About Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands

Fabulous white sand beaches, tropical forests, amazing swimming and snorkelling, the Whitsunday Islands and nearby Barrier Reef are the perfect holiday islands. The resorts on the islands of Hamilton, Hayman and Lindeman provides superb retreats.


Shore excursions in Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands (tours from Airlie Beach)

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Airlie Beach - Sights and History

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 3 hours

Discover the history of this charming beach side town as you absorb the sights.

Travel back in time, and relive the days in which the sugar industry was the lifeblood of this growing region.

Boarding your coach at Abel Point Marina, you will travel through Cannonvale on your way to the Proserpine Historical Museum. You will see exhibits highlighting some of the history of the Whitsunday regions sugar and cattle industries. The collection showcases a ‘Digger’, a vintage steam locomotive that was once used in the sugar fields during World War I, before ceasing operation in the sugar cane fields in the mid 1920s.

Departing the Museum, a panoramic drive will take in some of the sights of this developing area, and you can admire the panoramic views of the harbour and the Whitsunday Islands. Your tour concludes at the Whitsunday Sailing Club, where refreshments of tea or coffee and a slice of cake will be served overlooking the water.

Returning to the quayside via shuttle bus, you may wish to take some time to explore some of the many boutique clothing shops and cafés that line the streets of this bustling little town.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach. Passengers on the afternoon departure can opt to remain longer at the Sailing Club, however they are then responsible for making their own way back to the quayside.

The Great Barrier Reef

Activity lowMeal includedRefreshments included

Duration: 8 hours

Discover the world’s largest reef system, the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the great wonders of the natural world. This living reef was formed millions of years ago and is now home to hundreds of different types of colourful fish and coral.

Enjoy the coastline views as you take a catamaran ride of around 2½ hours across to the Knuckle Reef purpose made pontoon. Here, you’ll have approximately 2½ hours to indulge in a variety of activities at the reef. The submerged paradise can be explored during a ride in the glass bottom boat or from the pontoon’s underwater viewing chamber - these options allow you to spot the tropical fish and intricate coral gardens without getting wet. For those wishing to get closer to the world’s richest marine habitat there will be plenty of time to swim and snorkel or simply relax and admire the views.

During your visit, a buffet lunch will be served accompanied by tea or coffee.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by catamaran. Transfer time is around 2½ hours each way. The fare includes a fee which goes towards the management and protection of the reef. There are approximately 10 steps to access the catamaran, glass bottom boat and viewing chamber. Please bring a towel, sunscreen and swimwear. There is a no smoking policy on the catamaran and reef pontoon. The tour operates in all weather and cancellation is at the discretion of the Harbour Master. Those prone to seasickness should take the necessary precautions as the sea can get rough at times. Watersports, diving and guided snorkel tours may be on offer and are unconnected to P&O Cruises and are payable direct. Qualified scuba divers require proof of certification. Please remember to carry a credit card or local currency for any additional purchases.


A selection of cruises to Great Barrier Reef & Whitsunday Islands (tours from Airlie Beach)

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