Whitsundays

More information

The Whitsundays are located in the heart of the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef, with 74 tropical islands dotting the Coral Sea, and a lively and diverse mainland hub at Airlie Beach.  The beautiful waters provide excellent cruising grounds as they are protected by the natural barrier created by the Great Barrier Reef.

Cruise ships in the Whitsundays have the choice of anchoring at a number of designated anchorages:

Fizalan (great access to Hamilton Island)
Funnel Bay (great access to Airlie Beach)
Cid Harbour
Hardy Reef
South Hayman
Port Molle
Turtle Bay
South East Hamilton Island

These anchorages are serviced by high-speed catamarans. This allows passengers access to a range of activities.

There are facilities, known as Reefworld, on the Outer Reef, which provide easy access for passengers to experience this World Heritage area.

Reefworld is Australia's most sophisticated, permanently anchored offshore platform, where guests can see and experience some of the most beautiful coral formations and spectacular marine life on the Queensland coast.

From the anchorage at Cid Harbour, passengers can access Hamilton Island or undertake other tours by catamaran.

Airlie Beach

Transfers by catamarans can be arranged from the anchorages to the mainland. The anchorage at Funnel Bay is the closest anchorage to the mainland and the resort town of Airlie Beach.

A trip to the Whitsundays isn’t complete without stepping foot on world-famous Whitehaven Beach, on the eastern half of uninhabited Whitsunday Island. Jump aboard our half day tour where you can laze in the sun on the beautiful white sands of one of the world’s best beaches. Pure white pristine silica sand and crystal clear waters make this a perfect destination for your day in the Whitsundays!

Visiting the Great Barrier Reef is a must! There are many ways to experience this magnificent natural wonder. Whether you take a glass-bottom boat ride, visit an underwater observatory or swim and snorkel around the reef, you are in for an unforgettable day.

The mainland also offers a diverse range of experiences - visit Whitsunday Gold Coffee Plantation, explore the markets in the Airlie Beach main street or relax under a palm tree at the lagoon.  There is a relaxed tropical vibe in Airlie Beach that will make it hard to leave!

Hamilton Island

Fitzalan Anchorage allows easy access to the world class tourist destination of Hamilton Island.  One of the 74 world-famous Whitsunday Isles, this tropical paradise sits at the southern tip of Australia's magnificent natural wonder, The Great Barrier Reef, and offers stunning scenery and beaches brimming with water sports.

From its original Aboriginal inhabitants, to its sighting by Captain Cook in 1770, and its evolution as a tourist destination in the 1970s and 1980s, Hamilton Island has had a long and fascinating history. Keith Williams, one of Australia’s first island resort developers, owned Hamilton Island between 1975 and 1996 and was behind the development of the Hamilton Island Marina. In 1996, Hamilton Island became a publicly-listed company, and in 2003, the Oatley family bought the island. Since then, the family has spent $350 million dollars, adding the yacht club, the marina precinct and the luxury resort Qualia. Today, Hamilton Island is a world-class tourist destination.

Getting around is made easy on Hamilton Island with free shuttle busses operating regularly throughout the day to your destination. You will find plenty of dining options at Hamilton Island Marina, ranging from fish and chips to high tea.  Make it to Hamilton Island’s renowned hilltop lookout and you’ll be rewarded with legendary Whitsunday views, which you can enjoy with a coffee, cocktail or wine and cheese. The climb is appropriate for all ages and fitness levels, so no one misses out on this truly unforgettable experience.

