How to do the Whitsundays on a budget: under $100 per day

Think a holiday to the glorious Whitsundays is too expensive and out of your price range? Think again!

Wake up under canvas, meet some new friends, sail the islands, sample the local cuisine, kayak through crystal clear waters and enjoy the Great Barrier Reef. It’s all possible for much less than you’d think.

Whether you travel by yourself, as a couple or with a group of mates you don’t have to spend a fortune to understand why this part of the world is one of the most desirable and aspirational travel locations on the planet. Here’s a few tips on how to do The Whitsundays on a budget.

Explore the nature


If adventure is something you relish, then take to the water for a camping trip with a difference. Pack your life into dry-bags, plot your route on the map, grab a paddle and take to the sheltered waters that surround the islands.

Imagine cooking freshly caught fish on the barbeque, sipping a cold beer as the sun sets on your first day, and preparing to camp on a sandy beach. Ahh the serenity!

You could climb to the top of the island’s peaks, snorkel with thousands of fish, devour a good book… or if you’re really lucky, spot an elusive dugong.

Salty Dog Sea Kayaking and Whitsunday Camping offer some of the best package deals for your own Voyage of Discovery, much like Captain Cook 240 years ago.

Everything you need can be hired including kayaks, safety gear, tents, camping kit – they’ll even book your camping permits for you. Take a look at our guide to kayaking The Whitsundays and you’ll be swapping motorised boats for oars in no time!

What’s the damage? From $40 per night for single person kayak, $50 per night for a two person kayak.

See Australia’s best beach


Going to the Whitsundays and not visiting Whitehaven Beach is like going to Paris and not laying eyes on the Eiffel Tower. It’s a must do, and you don’t have to break the bank to do it.

Jump on-board one of the many day cruises that depart Abell Point Marina, glide across the Whitsunday passage, wander along the pristine white silica sand, and relax as you take in the views. Explore other ways of experiencing this breathtaking beach here.

What’s the damage? $99 per person for a half day cruise with Cruise Whitsundays, includes food.



Airlie Beach is one of THE backpacking destinations in Australia with its glorious lagoon, tropical weather, access to the islands and vibrant nightlife.

There’s a multitude of backpacking options available, however having your own private room and bathroom needn’t cost the earth.  Big 4 Whitsunday Resort takes the cake for providing hotel style rooms and facilities for a fraction of the cost.

What’s the damage? From $95 per night for a studio apartment or from $35 for camping and caravanning.




Photo by Darren Jew

Now here’s one you probably wouldn’t have thought possible. Chartering your own yacht to cruise around the islands!

Plan your trip with a group of around eight mates, ensure at least one of you has the relevant marine skills to sail the boat (skippers can be hired too), pack your sunscreen, swimmers and snorkel and set sail for a secluded inlet.

Bareboats are an awesome way to get out on the water and live the yachtie-tottie lifestyle without having to be a Formula One driver or own a coal mine. You could cruise along Whitehaven Beach, explore the Ngaro Aboriginal Sea Trails, climb to the top of Whitsunday Peak or just drop anchor and watch the sun go down as your rib-eye steak sears on the barbeque beside you. To find out more on how to bareboat The Whitsundays, see our guide.

What’s the damage? A bareboat charter with Queensland Yacht Charters costs around $65 per person for a group of eight.

If you are in serious wanderlust mode about The Whitsundays and are hungry for more information on how to do it on the cheap, check out this list of free things to do in Airlie Beach, and our complete backpacker guide to the Whitsundays. You’re welcome.

Have you done the Whitsundays for under $100 per day? Tell us your tips in the comments below!