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18 Most Popular Whitsunday Day Trips From Airlie Beach 2024 Guide

Unsure which Whitsunday day trips from Airlie Beach to choose?

I know it’s a bit overwhelming trying to understand the difference between the Whitsunday day tours, but after multiple visits to the area in the last few years, I’m sharing not only my favourites, but the best tours from Airlie Beach.

Unfortunately this means we’re not including tours from Hamilton Island or the other islands, only from Airlie Beach. Check out our Ultimate Whitsunday Tours Guide for all tours including multi-day sailing trips.


Why stay in Airlie Beach?

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While many people stay in more of the popular islands like Hamilton Island, Hayman Island etc, Airlie Beach is a fantastic location to be based. This is because you’ll have access to way more tours so you can see as much as possible, rather than have access to much smaller tour operators.

Airlie Beach is also much cheaper than other islands and you’ll have more variety for place to eat, drink and things to do. I would highly recommend staying at Coral Sea Marina Resort (pictured above). We stayed here and loved it!


Watch Our Airlie Beach & Whitsundays Video!


Best Whitsunday day trips from Airlie Beach

We’re not just sharing Whitsunday cruises in this guide! Expect to read about various activities so you can make the most of your time here.

1. Book a scenic flight over Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef

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One of the best Whitsunday day trips is easily this seaplane flight over Whitehaven Beach and Heart Reef! Our followers told us to book the flight and I have to say, I absolutely loved it! Considering we’ve done quite a few tours now, this one if our absolute favourite. You’ll get to fly right over the famous Whitehaven Beach, and Hill Inlet, as well as the famous Heart Reef and even Reefworld as well. Honestly, it is brilliant!

Flying in and out of Proserpine Airport? Considering it’s a 30 minute shuttle ride to the airport, save on the transfer fee like we did and book your scenic flight either for when you land or just before you leave. This is because the team will pick you up from the airport or drop you off there after the flight so you won’t have to go back to Airlie Beach again.


2. Book the Thunder Cat Whitehaven Beach day trip

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During our most recent visit to Whitsunday Islands, we jumped on the Thunder Cat Tour which takes you to Hill Inlet Lookout and the beach below it, as well as to two snorkelling spots. This full day trip is excellent which you can read about in My Honest Thunder Cat Whitsundays Day Trip Review where I break down the entire tour.


3. Or book the Ocean Rafting tour instead

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Ocean Rafting is one of the top Whitsunday day trips you can do! The fast powered boats will have you at Whitehaven Beach in 30 minutes which is pretty amazing considering how much longer the other boats can take to get you there! We have done this tour and really enjoyed it, so you can read our Ocean Rafting Review to find out more about it.

Even though we have done both Thunder Cat and Ocean Rafting boat tours which are so similar, there are a few things you need to know about. Check out my Thunder Cat vs Ocean Rafting Review so you can learn more about which tour is best for you.

You can also book a combined Ocean Rafting Tour with A Scenic Flight as well. We totally would have done this if it wasn’t booked out.


4. Sit back on a classic sailing boat

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Every time we go to Whitsunday Islands, I always feel envious of this sailing boat tour, because it looks so amazing. You see, the Whitsunday Islands are so incredible, you really want the time to stop and take in all the highlights and epic views. This tour will allow you to do it even though it takes longer to get to Hill Inlet.


5. Private charter boat tour

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If joining a tour isn’t your thing, you can hire your own luxurious 54 ft French yacht which takes up to 12 people, and includes a skipper and a host. With morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea provided, this could be a fantastic way to see the islands if you’re in a big group.


6. Airlie Beach Skydive

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If there’s one place to do a sky dive in Australia, it’s from Airlie Beach! Imagine taking in the views of the Great Barrier Reef and the Whitsunday Islands? If you’ve been thinking of doing a sky dive, make sure you do it here. I would recommend booking it here as it books out pretty fast!


7. Whitsundays Sunset Cruise

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Explore the beautiful coastline of Airlie Beach with a 2 hour sunset cruise on a sailing boat, which includes snacks and bubbles. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot turtles on this boat tour, and plan it on a Wednesday and you’ll see the locals take part in the weekly boat race.


8. Jet Ski Tour Around Whitsundays

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Prefer to do things a little off the beaten track in Whitsundays? A two hour jet ski tour in Whitsundays is an action packed one day adventure, taking you to two of the most exclusive islands, including Daydream Island and South Molle Islands. This is a fantastic tour to consider if you’d prefer to have the freedom to go on your own jet ski to explore the islands.


9. Camira Sailing Adventure

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This catamaran Camira Sailing Adventure is a great value for money tour which includes morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea AND alcoholic drinks (most don’t include this). The 10 hour Whitsunday Islands cruise to the Great Barrier Reed and the Whitehaven Beach Hill Inlet gives you enough space to sit out on the deck and kick back and enjoy the views on the day tour while on one of the world’s fastest commercial catamarans.


