(This post about our Whitehaven Beach Day Trip was updated in March 2019)
Paradise. That one word sums up our Whitehaven Beach Day Trip with Cruise Whitsundays.
Consistently named as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world Whitehaven Beach with its pure white sand and stunning location is a must-visit destination for people in Australia and across the world.
Whitehaven Beach is found in the Whitsunday Islands, a group of 74 tropical islands off the Queensland Coast in Australia.
After looking at various Whitehaven beach tours from Airlie Beach we decided to take a half-day trip with Cruise Whitsundays. This option suited us as we were restricted by other commitments. A day trip to Whitehaven beach was all we could manage to fit in but we were still eager to visit.
If you are considering which day cruise to take out to the beach this guide will give you an idea of what to expect from the Cruise Whitsundays half-day tour as well as tips to ensure you make the most of your day.
CHECK – IN AT 6.30 AM
Check-in is at the Cruise Whitsundays Maritime Terminal. For the half-day morning cruise check-in is at 6.30 am (there is an afternoon Whitehaven beach tour available too). Parking is available at the terminal. It cost us $6 for 12 hours and there was plenty of spaces available at 6.30 am when we arrived.
If you don’t have time to eat breakfast prior to check-in there is a cafe at the terminal.
We boarded the Cruise Whitsundays boat at 6.45 and were met by a very friendly and approachable crew.
We were kept us informed of the itinerary during the day . The crew were also very knowledgable and told us lots of interesting information about the islands as we sailed through.
The boat stops at Hamilton Island to pick up more passengers and then sails directly to Whitehaven Beach.
Due to the possibility of stingers we were all offered a stinger suit if we wanted it before arriving at the beach.
ARRIVING AT WHITEHAVEN BEACH
After arriving at Whitehaven you transfer to the beach on a smaller boat.
First steps on the pure white sand of the beach are magical. The sand is 98% pure white silica and felts like no sand I have stood on before. It is so fine it is possible to clean jewellery with it. It also does a great job of exfoliating feet. Make sure you keep phones and cameras away from the sand as it will scratch surfaces.
Once everyone is on the beach the Cruise Whitsundays crew will set up a covered area on the beach where you can get water when you need it. We had bought sandwiches and snacks on the boat to eat on the beach though the seagulls were a slight problem.
If you are on the half-day trip there is 2 1/2 hours to enjoy the beach before transferring back to the boat. We visited in early September and although it was hot it wasn’t unbearable. I would be concerned about the lack of shade if visiting in the summer months.
THINGS TO DO WHEN YOU VISIT WHITEHAVEN BEACH
The white silica sands stretch for over 7 kms along Whitsunday Island. The sand is truly dazzling and combine that with the crystal clear water and you will feel like you are in paradise. There is plenty of space to put down your towel and enjoy the views – relax, chill out and enjoy your time on the island.
Take a stroll along the beach!
Keep an eye out for the seaplanes which land and take off just beside the beach!
Check out the local wildlife!
RETURNING TO AIRLIE BEACH
Once the 2 1/2 hours is up everyone transfers back to the main boat. Make sure to shake yourself, bags, shoes etc and leave the sand at the beach rather than take it with you. Your feet will be washed as you get back on the boat to remove any last grains.
During the return journey refreshments and cakes and biscuits were available.
The boat heads back to Hamilton Island where you change to another boat for the return trip to Airlie Port. Arrival time was approximately 1.45 pm.
TIPS TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR WHITEHAVEN BEACH DAY TRIP
- Check out the Cruise Whitsundays website for up-to-date information and bookings for a Whitsunday island tour.
- The morning half-day trip costs $115 each (per adult) and $55 each for children aged 4-14.
- Complimentary coffee and tea is available on the boat throughout the cruise.
- Sandwiches, crisps and snacks are available to buy during the cruise as well as soft drinks, beers and wine.
- Whale watching! Keep an eye out for whales between June and November. Humpback whales migrate from Antarctica every year to give birth in the warm waters off tropical Queensland.
