Essentially, Shute Harbour is a center of transit for visitors to the Whitsunday Islands. Amazingly, for such a low-populated area, the harbor is actually Australia's second busiest commuter port. It is also home to one of the most active seaplane bases in the entire southern hemisphere. And though there is a small village here, the vast majority of tourists simply just pass through town on their way to catch a ferry or a cruise around the islands.
However, if you find yourself in town with a couple hours to spare, there are a few hiking trails through Conway National Park that find their bases in Shute Harbour. If you want a great view overlooking the island and the harbor itself, you could take a quick drive up to Coral Point.
One of the other reasons that people come to Shute Harbour is for the waters just offshore that host some of the top fishing spots anywhere in the region, with the most popular catches in the area being Barramundi and Coral Trout. Accordingly, there is a large contingency of operators that run sportsfishing tours.
Shute Harbour is connected to the other Whitsunday Islands not only by chartered boats, but also by an extensive ferry system. There are regular ferries to Airlie Beach, Daydream Island, Long Island and Hamilton Island. If you intend to arrive in Shute Harbour by air, you'll need to come via float plane or fly into Hamilton Island and then catch the ferry over.