Shute Harbour is the closest mainland port to the Whitsunday Islands. Nestled amongst the Conway National Park and only 11km from Airlie Beach, this unique location offers stunning views and fantastic access to the Whitsunday Islands.
Within an hour of leaving Shute Harbour, you could be moored at one of three resorts, or anchored in at a secluded bay on Lindeman Island which is only 35km away.
Apart from the boats, this spanning natural harbour sees most of its traffic from dolphins, turtles and fish. Shute is surrounded by national park teeming with lush rain-forest and a diverse array of wildlife. Some of the animals you may spot while in the harbour include dolphins, turtles, fish, eels, rays, dugongs, plenty of fish and birdlife. We've even had whales drop into the harbour is whale season.
The port facility offers services to the Whitsunday Islands and resorts as well as being home to one of the Whitsunday's original bareboat charter companies, Whitsunday Rent a Yacht.
Ferry services from Shute Harbour are operated by Cruise Whitsundays and run three times a day to Hamilton Island. SCAMPER, another neighbouring business, offer water taxi and island camping services.
Experience what it’s like on the Whitsunday Islands
The forest and ocean around the harbour closely resemble the flora found on the Whitsunday Islands. This is thanks to the last glacial period 50,000 years ago when water levels rose leaving the higher coastal peaks as islands. If you’re not able to sail out to the Islands, Shute Harbour will offer you a taste of what being amongst the Whitsunday Islands is like.
Enjoy the views from Lion’s Lookout
Shute Harbour's biggest drawcard is the panoramic views of the Conway National Park mountain ranges and the Whitsunday Islands. If you drive or take the walking track above the main harbour you’ll find Lions Lookout, a great place to soak it all in. With stunning views over the harbour towards Repair Island, Tancred Island and Shute Island you’ll feel like you’re amongst the islands.
Fishing off the Shute Harbour Jetty
Fishing is a popular activity at Shute Harbour. A public boat ramp is available for the launching of small private vessels and the fishing jetty has proven to be a hot spot for tropical Whitsunday fish and squid species.
Conway National Park
To the south of Shute Harbour lies the Conway National Park. It can be accessed by following Shute Harbour Road to the park's day-use area and from Whitsunday Drive which heads north from Shute Harbour.
Conway National Park has a total of eight walking tracks through a variety of vegetation types including lowland rainforest, mangroves and open forest. One of the best hikes is up the Mt Rooper track, where hard work is rewarded with spectacular views of the Whitsunday Passage and islands. There is a popular camping area at Swamp Bay which you can access on foot or by boat.
Picnic at Snows Beach
Snow's Beach is located under Lions Lookout. It’s a lovely spot and is also a dog-friendly beach. Barbecue facilities and picnic tables are also available so you can soak up the scenery.
As the crow flies Shute Harbour is 19.1 km to Hamilton Island. This takes 35 minutes by ferry and depending on the conditions it takes approximately an hour by yacht.
Whitsunday Rent A Yacht's position in Shute Harbour provides a unique starting point for a charter holiday as well as being the closest mainland port to the Whitsunday Islands. Our base's private jetty and moorings offer a comfortable location for a pre charter sleep-aboard.
Use of facilities free of charge
Our charterers are invited to take full advantage of our jetty and on-shore amenities at any time during their charter, free of charge. All provisioning companies and supermarkets deliver to our jetty, so there is no need to pay marina fees elsewhere to restock.
Sleep aboard in peace
There is no need to battle for space among noisy neighbours or to put up with late-night comings and goings from other vessels when sleeping on a yacht at Shute Harbour. You will be able to enjoy a peaceful evening from this beautiful location.
Less travel time to the islands
We are the closest bareboat charter base to the Whitsunday Islands, reducing your travel time and giving you more freedom to enjoy the islands. We're also in close proximity to several anchorages and only an hour from Hamilton Island which is handy for your first or final night.
Fishing off your boat
Many of our charters who opt to do a sleep-aboard have great success when they drop a line in off their boat at our private jetty. The fish are so plentiful you hear them jumping around at dusk. We’ve also heard that there are plenty of Spanish Mackerel to be caught when trolling as you leave Shute Harbour and head for the passage.
We share more tips on fishing in the Whitsundays in our blog.
To get to Shute Harbour, from Airlie Beach drive east for ten stunning kilometres through the Conway National Park.
If you don’t have a car there is a regular bus operated by Whitsunday Transit which passes through Cannonvale, Airlie Beach and Jubilee Pocket.
At Shute Harbour, there are two car parks operated by the shire.
The “bottom" car park is an open area on the waterfront only a 2-minute walk from the base, security does regular checks at night. The “top” car park is an open area on top of the hill just above the bottom car park and there is a staircase to the bottom waterfront car park. Reservations cannot be made for either of the council parks, but you normally will find a parking bay available.
Please be advised that there is no onsite overnight parking at our Rent a Yacht base, there is an option to organise secure valet parking for a fee with Turner Parking (Ph: 0427 317 218). If you’re travelling with a caravan or trailer and need parking please let us know and we will advise you on the best place to park.
Whitsunday Regional Council has approved the restoration of the Shute Harbour terminal and seawall which was severally damaged after cyclone Debbie.
“The final design features a new seawall, a two-floor terminal with views over the water, café facilities, a new carpark, new public amenities, landscaping and three-finger pontoon jetties, including a designated recreational fishing pontoon.
The design has also cleverly incorporated some of the history and legacy of the old facility, with timber recycled from the demolished jetties to be used in the vertical façade of the new terminal building”.
Works for the $54 million restoration project are expected to begin in January 2020.
Shute Harbour is as close to nature as you can get before setting out to the beautiful Whitsunday Islands or if you need a break from the crowds in Airlie Beach. We think it’s a pretty special part of the world and we love sharing it with our visitors.
Join us at Shute Harbour in the Whitsundays and enjoy the freedom to explore