Hardy Reef Anchorage, Reefworld features are:

  • two large, moored floating platforms, large enough to cater for up to 900 people in comfort at any one time
  • two underwater observatories with seating for 50 people in six semi-submerged snorkelling platforms for easy access to the water
  • two separate infants - swimming enclosures
  • fresh water showers, toilets and change room facilities
  • large, uncrowded open sundeck and extensive shaded areas
  • semi-submersible submarines for coral viewing
  • a retail and souvenir shop on the reef
  • snorkel equipment, including sealed snorkel mouthpiece for each guest is supplied
  • informative commentary and presentation by qualified marine biologists en route to the reef
  • information brochures are offered in six languages to service international guests
    Optional activities at Reefworld
  • scuba diving - both introductory and certified dives are available with our skilled and experienced dive instructors
  • helicopter joy flights over the world famous Heart Reef
  • guided snorkel adventures with marine biologists 

It is possible to visit both Reefworld and Cid Harbour in the one day by anchoring at Hardy Reef in the morning. Some passengers can then remain at Reefworld while the ship cruises to Cid Harbour. The passengers at Reefworld can rejoin the ship in Cid Harbour by fast catamaran.

Working hours

Customs Officers 24 hours
Quarantine Officials 24 hours
Immigration Officials As for Customs

Customs and Immigration

Passenger Manifest Three copies at the first port of call with one copy to Immigration with the passengers card one copy to Customs and the third copy to remain on board the ship.
Embarking Passenger Manifest 3 copies - 1 to Customs 1 to Port 1 stays
Crew Manifest 2 - 1 at first port to Immigration 2nd stays.
Stores List 2 (Aust. Customs Service and Sydney Ports Corporation
Customs Declaration (Ship) 1 (Australian Customs Service)
Customs Declaration (Crew) 2 (Australian Customs Service)
Forms Comments All forms listed above are produced at the first Australian port of call and then one copy of each form travels on board the ship to be produced at subsequent ports.
Customs Declaration (Passengers) One at first Australian port of call only.

Port health

Health Declaration One (pratique) at first Australian port of call only

 

The following Ground Handlers are CDU members and supply superior ground handling services throughout Australia.

Anchorage Information

Note: Permits must be obtained from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) before anchoring in the Whitsundays and Outer Great Barrier Reef.

Access to the Whitsundays Area

Under the Whitsundays Plan of Management (in force since 27 October 1999) cruise ships may anchor anywhere in the Whitsundays Area more than 1500 metres from a reef, or closer at nine designated cruise ship anchorages, including weather alternatives. Ships may use Turtle Bay simultaneously during northerly winds and any of the other
six designated anchorages independently.

Only three cruise ship bookings a day are available in the Whitsundays area.

Since 27 October 1999, cruise ships have been required to carry a pilot when operating in the Whitsundays and ships' tenders may only be used for transferring passengers to port facilities or local tourism operations.

Booking arrangements

Booking arrangements have been introduced to manage access to designated cruise ship anchorages and bookings should be in writing and directed to:

Administrative Assistant, Tourism and Recreation
Telephone: +61 7 4750 0775
Facsimile: +61 7 4724 2264

Email: registry@gbrmpa.gov.au

Bookings are taken on a 'first come first served' basis and will not be confirmed until the appropriate Marine Parks permits have been issued. Any itinerary changes should be notified to the Authority as soon as possible, so bookings can be reconfirmed. Please note that it is an offence to use a designated anchorage without a valid booking.

The designated anchorages are:

Hardy Reef Cruise Ship Anchorage

At or about:
(a) the point of latitude 19o;44.45o; south, longitude 149o;08.40o; east; or
(a) No.2 beacon bearing 090o;, distance 1.10 nautical miles

Fitzalan Passage Anchorage

Approximately 20 degrees 19 minutes South, 148 degrees 56 minutes East, is located adjacent to Hamilton Island [ approx 1 n.m.] with easy access to a number of popular tourist destinations.

