Best Whitsundays day trips

Heading to Queensland soon and looking for the best Whitsundays day trips? We’ve got you covered!


The Whitsundays are located in Queensland, near Airlie Beach. They are made up of 74 beautiful islands and home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world: Whitehaven Beach.


More than that, they also lie by the Great Barrier Reef!


When it comes to day trips in the Whitsundays, you will be spoilt for choice!


There are loads of places to see in the Whitsunday Islands and many tour companies go there every day from Airlie Beach and Hamilton Island.


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Best Whitsundays day trips


Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet


Whitehaven Beach is the most famous beach in Australia. It’s made of 98% of silica which is why the sand is so soft and white!


Whitehaven Beach is a little piece of paradise. You can walk on it and go swimming (although it’s always recommended to wear a wet suit in the Whitsundays).


hill inlet whitehaven beach


Walking on the beach is not the only thing you can do at Whitehaven. If you go on the hill inlet walk, you will arrive at Hill Inlet Lookout which will reveal one of the most amazing views in Australia.


From there, you can see the sand swirling up with the turquoise blue waters. It’s such a jaw-dropping sight! It looks like a painting! That’s how beautiful it is.


Whitehaven Beach is located on Whitsunday Island. There is no ferry going there which means that your only option to go on a Whitehaven day trip is booking a tour.


Best Whitehaven Beach day tour


From Airlie Beach: From Airlie Beach, you can book the Thunder Cat day tour. You will be boarding a speed boat and go to Whitsunday Island where you will go on a walking tour with a guide, up to Hill Inlet.


You will then spend some time on Whitehaven beach before going snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef.


They also provide hotel pickups, making it super easy for you!


Click here to see the latest prices.


From Hamilton Island: You can also book a similar tour from Hamilton Island. You will leave from the marina and head to Hill Inlet and Whitehaven Beach.


You will be with a dedicated guide who will tell you everything you need to know about the local ecosystem. This tour also includes snorkelling at Chalkies Beach.


Click here to see the prices.


Hamilton Island


Hamilton Island is the most famous island in the Whitsundays. It’s home to some of the best resorts in the archipelago!


If you are staying in Airlie Beach, going on a day trip to Hamilton Island is a must-do.


catseye beach hamilton island


There is plenty you can do on Hamilton island including bushwalking and discover the beautiful Catseye Beach.


There are two ways you can get to Hamilton Island from Airlie.


– Take the ferry: if you want to opt for a self-guided trip, take the ferry from Airlie port to Hamilton Island. You can book a return ticket or an island hopping pass (this one will come in handy if you also want to discover the other islands). Prices here.


– Book a day tour to Hamilton Island: you will be leaving from Port of Airlie in the morning and head to Hamilton Island. Once you get there, you will discover the most beautiful sites there! This includes seeing the koalas at the wildlife park, lunch at the Tavern and a bushwalk. Click here to see the prices.


Daydream Island


Daydream Island is one of the peaceful islands in the Whitsundays. It’s very small, making it the perfect destination for people looking for a relaxing holiday.


There are many snorkelling spots where you can see sea turtles and stingrays.


You can also go and explore the island on foot.


daydream island things to do


Most people going to Daydream island actually stay at the resort. If you wish to go on a day trip to Daydream island, here are your options:


– Take the ferry from Airlie or Hamilton to Daydream. You can use the island hopper pass for this. There are about 10 ferries going there every day.


– Book a tour to Daydream island: as previously mentioned, Daydream island is very small which is why the best day tour also includes a stop at Whitehaven Beach. You will leave from the port of Airlie and explore Hill Inlet, Whitehaven Beach and Daydream Island. See prices here.


Great Barrier Reef


When visiting the Whitsundays, going on Great Barrier Reef day trip is a must-do.


The GBR is an incredibly fascinating ecosystem. There is so much to know about it!


The best things to do at the Great Barrier Reef are snorkelling and diving. If you don’t have your PADI, you can also opt for a diving introduction.


great barrier reef during scenic flight


To visit the Great Barrier Reef, you can book a day tour:


– From Airlie Beach: you will go on a cruise to the Outer Reef where you can snorkel, dive and swim. You will also get the chance to hop on a semi-submersible boat and observe the reef without getting wet! Click here to see the latest prices.


– From Hamilton Island: you can book a day tour on a catamaran and go snorkelling at the GBR. This is considered as one of the best Whitsunday snorkelling tours. Prices here.


Heart Reef


The Great Barrier Reef is formed of thousands of small reefs. The most famous of them all is the heart reef!


This incredible heart-shaped coral reef is the most beautiful and romantic thing to see in Australia!


The best way to see it is by going on a scenic flight. It only lasts 60 minutes but the views are breath-taking. You can check the full review here.


heart reef great barrier reef


That having been said, luckily for visitors, a brand new attraction has just opened! It’s called the heart island.


From Hamilton Island, you can go on a trip to the heart island, a pontoon located right by the heart reef. You can swim and snorkel there.


This is definitely the most unique and amazing attraction in the Whitsundays but it’s also quite expensive. Click here for more information and see the latest prices.


South Molle Island


South Molle Island is situated near Daydream island. It features beautiful bays, inlets and walking trails.


south molle island in the whitsundays


From Bauer Bay, you can go on Sandy Bay or Mount Jeffreys walks. They are both great options if you are looking for a 2h hike.


Another popular thing to do is going on a jet ski day trip to South Molle and Daydream island. The tour leaves from Airlie Beach. See prices here.


Alternatively, you can also book a taxi boat to go to South Molle.


Whitsunday Island


Whitsunday Island is the biggest island in the archipelago. It’s home to Whitehaven Beach which makes it a popular destination.


However, there is much more to do there than just visiting Whitehaven.


You will even find some national park campsites!


The best thing to do on Whitsunday island is going hiking. There are loads of hiking trails with amazing views over the island.


As previously mentioned, there is no ferry going there however you can book a taxi boat from Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island.


Henning Island


Henning Island is located between Whitsunday Island and the coast. If you are looking for an island off-the-beaten-path, this would be it!


It’s a great place to go for a day if you want to stay away from the crowds and feel a bit like you are on a private island.


No tours go there. It’s not really a tourist hot spot however you can book a taxi boat that will drop you on the beach.


How to book a Whitsunday day tour


There are many tour companies in the Whitsundays and day tours are very popular. You can book your day trip on-site (in Airlie or Hamilton) but it’s better to book it online. The best tours in the Whitsundays can be booked out pretty quickly so waiting until the last minute is not always ideal.


You can book your tours on Get your Guide or Klook.


They are both great platforms. You will get an e-ticket and most tours offer hotel pickups.





There are so many Whitsundays day trips you can take! Some places are more accessible than others but no matter what, you can be sure you will have an amazing time!


You may also be interested in:

How to get to the Whitsundays

Best resorts in the Whitsundays

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

Airlie Beach Skydive Review

Things to do in Hamilton Island

Things to do in Daydream Island

Things to do in Airlie Beach

How to get to Whitehaven Beach

Pet-friendly accommodation in Airlie Beach


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Best Whitsundays Day trips

Amazing Whitsundays Day trips