The Whitsundays is a collective term that refers to The Whitsunday group of islands just off the coast from Airlie Beach. Technically there is an invisible line that separates The Whitsundays from Airlie Beach.
This invisible line is only located 1 nautical mile outside of Coral Sea Marina which means that you will generally be in ‘The Whitsundays’ only minutes after departing on your boat tour from Airlie Beach.
It’s quite common for us as tour guides to be asked, ‘When do we get to The Whitsundays?’, luckily the answer is straight forward to explain.
Consider yourself to be in The Whitsundays as soon as you leave the marina. If travelling on Thundercat, you will be out of the bay and amongst the islands within 10 minutes.
From the marina entrance, you will already be able to see Hayman Island and Hook Island, and about 20 minutes into your tour you will be able to see around 10 more islands.
Travelling at 25 knots it takes one hour to reach Whitehaven Beach on Thundercat which means the distance covered is 25 Nautical Miles. Converted to kilometres, that is 46 Km. This is obviously not as the crow flies because boats need to stay in the water.
Whitsunday Islands Zone Map
Zone map from GBRMPA