Cid Harbour Cruise Ship Anchorage

The area the boundary of which:
(a) commences at the point of latitude 20o;14.30o; south, longitude 148o;56.00o; east;

(b) then runs south-easterly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;15.00o; south, longitude 148o ;56.20o; east;

(c) then southerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o;15.70o; south, longitude 148o;56.20o; east;

(d) then westerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o;15.70o; south, longitude 148o;55.80o; east;

(a) then northerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;14.30o; south, longitude 148o ;55.20o; east;

(f) then easterly along the geodesic to the point of Turtle Bay Cruise Ship Anchorage

The area the boundary of which:

(a) commences at the point of latitude 20o ;19.50o; south, longitude 149o ;01.00o; east;

(b) then southerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;20.00o; south, longitude 149o ;01.00o; east;

(c) then westerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;20.00o; south, longitude 148o ;59.50o; east;

(d) then northerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;19.50o; south, longitude 148o ;59.50o; east;

(e) then easterly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

[Note: Turtle Bay is not surveyed to modern standards and uncharted dangers may exist. A survey of Turtle Bay will be conducted by mid 2000. In the interim, Turtle Bay is not recommended as a cruise ship anchorage.]

Funnel Bay Cruise Ship Anchorage

The area the boundary of which:
(a) commences at the point of latitude 20o ;13.20o; south, longitude 148o ;44.75o; east;

(b) then runs southerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;14.60o; south, longitude 148o ;44.75o; east;

(c) then westerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;14.60o; south, longitude 148o ;43.00o; east;

(d) then northerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;13.20o; south, longitude 148o ;43.00o; east;

(e) then easterly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

Port Molle Cruise Ship Anchorage

The area the boundary of which:
(a) commences at the point of latitude 20o ;19.00o; south, longitude 148o ;50.10o; east;

(b) then runs southerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;19.80o; south, longitude 148o ;50.60o; east;

(c) then westerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;19.80o; south, longitude 148o ;50.00o; east;

(d) then northerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;19.00o; south, longitude 148o ;49.50o; east;

(e) then easterly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

South East Hamilton Cruise Ship Anchorage

At or about the point of latitude 20o ;22.10o; south, longitude 148o ;59.25o; east

South Hayman Cruise Ship Anchorage

The area the boundary of which:
(a) commences at the point of latitude 20o ;04.20o; south, longitude 148o ;53.40o; east;

(b) then runs south-easterly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;04.70o; south, longitude 148o;53.20o; east;

(c) then south-westerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;04.28o; south, longitude 148o ;52.27o; east;

(d) then north-westerly along the geodesic to the point of latitude 20o ;03.90o; south, longitude 148o ;52.51o; east;

(e) then north-easterly along the geodesic to the point of commencement.

PILOTAGE

Pilotage Name Australian Reef Pilots
Pilotage Address PO BOX 338 Albion Queensland 4010
Pilotage Phone No +61-7-3262-4600
Pilotage Fax No +61-7-3262-5633
Email amaffina_arp@bigpond.com
Website www.reefpilots.com.au
Is Pilotage Compulsory Yes
Position of Pilot Pickup At nearest port outside the Marine Park
Distance from Berth n/a
Pilot VHF Channel n/a
Description of Pilot Boat n/a
Pilot Hours n/a
Pilotage Fees n/a

 

Shipping Agents:

Shipping agents

The following CDU members offer superior service throughout the region.

Port Operations/Services

Barwil Agencies Oceania
Address 9/189 Kent Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Telephone +61 2 9439 7223
24 hour contact +61 416 189 760
Fax +61 2 9439 8587
Website www.barwil.com
Email sydney@barwil.com.au
Services Contact: Greg Coopman.
For details of services see the Barwil entry under Members and Contacts- then scroll down to Shipping Agents.
Beaufort Shipping Agency Company
Address Level 8, 120 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000
  GPO Box 3988 Sydney NSW 2001
Telephone 61 2 9364 8960
24 hour contact +61 411 123 013
Fax +61 2 9364 8999
Website N/A
Email operations@beaufortshipping.com
Services Contact Ian McAllister
For details of services see the Beaufort entry under Members and Contacts- then scroll down to Shipping Agents.
Information on other Shipping Agents can be obtained from the Port Authority (see Port Operator).

 

Anchorages

Locations Refer back to Port

Approach and Pilotage

Details Refer back to Port

Nearest ports

Australia Townsville
Nearest Overseas Port n/a

 

Refer to Port Approach and Anchorage's page.