The Top 7 Whitsundays Day Trips With Kids

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With more than 70 islands (many uninhabited) scattering across the Coral Sea, the Whitsundays is an idyllic playground for the ultimate family holiday.

Airlie Beach serves as the gateway to this aquatic wonderland, with a seemingly endless variety of kids activities and family attractions to keep everyone entertained. But there are also loads of day trips for those wanting to soak up the natural beauty of this region. Need some inspiration? Here are our top 7 picks.  

  1. Cruise to the Great Barrier Reef

Experience one of Australia’s natural wonders on a cruise to the outer reef. Marvel at the myriad of marine species from a semi-submersible underwater observatory or jump right in on a family guided snorkelling tour, complete with flotation devices and kid-sized equipment. 

Best for: children of all ages 


  1. Set sail on a bareboating adventure

Live out your Robinson Crusoe dreams on a bareboating adventure as you sail through the sun-dappled islands. Make incredible memories while exploring pristine beaches and hidden bays or learn the ropes of sailing as a family under the guidance of your skilled crew. 

Best for: 4+ years 


  1. Get your thrills at Whitehaven Beach

Adventurous families can get their adrenaline pumping on the ultra-fast (yet super stable) “Thundercat” on a high-speed adventure to Whitehaven Beach. Go snorkelling on its healthy coral reef and soak up the sweeping vistas on an easy walk to the famous Hill Inlet Lookout. 

Best for: 4+ years 


  1. Spend a day on Hamilton Island

You’ve undoubtedly heard the name and now you can experience the Whitsunday’s largest island resort with their “Family Fun Day” package. After a scenic cruise through the islands, you can cuddle a koala at the Wildlife Park and test your skills at nine-pin bowling before feasting on fish and chips overlooking the marina.

Best for: children of all ages 

  1. Come face-to-face with crocs on safari

Get up close to one of Australia’s most fearsome creatures during a picturesque cruise along the Proserpine River, followed by a tour through the wetlands on a tractor-drawn wagon. This educational and entertaining family adventure comes complete with a bush tucker lunch and billy tea beside the river. 

Best for: children of all ages 

  1. Take to the air

Treat your family to an adventure of a lifetime on a seaplane flight above the breathtakingly beautiful Whitsundays. Get a bird’s eyes view of these paradise islands before a water landing and picnic at Whitehaven Beach, followed by a snorkelling session on the surrounding reef. 

Best for: children of all ages 


  1. Bowen

Soak up the laid-back lifestyle of beautiful Bowen, a charming coastal town just 45 minutes’ drive from Airline Beach. In addition to palm-lined beaches that are safe for swimming, it’s home to a free water park where the kids can run loose and a “Big Mango” that’s just asking for a family “selfie”. 

Best for: children of all ages 

 Getting there: 

Fly into the Whitsunday Coast Airport (in Proserpine) and transfer to Airlie Beach (approximately 40 minutes). 


The “Spirit of Queensland” travels the coast five times a week, stopping at Proserpine Railway Station and with connections to Airlie Beach. 

When to go: 

With a year-round tropical climate, the Whitsundays is an ideal destination for escaping the cold of winter, with mild and sunny days throughout the cooler months.