Shute Harbour is the closest mainland port to the Whitsunday Islands. Situated amidst the lush Conway National Park, and only 11km from Airlie Beach, this unique location boasts stunning views and unparalleled access to the Whitsunday Islands.
Within two hours sail from Shute Harbour there is a choice of five overnight anchorages and secluded bays.
Beyond the boats, Shute Harbour’s natural harbor teems with marine life, from dolphins, rays and turtles to an array of fish and birds. Occasionally whales drop into the harbour during the Whitsundays whale season. The harbour’s backdrop is a stunning view of rainforests and hills.
Home of Whitsunday Rent a Yacht
Established in 1978, Whitsunday Rent a Yacht calls Shute Harbour its home, offering you the longest-standing, Australian-owned yacht charter services. Our private jetty provides a comfortable pre-charter sleep-aboard experience, ensuring tranquility before setting sail.
Other Services at Shute Harbour
- Island Transfers, for transfers to Palm Bay Resort accommodation & day trips
- Scamper water taxi, island camping services and Water Bike tours
- Salty Dog Sea Kayaking kayak tours and private hire
- Pioneer adventures – glass bottom boat tours
- Sealink Whitsundays – Whitehaven Beach day tour
- Explore74 licensed cafe operating (with views) from the ferry terminal
- Cruise Whitsundays – Ferry services to Hamilton Island
Things to do at Shute Harbour
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.
Lion’s Lookout views
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 at Shute Harbour pontoon
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 near the Terminal 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 sheltered beach and is also dog-friendly. Barbecue facilities and picnic tables are available so you can soak up the scenery.
Coral Beach Walk
The walk to Coral Beach is 1.1 km which starts and finishes at Coral Beach car park. The trail will take you through rainforest before arriving at a beautiful secluded beach which you will probably have to yourself. Walk 180 metres east along the beach and look for the walking track to The Beak which will take you to a great viewing platform overlooking the Whitsundays passage and islands.
How far is Shute Harbour to Hamilton Island?
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.
What are the advantages of hiring a yacht from Shute Harbour?
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
When you sleep aboard your vessel the night before your charter begins, you will be blown away at the tranquillity of Shute Harbour.
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.
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.
How to get to Shute Harbour
Drive east for ten kilometers through Conway National Park from Airlie Beach or take the regular Whitsunday Transit bus passing through Cannonvale, Airlie Beach, and Jubilee Pocket
Shute Harbour parking
At Shute Harbour, there are two car parks with longterm parking options run by the shire. Please visit the Marina page for rates and conditions. The “bottom” car park is an open area on the waterfront only a 2-minute walk from the Whitsunday Rent a Yacht base.
Secure parking options can be organised through Whitsunday Parking and Storage.
The Shute Harbour Terminal
The new Shute Harbour Marina Terminal is open offering a world-class facility to access the Whitsunday Islands. The Terminal boasts three finger pontoons and a range of berthing options, terminal ticketing and baggage claim area, fuel facility, licensed cafe, carpark and recreational fishing jetty.
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.
Whether you’re taking advantage of a sleep-aboard before a bareboat charter or you’re staying in Airlie Beach and looking for a day trip, take the time to enjoy the beauty found at Shute Harbour.