Top 10 Whitehaven Beach Tours

Covid-19 Update : All tours are cancelled until at least the end of May, possibly later!

With that in mind the article is update weekly.

Are you planning to visit Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays?

After the bush fires #HolidayHereThisYear was launched. On behalf of the Whitsundays community, we would love you to holiday here in Airlie Beach or on one of our Whitsunday Islands.

The prices listed below have been updated to reflect any special prices in the market.

Now to researching the Top 10 Whitehaven Beach Tours and ultimately visiting these two stunningly beautiful locations below.

1. World-famous Whitehaven Beach and

2. The most photographed place in Australia Hill Inlet Lookout.

The above two places can not be repeated elsewhere, unlike snorkeling for example which is best done on the outer Great Barrier Reef.

These two locations are both definitely Bucket List destinations for people who love unspoilt nature. Whitehaven Beach and/or Hill Inlet Lookout make up the basis of most Whitehaven Beach Tours, usually with the obligatory snorkel. Sometimes two snorkel locations – which the author does not recommend. The coral bleaching events and cyclone damage make the outer reef the place to see the corals and fishes. 

However be warned – Whitehaven Beach & Hill Inlet Lookout’s popularity means they can now both be very busy places to visit. Due in large part to the addition of several Whitehaven Beach day trips after Cyclone Debbie in March 2017 decimated the dive industry for the overnight tours. The overnight tours declined initially, however with funding for underwater art we have see a resurgence thankfully. I should also say the Sailing in the Whitsundays is one of those iconic experiences to do in the Whitsundays.

The adventurous Redcat entered the day market in a big way with an extensive and experienced marketing machine – and have expanded rapidly offering a range of experiences. Ocean Rafting has also continued to grow there fleet (now 8 vessels), and find with Redcat much more competition for the backpacker market. On top of those we have also seen the arrival of newcomers Zigzag tours, Whitsunday Bullet and GSL Marine! With the resort islands re-opening in 2019 after Cyclone Debbie repairs and renovations, you can understand the increase in popularity.

Also be aware that a lot of tours are rushed through Hill Inlet Lookout due to a busy agenda / itinerary. Others claim Hill Inlet as Whitehaven Beach so ask questions or better still do research, that said Hill Inlet beach is awesome! It can be said that several main street agents are willing to sell you a tour for an incentive from an operator, and this mis-matching of families and the elderly onto vessels that frankly are not really the first choice is worrying. 

In summary, selecting a day tour to these two amazing places, the choices are now endless. That is awesome news for anyone thinking about a trip from Airlie Beach to Whitehaven Beach & Hill Inlet!

What You Really Need to Know

The first thing is how much does it cost? What is included and what extra do you need to pay for? These points are often not so crystal clear! Ask is the pick up included, is the lunch included, is the stinger suit included, drinks, any fees etc?

With so many Whitehaven Beach Day Trips to choose from, the detail is quite important.

By the way the original Whitehaven Xpress whom pioneered Whitehaven Beach Tourism and who were the first operator to be allowed a 7 day operation to Whitehaven still continue to deliver an amazing Aussie Beach BBQ lunch at Whitehaven Beach. We will discuss Whitehaven Xpress later in the article and the enhancements made to the itinerary and experience last November 2019.

Secondly, there are so many great options for all visitors to the Whitsundays. Whether your a solo traveler, couple, grey-nomad, part of a family, a student, senior or have a group of friends, there is definitely a choice right for you.

In the Value for Money proposition, almost all day trips include lunch, but some charge extra! I notice Ocean Rafting now have two ticket prices, their usual price without lunch but now one includes lunch. You should also know that the compulsory stinger suits (Stinger season Nov-April) are also a great sunscreen so wear them for either reason! Some tours still choose to charge from approx $10 additional for stinger suits – which for a family is $40 more – another factor to consider.

All of the Whitehaven Beach 1 Day Tours take a similar course. So the spectacular views of the Whitsunday Islands you pass along the way are more or less the same. Minor difference are the vantage points being higher (and better) on some vessels. Some are more enclosed so a lot drier than others. Some seating arrangements are more comfortable and some are for the budget traveler. Some vessels are faster and some slower. Some noisier and some quieter.

Finally and most importantly, most of the Whitehaven Beach 1 day tours also offer a guided bushwalk to Hill Inlet Lookout, which is the number 2 reason you are here! You must see Hill Inlet from the lookout, it is the view from above that you’ve come for. Access down to the swirling sands is a very nice bonus! Also to note a few tours don’t include Hill Inlet Lookout at all and others charge you extra to take you there from Whitehaven Beach.

Decision Time – Which tour is right for me?

Let me state before I give my ratings below on all the different 1 day tours to Whitehaven Beach, that no matter which day cruise / day tour you choose, you will certainly have a great experience.

Secondly, in summary, I have chosen the Top 10 Whitehaven Beach Tours with most importance placed on:

1. Overall Whitehaven Beach Experience.

2. Whether Hill Inlet is included in the tour.

3. Service and Value for Money.

Top 10 Whitehaven Beach Tours

 

#1 | Whitehaven Xpress | SUSPENDED OPERATIONS

**$169 for Adults & Conc** $190 Adult | $175 Concession | $130 Child | $600 Family | 37 Pax

Whitehaven Beach 5hrs | Hill Inlet Lookout & Hill Inlet Beach | Optional Whitehaven Beach Lookout

Included in Price – BBQ Lunch on Beach | Stinger suits | Transfers | Cheese platter.

