Sailing, flying, snorkelling, diving: the Whitsundays are your one-stop-shop for fun in the sun.
The Whitsundays are one of the best spots to experience the beauty and diversity of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. There are some stunning island resorts on Hamilton Island, Daydream Island and at Airlie Beach. However, you've got more exciting things to do than reclining on a sun-lounger. It’s easy to create your own perfect Whitsundays day here. Choose from sailing adventures, a scenic flight over Heart Reef, fun day tours, try sailing the Whitsundays, or explore the national park and pure white sand on one of many Whitehaven Beach boat tours. On a day trip you'll have time to explore Whitehaven Beach and walk up to Hill Inlet Lookout, play a game of beach cricket and go for a refreshing swim.
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Highlights of the Whitsundays
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Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
The Whitsundays can be accessed via one of the coastal towns on the mainland, with the most popular jumping off point being Airlie Beach, or on a flight from one of Australia's major cities. There are two main airports in the Whitsundays, Great Barrier Reef Airport which is located on Hamilton Island, and Whitsunday Coast Airport at Proserpine which is the closest airport to Airlie Beach. If you fly into Whitsunday Coast Airport, you will need to drive or take a transfer to Airlie Beach. This is easy to arrange with buses meeting all incoming flights. The transfer from Whitsunday Coast Airport to Airlie Beach takes around 25 minutes.
Passenger ferries operate a regular daily service between the mainland and the major islands. Day tours are popular and offer another way to explore the Whitsundays' many highlights.
Anytime of year is a good time to visit the Whitsunday Islands. Summer is hot and humid and perfect for swimming. Spring and Autumn are cooler and the islands tend to be quieter. In winter, whales are frequently spotted in and around the Whitsundays. If you are visiting the Whitsundays between October and May and swimming in the ocean, it is advisable to wear a 'stinger suit' to protect yourself from possible jellyfish stings.
The Whitsundays tend to be a casual place so you can leave your fancy clothes at home. Sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat are a must, even in winter, as the sun reflects off the sparkling blue water and white sand. Bring all the essentials such as basic medications with you, as shops are few and far between on the islands.
There is no need to get dressed up, even if you are staying at one of the resorts in the Whitsundays. Casual clothes or active wear are fine during the day. Smart casual is the norm for restaurants at the resorts.
You will find a WiFi signal near major tourist hubs such as Hamilton Island, Daydream Island and on the mainland at Airlie Beach. There is limited or no WiFi available in some parts of the Whitsundays, particularly when you are sailing from one island to another or exploring one of the more remote islands.
A mobile phone can be used in and around major tourist hubs such as Hamilton Island, Daydream Island and on the mainland at Airlie Beach. There is limited or no mobile phone coverage in some parts of the Whitsundays, particularly when you are sailing from one island to another or exploring one of the more remote islands.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. The abundance of sand in some parts of the Whitsundays such as Whitehaven Beach can make walking difficult for travellers who are less mobile on foot. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
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