Ocean Rafting’s Whitsunday tours visit the “wild side” of the Whitsunday Islands, the uninhabited islands with beautiful natural scenery brimming with marine, bird and animal life. Ocean Rafting operates two exciting Whitsunday tours daily from Coral Sea Marina in Airlie Beach, the Northern Exposure and Southern Lights, carrying guests on an adventure to experience some of the Whitsundays’ most desirable destinations. Our guests experience Ocean Rafting’s signature adrenalin fuelled action while exploring the islands, inlets and beaches on custom built semi-rigid inflatable vessels, travelling at speeds of up to 30 knots.
Our Whitsunday tours …
The Northern Exposure and Southern Lights Whitsunday tours are both fully guided and include an exhilarating ride to Whitehaven Beach, pristine snorkelling reefs and guided Whitsunday Island National Parks walks, all in one day! Ocean Rafting has direct access to all areas of the stunning and iconic Hill Inlet Beach and special snorkel sites at Hook Island and Border Island ensure a memorable underwater experience. These two award-winning tours are also packaged with a range of other Whitsunday experiences, including Scenic Flights and our popular Fly Raft package.
Our crew …
The fabulous crew on our Whitsunday tours to Whitehaven Beach are well trained professionals and will ensure that your day with us is fun and memorable. Reef and island naturalist talks are offered by the Skipper and Eco Host with on board vessel commentary, guided walk information and snorkelling instruction. First time snorkellers….no problem! They have great local knowledge of the island’s flora, fauna and marine wildlife and informative talks include historical, geographical and ecological information of the Whitsunday area.
Our fleet …
Ocean Rafting has a fleet of eight boats operating daily Whitsunday tours, beginning with one vessel named ‘Jammin’ in 1997, followed shortly by ‘Wild Thing’ in 1998. The third vessel, ‘Thrilla’, joined the Whitsunday fleet in September 2004. In 2008, Ocean Rafting’s sister company, Ocean Safari, commenced operating tours to the Great Barrier Reef from Cape Tribulation. The fourth Whitsunday based vessel, ‘Thunderstruck’, arrived in December 2010, the fifth, ‘Joyride’ in March 2015, the sixth, ‘Rip Tide’, in September 2016 and the 7th vessel ‘Black Betty’ in June 2018. Ocean Rafting’s most recent addition, ‘Wipe Out’, arrived in the Whitsundays in September 2020, rounding the Whitsunday fleet out to eight vessels.
Our vessels …
All boats are up to 12 metre semi-rigid inflatable vessels, originally designed and built as rescue crafts and are driven by 500hp engines, allowing guests to experience a fun, high speed ride amongst the natural beauty of the Whitsundays. 70% of the vessel has shade, providing comfort from the tropical sun. The vessels take a maximum of 25 to 32 passengers, with small groups allowing guests to experience tropical paradise away from the crowds, while still having the ability to carry up to 238 guests per day on Whitsunday tours with eight vessels. The size of the boats also make them ideal for private charters for groups.
A special adventure …
Ocean Rafting is proud to have special permits allowing the vessels to visit protected areas of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and offers a highly unique experience, including access to Hill Inlet, one of the Whitsundays’ most famous icons, which is found on many postcards. A visit to Hill Inlet, Whitehaven Beach and snorkelling pristine coral reefs all in one day, along with the “ride of your life”, allows for a very special adventure!
Awards, Accreditations and Memberships …
Ocean Rafting is dedicated to both preserving the Great Barrier Reef and supporting our tourism industry and as a multi-award winner, actively participates and contributes as follows:
Ocean Rafting is proud to have won the following Whitsunday, Queensland and Australian Tourism Awards:
- Whitsunday Major Tour & Transport Operator Gold 2023
- Whitsunday Adventure Tourism Gold 2023
- Whitsunday People’s Choice Winner 2023
- Whitsunday Young Achievers Award Winner – James Unsworth, Ocean Rafting Environmental Manager, Skipper and Master Reef Guide.
