Adventure Cruises in Whitsunday Islands
Famed for its huge stretches of white powder sand beaches and azure waters on the island of Whitsundays cruises can take you to some of the most beautiful barrier reefs and colossal beaches in Australia. This is a much-loved part of the Great Barrier Reef for sailing thanks to sheltered bays and warm balmy nights. The island’s coast is lined with barrier reefs topped with white sand giving visitors the chance to explore the reefs by snorkeling from their small cruise ship and sunbathing on the spits and beaches. Bright corals are plentiful and covered with thousands of species of colorful fishes attracting turtles and huge Maori wrasse. Above the waterline, and if you can tear yourself away from the beaches, bushwalks offer panoramic views of the island and its coast as well as dramatic waterfalls and forests full of fascinating wildlife.
Onboard the small ship cruise, you can while away the time sunbathing and enjoying meals and drinks with other guests and taking in the scenery. Onboard barbeques and delicious picnics of fresh local Australian cuisine can be enjoyed on the boat or out on the beaches and spits of sand. Whales and dolphins can also be spotted from a small ship cruise around Whitsundays, and many bottlenose dolphins might even follow the boat and enjoy playing in the bow waves. Cruises in Whitsundays are also famous for star-watching, beautiful clear skies and sparse artificial light means you can enjoy a spectacular show and maybe even try sleeping on deck overnight.
Best Whitsundays cruises and areas to visit
The huge white sand beach of Whitehaven Beach in Tongue Bay is a perfect place to anchor on a small ship cruise. The area is beautiful and sheltered with a huge beach area and several bushwalks to take you up to viewpoints in the forested areas. Turtles are a common sight here, and snorkeling is very popular; there are also many other watersports available in Tongue Bay including kayaking and stand up paddleboarding. It is worth noting that the beaches at Tongue Bay are only accessible at low tide and it is best to discuss timings with the crew of your cruise boat.
This long strip of beach and land may be small, but great things come in small packages. The long white strip of sand jutting out from the islet is the stuff of dreams. Also, the ultimate spot to take that sun-soaked, desert island photo to make everyone back home green with envy. The island is surrounded by a beautiful reef a perfect spot to snorkel and enjoy the warm and crystal-clear waters around the island. The only thing to watch here is again the tide, the crew on your small ship cruise will let you know when you will need to be heading back to the boat in order not to get truly stranded.
Butterfly and Luncheon Bay
These two bays are the ideal anchorage on a small ship cruise of Whitsundays thanks to their sheltered position and beautiful wildlife. Snorkellers will find huge wrasse, reef fish, and colorful corals, on land take a bushwalk, and enjoy the array of bird and butterfly species that can be found in this very special place. These bays are also slightly quieter than others due to a limited number of moorings available.
Best time to cruise in Whitsundays
With year-round warm weather and perfect sailing conditions, the best time to cruise Whitsundays is anytime really. The hottest time of the year is from December to March when the weather is warm and humid, and the water is the perfect swimming temperature. This wetter period never puts a damper on the fun, and the rain is usually quite short-lived. The winter months are drier and have the added attraction of being whale season. If you visit Whitsundays from June to August, you can see the migrating humpback whales with their calves passing through. For the weather conditions alone, many people find September to be one of the best times to visit Whitsundays, the days are drier, but the water is still almost as warm as in the winter months.
How to get to Whitsundays
Reaching Whitsundays can be done by air from most of the major Australian airports, including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, and Cairns. There are two airports in the vicinity of Whitsundays, the Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island and Whitsunday Coast Airport. Most small ship cruises of Whitsundays depart from Airlie Beach which is only half an hour’s drive from Whitsunday Coast Airport in Proserpine on the mainland. There are frequent shuttle buses between the airport and Airlie beach.
Whitsundays Cruise Tips
- Many of the small ship cruises around Whitsundays are sailing boats which offer the chance to try your hand at sailing. If you want to learn a little something on your holiday just ask the crew and they will give you a chance to help them out a bit.
- The Australian way of life is very laid-back, which means lots of fun and no need to dress up. You can leave your high fashion holiday wear at home. Stick with T-shirts and maybe a sweater just in case. Do bring comfortable walking shoes for any bushwalks as well, preferably light but with covered toes.
- A camera is a must-have, this is one of the world’s most scenic places after all. It might also be worthwhile bringing a small waterproof camera if you are planning on snorkeling, kayaking or paddleboarding.
- The sun shines bright in Whitsundays, even more so because of the reflection of white beaches and expanses of water. A good shady hat, polarised sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen are a must, especially if you are looking to do watersports and bushwalking.
- Whitsundays is an extremely popular area, attracting tourists on-mass from Australia and around the world. It is highly advisable to book well in advance, especially if you have your heart set on a particular itinerary or small cruise boat.