 2: Whitehaven Beach tour with Ocean Rafting or Thunder Cat
  • Day 3: Hamilton Island
  • Day 4: Cedar Creek Falls and Conway National Park
  • Day 5: Reefworld Pontoon
  • Day 6: Daydream Island

Option 2:

  • Day 1: Scenic flight and Airlie Beach
  • Day 2: Summertime Cruise (Whitehaven Beach)
  • Day 3: Summertime Cruise (Hook island and kayaking)
  • Day 4: Hamilton Island
  • Day 5: Reefworld Pontoon
  • Day 6: Daydream Island

7-day Whitsundays Itinerary

Here are some ideas for a week in the Whitsundays.

Option 1:

  • Day 1: Scenic flight and Airlie Beach
  • Day 2: Whitehaven Beach tour with Ocean Rafting or Thunder Cat
  • Day 3: Cedar Creek Falls and Conway National Park
  • Day 4: Hamilton Island
  • Day 5: Reefworld Pontoon
  • Day 6: Daydream Island
  • Day 7: Mackay or Bowen

Option 2

  • Day 1: Scenic flight and Airlie Beach
  • Day 2: Summertime Cruise (Whitehaven Beach)
  • Day 3: Summertime Cruise (Hook island and kayaking)
  • Day 4: Hamilton Island
  • Day 5: Reefworld Pontoon and Reefsuite night
  • Day 6: Reefworld Pontoon and Reefsuite night
  • Day 7: Daydream Island

10-day Whitsundays Itinerary

  • Day 1: Scenic flight and Airlie Beach
  • Day 2: Whitehaven Beach tour with Ocean Rafting or Thunder Cat
  • Day 3: Cedar Creek Falls and Conway National Park
  • Day 4: Hamilton Island
  • Day 5: Reefworld Pontoon
  • Day 6: Daydream Island
  • Day 7: Bowen
  • Day 8: Hook Island
  • Day 9: Proserpine and the crocodile safari
  • Day 10: Mackay

No matter how long you have in the Whitsundays, there is always something new to see and do.

We hope for our suggested Whitsundays itineraries for 1-10 days will be helpful.

With so much on offer, we are sure you will love this beautiful part of Australia!

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