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Whitsundays day trips vs overnight tours

whitehaven, couples

If you've travelled to Airlie on a budget or a time constraint, chances are you may only be able to book one or two tours whilst you're here; you want to do as much as possible, for as little cost as possible.

Day tours offer a great way to get a flavour of what the Whitsundays have to offer, and with prices tending to float around the $150-$200 mark and usually including lunch as well as morning and afternoon teas, day tours can offer great value for money. These tours tend to hit all the tourist hotspots on the reef, and will leave you with some great photographs to take home; but if you are hoping to discover some of the hidden gems the area has to offer, try your hand at diving, or just spend a little more time exploring Whitehaven, overnight tours offer a once in a lifetime experience.

Overnight tours do not only offer you the freedom to explore more of the reef, but experience more of the wildlife too. The majority of the life on the reef exhibits vastly different behaviours throughout the day and night and may even be more easily spotted at certain times. A great example of this is early morning turtle spotting! With the sunrise you can often catch turtles surfacing around the boats for their first breath of the day. The night offers great sightseeing benefits too, the most notable from your boat being the mass of sea life, friendly reef sharks, and dolphins attracted by the blue lights of the vessel.

From watching the sunrise over the ocean to catching the first light to dive, overnight tours offer the chance to broaden the horizons of your trip enormously. The freedom to play on the reef until the longer does come at a price, but fortunately not one that you will regret!  

If you have already had the chance to look up hostels, and hotels in the area, then you have likely found some great deals, but still find yourself faced with a $200-$300 bill to live it up on Airlie Beach for a few days; when you factor in food and the inevitable night out, the skies the limit budget-wise.  If you are anything like me, I came to Airlie for the reef, Whitehaven, and the Whitsunday Islands; and a few days on the reef, food and accommodation included was a far easier sell than another hotel room with a day tour! 

You can read more about the incredible opportunities and benefits of overnight sailing tours here! 


If you do find yourself lacking the financial freedom to snatch that extra day on the reef, or simply don't have the time available to spend long lazy days cruising the Whitsunday coastlines, day tours do offer a great experience at a budget price.

If you choose well, you will find tours to and from the various tourist hotspots, with opportunities to snorkel one or two of the more accessible areas of the reef, and on a handful of the boats, chances to chuck on a tank and dive too. Day tours on the reef will satisfy the curiosity of many, and ensure you take away some great memories from the area. A truly unique and spectacular experience that will leave you wishing you had more time to explore. 

Check out our most popular day tours here! 

whitsunday bullet, day tour


Overnight trips are undeniably the best way to see the reef and tour the islands. From the history of the reef to the development of the islands; your crew you will have all the facts along with all their local insider knowledge you'll find yourself in the best and often lesser-known areas of the Coral Sea. With a wealth of vessels travelling the vast expanse of the reef; you'll find everything from total luxury and relaxation to dive and exploration tours. If you have the freedom to book a two to three day tour around the Whitsundays there really is no better option. Day tours offer a great experience but with all there is to see, you will find yourself wishing you had booked that extra day!

Read more about what to expect on an overnight sailing trip here! 

hammer, overnight tour

If you're ready to start planning your perfect day trip or overnight tour, chat to our friendly Whitsundays travel experts online or call +61 74914 2425 for more information on which tour is right for you today! 

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