Your Guide To Boating In The Whitsundays

Discover Airlie

Your guide to Boating in the Whitsundays

Airlie Beach is a stunning coastal town and a community that seems to have a real ocean addiction! Located right on the doorstep to the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef it has earnt itself the nickname “the heart of the reef”. With the lifestyle that Airlie Beach offers, being so conveniently located it's not hard to see why everyone has such a strong passion for the ocean. If you are thinking you might like to explore the waters surrounding Airlie Beach and the Whitsundays on your next visit, don’t panic as there is something on offer for everyone! From day and overnight tours to private charters and bareboats, even facilities to launch your own boat, stay tuned to find out which option might be best for your next adventure!

One of the most popular options for visitors to the Whitsunday area are the advertised tours, with a multitude of options you are bound to find the perfect experience. The huge range of tours on offer varies greatly from adventurous expeditions to relaxing escapes, however the easiest way to find the tour for you is to first decide on a day trip or an overnight tour. 

Day tours tend to be suited to those who are perhaps running a little short on time, have some other adventures around Airlie Beach they would like to journey on as well or perhaps just like having their feet on solid ground come sunset. With the range of vessels and products available the whole family can enjoy an ocean adventure! For the adventure seekers you can enjoy a fast paced journey with all the thrills with a trip on one of the speedy snorkel tour boats, even stopping off at the stunning Whitehaven Beach. If you are a true adrenalin junkie however there are also the wet and wild tours available on the racing jet boats or self drive jetski safaris! On the other hand if you are looking for a tour to help you unwind, there are several choices of slower paced charter vessels that do both a snorkel and stop by Whitehaven Beach to soak in those spectacular views and a little sunshine. Many of these tours take place onboard sailing vessels, so let your inner pirate out and sail the Whitsundays in style!

Overnight tours are a perfect way to explore the area if you have a little more time, and want to explore the islands a little more thoroughly. Once again there are many choices so you are certain to find the perfect product for yourself. The majority of tours are one day one night or two day two night tours and include all meals, snorkeling activities and equipment, as well as a trip to Whitehaven Beach and the Hill Inlet lookout. If you would like to add a little extra adventure to your holiday, have a look at the paddle boarding, kayaking, watersports and scuba diving options available throughout the fleet of overnight vessels. Many of the overnight vessels are once again sailing boats, and even offer the opportunity to get involved in the sail handling and learn a little bit about how it all works. For those who are prone to seasickness there are even multi day adventures that allow you to stay onboard anchored pontoons or at land based resorts!

When looking for a more personal option for the family holiday or that long overdue escape with friends private charters are the perfect choice. Private charters offer all the benefits of the advertised tours, such as an experienced skipper, catered meals, and expert local knowledge, without the worry of being on a tight schedule or lost in the crowd. Private charters are also an excellent way to break into the boating world, as you are able to experience first hand what boat life is all about and learn from the experts as you do. The helping hand of the crew makes your journey relaxing, enjoyable and all about your personal experience onboard.

If you are a little more experienced and ready to start exploring the Whitsunday Islands on your own there are options for you to! Available for hire from airlie beach for day hire are a variety of fast boats for both inshore adventures and expeditions a little farther out to the islands themselves, so you can create your own adventure. Thinking of staying out a little longer? There's always the option of hiring a bareboat or charter yacht to spend a few nights on the water as well. The fleet of bareboats and charter yachts includes sail and power vessels varying in size, the smaller vessels being perfect for that romantic getaway and larger vessels able to accommodate a family or two. This is the perfect way to explore the area on your own terms.

Travelling to Airlie Beach with your own boat is also a great alternative to going one of the available tours. With several locations to launch your vessel, that allow for trailer parking as well you can plan the ultimate trip to suit your needs! The launching ramps at Dingo Beach, Whisper Bay (Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsunday facility) and Proserpine river are readily accessible for small to medium sized vessels though do have some tidal restrictions so be sure to check ahead. There is also a public launching ramp at Coral Sea Marina, this site allowing for larger vessels and minimal tidal restrictions. State of the art facilities are currently being developed in Shute Harbour a few minutes South of Airlie Beach, and when complete will open access to the Southern end of the Whitsunday Islands. If looking to do some fishing or spear fishing pick up a zoning map along with your ice to be sure you are in the correct areas and avoid any surprises. The locals often have great advice on top snorkel spots or island hikes so don’t be afraid to have a chat before heading out!


With all the choices available for boating adventures from Airlie Beach there’s no excuse to miss out! Plan your next holiday and discover what makes this little town so ocean obsessed, who knows maybe you will get hooked as well. So what are you waiting for? Start your island adventure today!

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