- Remember to take your swimsuit, towels and suncream!
- There are toilets accessible just behind the beach.
- Check out this fabulous guide if you are planning to snorkel and want to know what gear you need – it tells you everything you need to know!
WHERE TO STAY WHEN VISITING WHITSUNDAYS – ACCOMMODATION IN AIRLIE BEACH
We spent an evening in Airlie Beach before travelling to Whitehaven Beach. We chose to stay at a more budget style accommodation as we arrived late and were leaving early the next morning.
Bush Village Budget Cabins were clean, comfortable and exactly what we were looking for when we stayed in Airlie.
OTHER TOURS TO CONSIDER OF YOU HAVE LESS (OR MORE!) TIME TO VISIT THE WHITSUNDAYS
- From Airlie Beach: 1-Hour Whitsunday Islands Scenic Flight
Why not FLY over the Whitsundays? This one hour scenic flight will give you the opportunity to admire the Great Barrier Reef from above. See the world famous Heart Reef one of the most iconic sights in Australia.
- Outer Great Barrier Reef Full-Day Tour from Port of Airlie
Want to see more of the reef? Why not join this 10 hour trip to a pontoon on the outer reef area. Enjoy a day swimming, snorkel or jump on the semi-submersible boat.
- Whitsunday Helicopter Tour: Flight + Whitehaven Landing
And the ultimate way to see the Reef, islands and enjoy a day at the beach? Take a helicopter ride of course!! I actually have a friend who did this and loved it so this is definitely on our itinerary next visit. Why not treat that special someone in your life to a day they will never forget?
ESSENTIAL INFORMATION ABOUT WHITEHAVEN BEACH QUEENSLAND AUSTRALIA
Where is Whitehaven Beach?
Whitehaven Beach is located on Whitsunday Island the largest of the islands that comprise the ‘Whitsundays” off the east coast of Australia. The nearest town is Airlie Beach.
How to get to Whitehaven Beach?
There are numerous tour companies offering day trips to the beach. Take your pick between boat/plane/helicopter!
When is the best time of year to visit Whitehaven Beach?
Marine stingers may be present in the waters of tropical Queensland all year round but may be more prevalent from October to May. We visited in early September and chose not to wear stinger suits but you do so at your own risk. Due to the hotter, wetter weather between those months I would recommend visiting between June and September.
UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE – THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
When you are visiting Whitehaven Beach and the Whitsundays you find yourself in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981.
FURTHER INFORMATION FOR VISITING QUEENSLAND
I have lots of posts all about visiting Australia and a number of these are focussed on the beautiful state of Queensland. With an enviable climate, wonderful wildlife, stunning beaches if Queensland is your destination these posts will help you get the best of your visit! If you are seeking some inspiration these 15 photographs will have you booking the next flight!
- My ultimate guide to Australia with links to every post is a great starting point when planning your visit.
- My post all about the top things to do in Queensland gives an idea of some of the amazing places to visit in the state.
- If you are interested in learning more about Queensland wildlife there are posts about kangaroos at Cape Hillsborough. platypus at Broken River and whales off the Brisbane coast. A more general post all about the amazing wildlife you can find in Queensland
- If you are visiting Brisbane you can find out more about what there is to do in and around the city including South Bank, Mount Tamborine and the Sunshine Coast Hinterland.
- Click here if you are interested in learning more about the 19 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Australia.
PIN FOR LATER! WHITEHAVEN BEACH DAY TRIP
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Tracy has lived and worked in 7 countries on 4 continents and travelled to over 50 more. A qualified school teacher with an interest in history, reading, photography, nature and wildlife she is always planning her next trip (preferably by train)
With a lifetime of travel experience, and a network of friends all over the world, she is also able to share genuine insider guides, recommended best book lists and train journey inspiration to help you travel authentically to some of the most beautiful places on earth.
Come and join me as I travel the world one country (and train journey) at a time!