Winter in The Whitsundays

Airlie Beach Race Week Sailing Fun.

By Cait Fleming, Whitsunday Tourism

Trade your southern winters for a Whitsundays winter, where mother nature serves up balmy 25-degree days (average) and equally temperate nights.

Winter is the ideal season to soak up the sunshine and explore all The Whitsundays has to offer, from beaches and ocean views to relaxing mornings at the beachside markets and the iconic Great Barrier Reef Festival. There is so much to do that you’ll have to stay all winter to get through it!

Here’s our top four things to do in winter in The Whitsundays:

Head out on the water to spot some whales

There are few things as magical as catching a glimpse of a Humpback whale emerging from the depths of the ocean.

From June to September, the warm waters of The Whitsundays transform into a whale-calf nursery as Humpback whales migrate north each year from the Antarctic to mate, socialise and birth.

The best way to experience the majestic breaching of a whale, catch a tail splash, or spot a playful calf is to head out on one of the many day tours to Whitehaven Beach or the Great Barrier Reef. With so many whales in the water, every boat as the potential to be a whale watching vessel!

Explore the Bowen

Bowen is the northern township and food bowl of The Whitsundays and winter is the perfect time of year to explore what’s on offer. Loved for its incredible beaches, Bowen is also home to a large range of fresh produce and fresh from the trawler seafood.

If you enjoy history, head into the Bowen Museum and discover Bowen’s vast history and some of the famous people who have come through this quiet seaside town.

Fancy a seafood dinner? There are several seafood shops along the marina edge that all sell freshly caught local seafood, usually from their own trawlers. It doesn’t get fresher than that.

Don’t forget the veges! Take a brief detour north where you’ll find roadside shops and stalls selling freshly picked local fruit and vege. The produce on offer in winter is usually zucchinis, capsicums, cauliflower, broccoli, honey, mandarins, bananas plus so many more.

Events and Festivals Galore

A terrific way to discover the best of the reef is the Great Barrier Reef Festival, held each year in August. This four-day-long festival involves carnival rides, market and food stalls as well as a pop-up bar on the foreshore.

Not just a festival of fun, this reef focused environmental celebration aims to educate on the ecological impacts of the reef, highlighting The Whitsunday lifestyle and community in the “heart of the reef” – Airlie Beach.

For sailors, Airlie Beach Race Week hosts their annual sailing race on the waters of Pioneer Bay and The Whitsunday Passage. For those not quite as savvy with their sea legs, you’ll find the Whitsundays Festival of Sailing onshore free for all to join.

If land-based, adrenalin-pumping racing is for you, head north and buckle up for the action-packed, multi-terrain Don River Dash event. Held at the Don River near Bowen, the two-day race sees off-road buggies and bikes race along the riverbed.

If the sound of the ultimate long lunch interests you, then ready up for the White on Whitehaven Long Lunch, by Fish D’vine. This unforgettable event takes place over four days and features a seafood buffet lunch served on Whitehaven Beach. Soak up the champagne, and breathtaking sights across Whitsunday Island, and mingle until your heart is content on pristine silica-rich beaches.

Immerse yourself in history

The Whitsundays isn’t widely known for the history-soaked township of Collinsville, which lies only two hours inland from Airlie Beach. Settled in the early 1900s for mining, Collinsville has seen some huge changes and has managed to document some of them. There’s plenty to see, but the must do things are: Explore a heritage-listed mine from 1915 with the Heritage Society, learn about one of Australia’s worst mining accidents at The Coalface Experience and get a photo with the Pit Pony statue that locals erected to celebrate the pit ponies who were active in Collinsville until the 1950s. Make sure you grab a fresh apple turnover at the bakery while you’re there!

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