Top 10 Whitehaven Beach Tours

 Whitehaven Beach Tours – Post COVID-19

When you are preparing to travel around Queensland, its time to research the Top 10 Whitehaven Beach Tours and ultimately visiting one or both of these 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.

Snorkeling is best done on the outer Great Barrier Reef from one of the many key destinations along our Queensland coastline. Absolutely Cape Tribulation where the rainforest meets the reef is awesome. Likewise, all the way South to Heron Island which is 70+ miles out to sea, however more costly. In between, there is Port Douglas & Cairns for all budget and premium options.

Another experience to research is Sailing in the Whitsundays, which is an undoubtedly iconic experience to do in the Whitsundays.

It should also be noted that a flight over Heart Reef is a very special experience!

The two linked locations above are both definitely bucket-list destinations. Moreover, they are both now able to be visited to all persons from Queensland without the rest of the world!

Whitehaven Beach and/or Hill Inlet Lookout make up the basis of the Best Whitehaven Beach Tours,  admittedly most with an obligatory snorkel. Sometimes two snorkel locations which we would recommend against! Despite the notable Coral bleaching events and cyclone damage, the outer Great Barrier Reef remains the only worthwhile snorkeling experience.

A little bit of History pre COVID-19

Pre Covid-19, Whitehaven Beach & Hill Inlet Lookout’s popularity meant they were both very busy places to visit. Due mostly in large part to the addition of several Whitehaven Beach day trips after Cyclone Debbie in March 2017. The dive industry was subsequently decimated for the overnight tours. Overnight tour boats declined rapidly after Debbie, however with funding in 2019 for underwater art, a resurgence in early 2020 became evident. Equally day tours exploded in numbers!

The adventurous Redcat entered the day market in a big way with an extensive and experienced marketing machine. They have expanded rapidly offering a range of experiences. Ocean Rafting also continued to grow there fleet (now 8 vessels), and by the same token find Redcat challenging them 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.

You Select the most appropriate vessel for YOU!

Especially important to know 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! 

In summary, the choices are yours! In short, it is awesome for anyone thinking about a day trip from Airlie Beach to Whitehaven Beach & Hill Inlet!

What You Really Need to Know

First Up

The first thing is How much does the tour cost?

Secondly, What is included and what extra do you need to pay for?

These points are often not so crystal clear!

Thirdly, ask is the pick up included, is the lunch included, is the stinger suit included, drinks, any additional fees, etc?

Lastly – do i go to Whitehaven Beach OR Hill Inlet OR Both?

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

By the way, the original Whitehaven Xpress who pioneered Whitehaven Beach Tourism and who was the first operator to be allowed a 7-day operation to Whitehaven still continue to deliver an amazing experience and Aussie Beach BBQ lunch at Whitehaven Beach.

Main Focus

Without a doubt, there are so many great options for all visitors to the Whitsundays. Whether you are a solo traveler, a couple, grey-nomad, part of a family, a student, senior, or have a group of visiting friends and relatives, there is definitely a choice right for you.

In the Value for Money proposition, almost all day trips include lunch, but some charge extra! 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 approx $10 additional for stinger suits – therefor an additional $40 more for a family to be considered.

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. The 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.

Don’t forget

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 (during Covid)


#1 | Whitehaven Xpress – (4 days per week)

$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 $175 | Infants 1-3 $60

#2 | Cruise Whitsundays – Full Day Cruise – (4 days per week T-F-S-S)

$235 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 – Not Operating Until Further Notice

 $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 

$169 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 (4 days F-S-S-M)

$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 (Not Operating T/W)

$135 Adult | $130 Concession | $67 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 SPECIAL $149

 $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 *OCT-NOV $149 SEPT*

$199 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 on BookMe)

$175 – $125 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, Swimwear, Towel – all essential items.

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

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