The Whitsundays, Australia 

The magnificent sight of the Great Barrier Reef is the hallmark of a Whitsundays holiday. Take a one-hour pleasure flight by light aircraft from the Whitsunday airport and experience the breathtaking view of the ‘heart shaped’ reef.
The Whitsundays, a group of 74 islands to the north of Queensland are mostly the tips of submerged mountains. The entire area boasts of excellent beaches and crystal clear waters. To make the most of Whitsunday holidays, sail around the islands and stop wherever you find an interesting hideaway. While the bigger islands have resorts, the smaller ones are mostly uninhabited.

Average Temperatures in Whitsundays (Airlie Beach) (°C)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
27°C 27°C 27°C 23°C 23°C 22°C 20°C 21°C 23°C 25°C 27°C 28°C

Featured Shore Tours from The Whitsundays 


  • The Great Barrier Reef WSY-010

    Along with lunch, there's a host of activities in store - swimming, snorkelling, a semi-submersible, an underwater viewing observatory, plus regular...

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  • The Great Barrier Reef - Family Package WSY-011

    Travel onboard a premier day cruise vessel to one of the largest and most sophisticated Australian-owned reef platforms on the Great Barrier Reef....

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  • Airlie Beach & Surrounds WSY-025

    See the steam locomotive "Digger", which served in Europe in World War I, before its career ended in the sugarcane fields in the 1920s. Travel...

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  • Airlie Beach Sights & Coffee Plantation WSY-026

    Greeting you at the Marina, your friendly guide will take you across the Whitsundays for this fascinating half-day Shore Tour. Travel through central...

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  • Crocodile Safari WSY-030

    Cruise through pristine salt-water croc country and wetland habitat on a tractor-drawn wagon-train tour. This habitat is home to birds, mammals,...

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  • Ocean Rafting WSY-035

    With adventure and education thrown in by your skipper and eco host, you’ll hear the reef’s marine life over a hydrophone and turtle-watch and...

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  • Ocean Rafting-Family Package WSY-036

    There's both adventure and education thrown in as you cruise the natural beauty of the Whitsunday Passage to Black or Hook Island accompanied by...

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  • Sea Kayaking WSY-040

    Depart Shute Harbour on your kayak tour, stop for a swim and snorkel in White Rock's crystal-clear waters , a tiny national park island surrounded...

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  • Tropical Rainforest Experience WSY-045

    Enjoy a fully-guided tour with the Whitsundays most experienced rainforest tour guides. You'll also visit Conway National Park, Cedar Creek Falls and...

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More about the Whitsundays 

Docking / Disembarkation 

Your P&O Cruises ship anchors at Pioneer Point and a regular tender and/or catamaran service operates to Abel Point Marina in Airlie Beach.


A taxi rank is located in Shute Harbour Road, an approximate two kilometre walk from the pier. A relaxed, beachside town Airlie is easy to explore on foot. Airlie Beach Ambassadors will be situated at the pier throughout the day to hand out maps and other handy tourist information.


Airlie Beach has a range of stores and boutiques selling everything from tropical and outback clothing and high-end fashions to souvenirs, opal jewellery and designer goods.


Whether you just want a great espresso, a tasty light snack or a gourmet meal, Airlie Beach has some excellent cafes and restaurants, most of them located around the waterfront on Shute Harbour Road.


Tropical. Don’t forget, you’re just north of the Tropic of Capricorn and, in summer particularly, it can be quite hot and humid. Refreshing rain showers can cool things down a little and there always seems to be a sea breeze out on the reef. Make sure you stay hydrated and sheltered from the sun.


If you’re pleased with the service you receive in a restaurant, a reasonable tip would be around five to ten percent of the bill.

Credit Cards 

Major credit cards and charge cards are widely accepted.

Telephones International and Local 

Public telephones are available near the taxi rank in Shute Harbour Road.

What To Wear Ashore 

To make your day ashore as enjoyable as possible, wear comfortable, flat soled shoes, lightweight clothes and a hat, and bring along some sunscreen, insect repellent and bottled water. It’s also a good idea to bring an umbrella and weatherproof jacket. Don’t forget your swimming gear! Snorkelling equipment is available for hire or purchase onboard the ship.

Shore Tours 

There are a number of tours available for you to really get the most out of your time in and around The Whitsundays. Subject to availability, tours may be booked onboard at the Shore Tours Desk. Passengers will meet at a specific location for each shore tour departure. Please refer to the daily onboard newsletter for the correct place and time. Your friendly Shore Tours staff will be at that location to assist you.

Environment & Stinger Season 

Whatever you decide to do after your visit to The Whitsundays or any island port of call, please bring your rubbish back to the ship with you – that includes dead camera batteries.

The season for box jelly-fish and stingers generally starts with the onset of the wet across the top of Northern Australia, usually around October and lasts until April.

P&O Cruises Agents 

In case of emergency while you are ashore please contact the nearest P&O Cruises crew member. Alternatively, a P&O Cruises port agent representative in The Whitsundays is:

Oceania Maritime Services
3/45 Victoria Street
QLD 4810
Tel: (07) 4957 5187

How to book

To take advantage of our fantastic low cost cruises, book now. Visit your travel agent or call 13 24 94 for Australian bookings or 0800 780 716 for New Zealand bookings.

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Australia at a Glance

SIZE: 7,686,850 square miles
POPULATION: 22,155,400 (July 2004 est)
TYPE OF GOVERNMENT: Democratic federal-state system recognising the British monarch as sovereign
CURRENCY: Australian Dollar (AUD)