Where are the Whitsunday Islands?

The Whitsunday Islands are found in the warm, calm Coral Sea, off the sunny east coast of Queensland, Australia. They are located off the coast from Airlie Beach, approximately 1,120km north of Brisbane and 630km south of Cairns.

The Whitsundays Islands are part of the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef Marine Park; Home to fringing coral reef systems and a plethora of marine life including turtles and whales during the breeding season.


Sailing the Whitsundays

The Whitsundays are the most famous sailing ground in Australia. Calm seas, light winds and pristine, tropical weather make sailing in the Whitsundays easy and unforgettable.

There are many ways to hire a boat and experience the Whitsundays, with one of the most popular being a self-sail, bareboat charter. When you embark on your self-sail holiday in the Whitsundays, you will experience an adventure unlike any other.

The Whitsundays Hill Inlet

Famous Attractions in the Whitsundays

Within the islands find world-class resorts on Daydream, Hayman and Hamilton islands, to name a few. Other islands boast pristine beaches, rainforests and walking trails and most have National Parks status.

Whether you are looking to indulge in fine-dining experience or chill out on a completely secluded beach, there’s an island for you.


Some of the “must-see” spots in the Whitsundays include:

Cruising the Whitsunday Islands Langford Island

Your Whitsunday Island Itinerary

Here at Whitsunday Rent A Yacht, we will help you plan the perfect itinerary for your sailing or motoring adventure around the islands.

Considering where you go will be dependent on the wind conditions and length of your charter,  itineraries need to be flexible. But it does help do some location research  so you can make the most out of your experience.


Resources to help with planning a trip to the Whitsundays include:

Is the Great Barrier Reef in the Whitsundays?

The Whitsunday Islands are located between the mainland and the Outer Great Barrier Reef. When you charter a yacht around the islands, you will enjoy the fringing reef ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s not possible to sail to the outer Great Barrier Reef on a bareboat charter. If you wish to see the famous Heart Reef or corals at Hardy Reef, you can arrange a day tour from Airlie Beach or Hamilton Island. 

Heart of the reef The Whitsundays

Whitsunday Climate & When to Visit

The Whitsundays provide the perfect sub-tropical climate for island getaways, the warm days and sea breezes make for ideal boating weather.

It’s possible to sail in the Whitsundays all year round with different seasons offering different experiences. The best time to visit will depend on the type of adventure you want to have and your budget.

Since we’re located in the tropics, we have a wet season which generally runs from December to March. It’s a great time of year to enjoy waterfalls and fewer crowds and to let you in on a little secret; it doesn’t rain all of the time.

Our dry season is in winter, running from June to August and it coincides with whale season, where humpback whales migrate to have their babies in the shelter of the islands. The shoulder seasons are always a great time to visit too.

Average Monthly Temperatures (°C)

December – February: Maximum 35 – Minimum 24
March-May: Maximum 29 – Minumum 20
June – August: Maximum 24 – Minimum 17
September – November: Maximum 29 – Minimum 17

Shute Harbour

We are so fortunate to have Shute Harbour as our base for your self-sail holiday! A 10-minute drive from Airlie Beach, and here we are in the closest mainland port to the Whitsunday Islands.

Our private jetty provides easy access and tranquil surrounds – perfect for acquainting yourself with your vessel and the area. Because our base is closer to all the islands than any other mainland harbour, you will save yourself time and money. Within an hour of leaving the dock, you’ll be anchored in a secluded bay.

Chat to us about staying a night on your chartered boat in Shute Harbour before or after your adventure; you might even have some luck catching a fish for dinner!

Airlie Beach the Whitsundays

Airlie Beach

It’s worth spending a few days at Airlie Beach, the service town to the Whitsunday Islands while visiting the region. The cosmopolitan village has the atmosphere of a buzzing holiday town with colourful shops, cafes and bars and an assortment of motels and self-contained apartments.

Airlie Beach is a sailing holiday destination in its own right. Whether you stay here or on one of the islands, you’re within easy reach of the Great Barrier Reef.

Our staff here at Whitsunday Rent A Yacht are all knowledgeable locals if you’d like any hot tips on what to see, do or eat in Airlie Beach, absolutely hit us up!

Get In Touch

1800 075 000

+61 7 4946 9232


6 Bay Terrace
Shute Harbour QLD 4802

Office Hours

8am - 5pm Weekdays
8am - 4pm Weekends
8am - 4pm Public holidays

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