Having trouble creating a dreamy travel itinerary for you trip to The Whitsundays? We’ve put together an exciting and adventurous itinerary for the backpacker who wants to see and do it all!
From waterfalls and beaches, to the ultimate Airlie Beach cruise—with this jam-packed itinerary, you’ll never forget your time spent in The Whitsundays.
Sample Backpacker Itinerary – Airlie Beach Cruise & Beach Adventure
Day 1 | Airlie Beach
Once you’ve landed at one of two airports and commuted your way to Airlie Beach, you’ll likely want to spend your first night settling in and exploring the nightlife.
There’s plenty of affordable accommodation options available (and a huge variety of styles, depending on whether you’re looking for a backpacker hostel, a self-contained apartment or a more luxurious accommodation).
We recommend Base Backpackers Airlie Beach for a couple of reasons:
- They’re very affordable for backpackers on a budget (prices start at $60.00/night)
- They are centred in town, close to all the amenities, activities, shops and restaurants.
- They offer campervan parking for those who may be travelling up the coast on their holiday as opposed to flying.
Day 2 – 3 | The Whitsunday Islands
If you’re eager to head out and explore the gorgeous Whitsunday Islands, get ready to experience the best Airlie Beach cruise on offer. Tongarra is an exciting sailing adventure perfectly suited to backpackers who want to see and breathe the Whitsunday Islands like no other.
After a relaxing morning spent at the Airlie Beach Lagoon, or exploring the shops, enjoy a leisurely boardwalk stroll down to Abell Point Marina just after lunch and climb aboard Tongarra—a majestic and spacious sailing vessel.
As an intimate, social sailing experience, you can expect to make some new friends for life, enjoy freshly prepared BBQ meals, and fall asleep under the stars before waking up right next to stunning Whitehaven Beach.
The second day will be spent exploring the islands, sinking your toes into soft sands, swimming in crystal clear waters and snorkelling among our friendly marine life. You’ll return on day three completely rejuvenated after an exciting couple of days out on the water.
Day 4 | Airlie Beach
Back in Airlie Beach, you’ll want to make the most of your last day here. There is so much to see and do, but it’s easy to explore every inch of the Airlie Beach village in a short amount of time.
If you haven’t already got one, we recommend hiring a campervan for the next leg of this trip—and if you decide to do so early, you can drive out to historical Shute Harbour, or experience a sparkling sunset view unlike any other at the secluded boat ramp in Mandalay.
If you prefer to get around on foot, check out the Segway tours on offer which will take you around Airlie Beach. There are also plentiful beaches, bushwalks and lookouts to discover—and you’ll find more than enough bars to enjoy a couple of cold ones at the end of the day.
Day 5 | Cedar Creek Falls
Back on the road! It’s time to visit one of the best kept secrets of the Whitsundays—Cedar Creek Falls.
Hidden away off the main highway, it’s a bit of a drive from Airlie Beach (which is why so many tourists overlook it)—but it’s sure worthwhile visiting. This gorgeous piece of paradise is surrounded by rainforest and bushland, and there’s a freshwater swimming hole you can relax in.
You’ll love the stunning waterfall (which you can even hike up to via a bushwalking track), and seeing some native wildlife in the area. It’s easy to access and makes for the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.
Find out more about Cedar Creek Falls and how to get there: https://redcatadventures.com.au/a-day-at-cedar-creek-falls/
From there, you can continue on to your next destination (which is roughly an hour and a half drive from Cedar Creek Falls)—so you’ll likely arrive in the late afternoon or evening.
Day 6 | Horseshoe Bay
Wake up next to another stunning beach! Horseshoe Bay is a mesmerising little cove consisting of surf, sand, and plenty of swimming opportunities. There’s also so much to explore—including a short bushwalk up to Rotary Lookout which you won’t want to miss!
Horseshoe Bay is a relaxing and fun place to end your stay in the Whitsundays, and there are even powered van sites at Horseshoe Bay Resort.
Day 7 | Choose Your Own Adventure
From here, it depends on whether you want to keep the road trip going, or you’re ready to fly elsewhere. The airport is just a short trip back towards Proserpine—but if you’re keen to keep exploring, you can follow the highway north towards Townsville and explore a couple of gorgeous and interesting towns along the way.
In Townsville, there is so much to see and do (and there’s another airport)—but it’s a couple of hours drive, so it’s definitely geared more for the road trip loving traveller.