Pay Extra – Refreshments

Beach Experience 9.5/10 | Value for Money 9.5/10

*Note best value for Students & Seniors $169 $175 | Infants 1-3 $60

#2 | Cruise Whitsundays – Full Day Cruise

$229 Adult | $206 Concession | $119 Child | $626 Family | 100’s Pax

Whitehaven Beach 6 hrs | Hill Inlet Lookout & Hill Inlet Beach | Optional Whitehaven Beach Walks

Included in Price –  Burger on Beach | Stinger suits  

Pay Extra – Pick up / Drop Off Transfers $12.50pp

Beach Experience 9/10 | Value for Money 8/10

*Note – Departs 715am Returns 620pm.

#3 | Big Fury

**$139 for Adults & Conc** $170 Adult | $165 Concession | $105 Child | $510 Family | 35 Pax

Whitehaven Beach 1.5-2hrs | Hill Inlet | Snorkel

Included in Price – Best Buffet lunch on Beach | Transfers

Pay Extra – Stinger Suits $5pp

Beach Experience 8.5/10 | Value for Money 8.5/10

*Note – No Infants.

#4 | Ocean Rafting – Southern Lights

**$159 for Adults & Conc**$164 Adult | $164 Concession | $105 Child | $600 Family | 32 Pax

Whitehaven Beach 1.5hrs | Hill Inlet & Beach | Snorkel

Included in Price – Transfers

Pay Extra – Lunch $16pp | Stinger Suits $8pp 

Beach Experience 8/10 | Value for Money 8/10

*Note No Infants 0-2 

#5 | Cruise Whitsundays – Camira

**$177 for Adults & Conc**$209 Adult | $188 Concession | $145 Child | $637 Family | 72 Pax

Whitehaven Beach – need to ask as seems not continuing since December 2019 | Hill Inlet | Snorkel

Included in Price – BBQ Onboard | Stinger suits | Beer & Wine from 11am 

Pay Extra – Pick up / Drop Off Transfers $12.50pp

Beach Experience 7/10 | Value for Money 8.5/10 ** monitoring and may drop positions

*Note – Long Day. Hill Inlet Lookout not always possible.  

#6 | Cruise Whitsundays – 1/2 Day Tour

$115 Adult | $104 Concession | $45 Child | $ Family | 250 Pax

Whitehaven Beach 1.5hrs | Whitehaven Beach Lookout

Included in Price – Morning OR Afternoon Tea | Stinger suits

Pay Extra – Pick up / Drop Off Transfers $12.50pp

Beach Experience 7.5/10 | Value for Money 8/10

*Note – more time on boat than at destination. No Hill Inlet.

#7 | Whitsunday Bullet

**$159 for Adults & Conc** $189 Adult | $189 Concession | $129 Child | $499 Family | 40 Pax

Whitehaven Beach 1-1.5hrs | Hill Inlet | Snorkel

Included in Price – Smorgasboard Lunch on Board | Stinger suits 

Pay Extra – Refreshments, $20pp surcharge on public holidays pay at checkin

Beach Experience 7.5/10 | Value for Money 7.5/10

*Note – SUP’s provided at Whitehaven Beach. 

#8 | GSL Marine

$189 Adult | $ Concession | $139 Child | $499 Family |  38 Pax

Whitehaven Beach 1.5hrs | Hill Inlet | Snorkel

Included in Price – Lunch on Board | Stinger suits 

Pay Extra – Refreshments

Beach Experience 7.5/10 | Value for Money 8/10

*Note – NO Infants.

#9 | Thundercat

$189 Adult | $ Concession | $145 Child | $599 Family |  38 Pax

Hill Inlet Lookout & Hill Inlet Beach | Snorkel x2 | Does NOT go to Whitehaven Beach

Included in Price – Lunch on Board | Stinger suits 

Pay Extra – Refreshments

Beach Experience 6/10 | Value for Money 8/10

*Note – Goes to Hill Inlet NOT Whitehaven Beach. From 4yo+

#10 | ZigZag

**$118 for Adults & Conc **$175 – $115 Adult | Concession | Child | 38 Pax

Whitehaven Beach  | Hill Inlet | Snorkel x2

Included in Price – Lunch on Board | Stinger suits 

Pay Extra – Refreshments

Beach Experience 5/10 | Value for Money 9/10

*Note – Goes to Hill Inlet NOT often Whitehaven Beach. NO Infants.

What to bring on your Whitehaven Beach Tour?

The obvious – Sunglasses, Hat, Swim wear, Towel – all essential items.

Make sure to bring sunscreen and a refill bottle for water. You don’t want to get sun-burnt or dehydrated!

Your Camera for sharing your special moments! To assist all the tourism industry please hashtag you pictures #HolidayHereThisYear #lovewhitsundays

For any questions feel welcome to call Capt. Shane on 0421 118 234, and let him know its about this article!