Aaaah, the Whitsundays. Beaches that are classified as one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, seculded islands, clear blue waters, dramatic sunsets and a spectacular underwater world. Probably every traveller who’s coming to OZ has the Whitsunday islands on it’s list (and I’m sure many travellers who are not in OZ have, too) and when you see the pictures you can defintiley understand why. I was also there, one and a half year ago, and now it’s about time to share my tips with you for the greatest Whitsunday Island experience you can have!
What are the Whitsundays?
The Whitsundays are a collection of 74 islands in Northern Queensland, located in the Great Barrier Reef.
Where to go?
Tours start from Airlie Beach, you can get here by bus (Greyhound or, if you prefer it cheaper, Premier) or by plane (Proserpine airport).
What to pack?
Besides some clothes, towels and toiletries don’t forget your swimmers, shoes for walking, a hat, sunglasses and lots of sunscreen!
How long should I go?
There are many, many different Whitsunday Islands cruises, starting with day tours and going up to seven (?) days. The most prominent time frame around backpackers is two to three days which I can recommend, too. Don’t just go for a day!!! These cruises are about the sunsets, the sunrises, sleeping on a boat and spending the night on the sea! And also, of course, you’ll see much more of the National Park in two or three days than in just one.
Where can I book a tour?
Great that you asked! You can usually book your tours EVERYWHERE, from various internet platforms to travel agencies to hostels in Airlie Beach tours are offered everywhere. However, I highly recommend to keep an eye on the website bookme.com.au (this website is a gem if you’re travelling around Oceania!) where you can book regular cruises for a bargain! I could save incredibly much with this website.
Which tour should I choose?
As I said, there are dozens of tours, so choose wisely on which tour you wanna go. First: are you on a budget or do you wanna go on a luxury tour with several stops on the bigger islands in some of their greatest resorts? If you’re a backpacker you’re mostly after a sailing trip but there are still different boats. The greatest difference is that there are so called „party boats“ and… um well… „non party boats“. I guess you know what I mean. ;) And also have a look at their itineraries: I did not and landed on a boat which stops at world-famous Whitehaven beach early in the morning. On the one hand this is great as you don’t have tons of tourists around you, on the other hand, we were there during high-tide so I couldn’t spot all the sand twist in the water as you may know it from pictures (it was not the worst view but still a thing to consider).
What else should I consider?
The harbour from where the cruises start is a bit outside Airlie Beach, however, it’s no problem to get there by foot if you’re a bit fit. :-) signs will tell you where to go. And also, you’re not allowed to take your luggage with you on board except for one small bag. Usually, every hostel and also the offices of the tour operators offer a luggage deposit for 5$.Food is included in the tour price so don’t worry about that. Alcohol isn’t but in most cases you’re allowed to byo. Last but not least, when you’re coming back from your cruise you’ll crave for a shower. But when you, as I did, leave Airlie Beach the same day and thus don’t have a hostel for the night don’t be desperate. I had my shower at the Airlie Beach public swimming pool.
And now, let the fun begin! I wish I could go again, too…