- Australian Adventure Tourism Silver 2022
- Queensland Adventure Tourism Gold 2022
- Queensland Major Tour & Transport Operator Silver 2022
- Whitsunday Major Tour & Transport Operator Gold 2022
- Whitsunday Adventure Tourism Gold 2022
- Whitsunday People’s Choice Winner 2022
- Queensland Major Tour & Transport Operator Silver 2021
- Whitsunday Adventure Tourism Gold 2019
- Whitsunday People’s Choice Winner 2019
- Queensland Major Tour & Transport Operator Silver 2019
- Queensland Adventure Tourism Bronze 2019
- Adventure Tourism Awards Eco and Sustainability Silver 2019
- Adventure Tourism Awards Best Activity in Queensland Bronze 2019
- Adventure Tourism Awards Best Activity in Australia Bronze 2019
- Queensland Major Tour & Transport Operator Silver 2018
- Whitsunday Major Tour & Transport Operator Silver 2018
- Queensland Adventure Tourism Bronze 2018
- Whitsunday Adventure Tourism Silver 2018
- Australian Major Tour & Transport Operator Gold 2017
- Queensland Major Tour & Transport Operator Gold 2017
- Whitsunday Major Tour & Transport Operator Gold 2017
- Queensland Adventure Tourism Bronze 2017
- Whitsunday Adventure Tourism Bronze 2017
- Australian Major Tour & Transport Operator Gold 2016
- Queensland Major Tour & Transport Operator Gold 2016
- Whitsunday Major Tour & Transport Operator Gold 2016
- Queensland Major Tour & Transport Operator Silver 2015
- Queensland Adventure Tourism Bronze 2015
- Whitsunday Business of the Year Winner 2015
- Whitsunday People’s Choice Winner 2015
- Whitsunday Hall of Fame Winner 2014
- Whitsunday Tour and/or Transport Operator Winner 2014
- Queensland Tour and/or Transport Operator Winner 2013
- Queensland Adventure Tourism Silver 2013
- Whitsunday Tour and/or Transport Operator Winner 2013
- Whitsunday Adventure Tourism Winner 2013
- Australian Tour and/or Transport Operator Winner 2012
- Australian Adventure Tourism Bronze 2012
- Queensland Adventure Tourism Winner 2012
- Queensland Tour and/or Transport Operator Winner 2012
- Whitsunday Tour and/or Transport Operator Winner 2012
- Whitsunday Adventure Tourism Winner 2011
- Queensland Adventure Tourism Finalist 2011
- Queensland Tour and/or Transport Operator Finalist 2011
- Whitsunday Adventure Tourism “Hall of Fame” Award
- Whitsunday Adventure Tourism Winner 2008
- Queensland Adventure Tourism Finalist 2007
Best Of Queensland Experience:
Ocean Rafting once again received a perfect score of 100/100 as a 2023 Best of Queensland Experience! The Best of Queensland Experiences Program is an innovative program that guides the Queensland tourism industry to deliver exceptional customer experiences, create positive word of mouth, help attract more visitors, grow expenditure and increase market share. The program has been developed in partnership with the state’s Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs), the Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) and the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport (DTIS). It identifies and recognises experiences that best bring the Queensland story to life and consistently deliver a high-quality visitor experience.
Ocean Rafting is a 2023 Viator Experience Awards winner and one of Australia and New Zealand’s Top 20 Experiences!
Viator is a Tripadvisor company and one of the world’s leading marketplaces for travel experiences, showcasing 300,000+ worldwide experiences.
Ocean Rafting earned a 2023 Travellers’ Choice award being in the top 10% of attractions worldwide, for consistently achieving a ‘5 out of 5’ rating from guests and is proud to have received the prestigious Hall Of Fame recognition. Ocean Rafting was ranked in the ‘Top 1% of Tourism Businesses Around The World’ and in the ‘Top 10 Experiences in Australia’ in the 2020 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best Awards! Travellers’ Choice awards are the highest honour TripAdvisor can give and is based on reviews and opinions from millions of travellers!
- 2023 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award
- 2022 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award
- 2021 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice award
- 2020 TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Best of the Best award winner in the Top 1% of Tourism Businesses around the world
- 2019 and 2020 TripAdvisor Top 10 Experiences in Australia, ranking 6th overall and one of only two Whitsunday operators.
- 2019 TripAdvisor Hall Of Fame recognition
- 2019 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
- 2018 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
- 2017 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
- 2016 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
- 2015 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
- 2014 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
- 2013 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
- 2012 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
- NB: TripAdvisor renamed the award from Certificate of Excellence to Travellers’ Choice Award in 2020.
Advanced Ecotourism Certification:
Ocean Rafting has been certified for its Whitsunday tours since 1998 at the Advanced Ecotourism level, the highest level of ECO certification achievable.
Ocean Rafting has been entered into the coveted Ecotourism Australia Hall of Fame for being continuously certified for 20 years or longer.
Green Travel Leader:
Ocean Rafting is acknowledged as a Green Travel Leader through Ecotourism Australia highlighting our extensive and ongoing commitment to conservation and sustainability.
Climate Change Business:
Ocean Rafting is also certified as a Climate Action Innovator dedicated to reducing carbon emissions and committing to sustainable practices related to addressing climate change.
Quality Tourism Accreditation:
QTAB Accreditation reflects quality assurance and the delivery of quality tourism experiences.
Sustainable Tourism Accreditation:
QTAB Sustainable Accreditation reflects Ocean Rafting’s environmental standards for activities in protected areas.