10. Reefworld day trip

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If snorkelling is the main thing you want to do in the Whitsunday Island, opt for a day trip to Reefworld which is a pontoon on the Hardy Reef which is the outer Great Barrier Reef. Because a lot of the underwater life was damaged because of Cyclone Debbie a few years back, the outer reef is your best spot to relax and see some marine life.

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While it takes three hours to get to Reefworld via a stop off to Hamilton Island, you’ll have about 3h30m on the pontoon to enjoy snorkelling, diving and an option to fly over heart reef in a helicopter (you can book this while on the boat). We went on this boat as we were staying on the pontoon as part of the Reefsleep which I highly recommend. You can read My Honest Reefsleep Review before you go to see what it’s really like!


11. Have fun on a 30 minute jet boat ride

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If you’re looking for a bit of an adrenalin adventure, jump on the 30 minute jet boat tour and enjoy zipping around the Great Barrier Reef doing 360s, 180s, drifts, power stops and much more. This is a fun Airlie Beach activity the whole family will love!


12. Half day walking tour to Whitehaven Beach

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If you don’t have a lot of time in Airlie Beach or the Whitsundays, why not book a half day walking tour of Hill Inlet Lookout and the surrounding areas on Whitsunday Island? Most tours only provide a 2 hour time slot on the island, so to get longer would be a great trip!


13. Enjoy a gorgeous sunset sail with an Aperol Spritz

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Ahh now this is my kind of bliss in paradise! Sit back and enjoy one of the legendary Airlie Beach sunsets with an aperol spritz on a gorgeous sailing yacht. Put on your favourite dress and take photos of this special moment while tucking into a share plate of prawns, crackers, salami, cheese and more.


14. Have fun on a segway tour

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Explore the surroundings of Airlie Beach on a completely unique segway tour through the stunning Conway National Park. You’ll pass by the Great Whitsunday Trail surrounded by a lush tropical rainforest. You’ll learn loads about the area from a guide while ticking off a bucket list for having a go on a segway!


15. Spend the whole day on Whitehaven Beach with BBQ

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I would totally book this tour as I’ve always found the Whitehaven Beach tours don’t spend long enough there. This Whitehaven Beach BBQ Tour spends five hours at the North Whitehaven Beach and South Whitehaven Beach so you can totally enjoy it all. Bring a couple of drinks with you and you can even keep cool on the boat on the way there as well! It’s a win all around!


16. Do a day trip to the beautiful Finch Hatton Gorge and look for platypus!

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There are plenty of places to visit near Airlie Beach and this Finch Hatton Gorge tour is hidden gem is home to some amazing waterfalls and swimming holes that many people don’t even know about. You’ll also search for the Australian platypus which aren’t as easy to spot and you’ll visit Eungella National Park as well!


17. Langford Island sailing trip

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Prefer to go off the beaten track? Opt for this adults only Langford Island tour from Airlie Beach. You’ll snorkel in clear waters and enjoy a luxury sailing tour for a chilled out day trip from Airlie Beach.


18. Check out the impressive Cedar Creek Falls and popular locals restaurant

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If you don’t have a car, book this Cedar Creek Falls tour which is a full day tour taking you to the famous waterfall and to the locals restaurant, Northerlies Beach Bar for lunch. This is a fantastic opportunity to see one of the best waterfalls in Australia and jump in for a swim, even behind the falls as well!


More Airlie Beach & Whitsunday Islands travel guides!

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If you’re looking to plan a trip to Airlie Beach and The Whitsundays, check out our travel guides to inspire you. We dive into the hidden gems, waterfalls, favourite islands and tours and so much more. We’ve been lucky to visit the region multiple times over the last few years and hope our love for this area will help you make amazing memories.

And if you’re planning an East Coast trip, check out our Queensland guides page for more travel guides to help you see some more of the lesser known hidden gems.


Find The Best Airlie Beach Accommodation

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Looking for the best Airlie Beach accommodation? Look no further.

  1. Luxury: Coral Sea Marina Resort – we stayed here and it’s fantastic (pictured). The outdoor pool is an amazing spot to kick back at sunset on the day bed with a cocktail in hand.
  2. Luxury: Mirage Whitsundays – five minute drive from Airlie Beach with outdoor pool and beautiful palm trees.
  3. Mid range: Whitsunday Terraces Resort – jaw-dropping views overlooking the Whitsundays and Airlie Beach.
  4. Backpacker: Magnums – legendary and long standing backpacker resort for party goers.

Don’t Forget To Watch Our Airlie Beach & Whitsundays Video!


Best Whitsunday Day Trips

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