The significantly improved Bruce Highway takes you north from Brisbane to Rockhampton thence to the first Great Whitsunday destination, Sarina, followed by Mackay, Proserpine and Bowen.
Airlie Beach is off the highway. On Proserpine’s northern outskirts, turn east for the 20 minute drive past emerald green sugar cane farms and forested hilltops to The Whitsunday Coast. Watch out for the breathtaking view over Abell Point Marina just before arriving in Airlie Beach.
Book on the new and fast trains (1800 872 467) and specify Proserpine, Mackay (also the destination for Sarina and Eungella) or Bowen as your destination.
Pre-book transfers to your accommodation.
From Brisbane: Jetstar and Virgin Australia offer daily services to Mackay, Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine) and Great Barrier Reef (Hamilton Island) Airports.
Qantaslink lands four times weekly on Hamilton Island.
From Sydney: Tigerair flies direct to the Whitsunday Coast three times weekly, with extra school holiday services.
Qantas also flies into Hamilton Island and Mackay, and links Hamilton Island and Cairns.
From Melbourne: Jetstar takes you to the Whitsunday Coast (beginning 25 June, 2015); Qantas to Hamilton Island.
From Gold Coast: Take a Jetstar flight, landing in Mackay.
International: Fly onwards to Bali from Townsville with Air Asia/Jetstar (check with Jetstar for the 2015 start date).
From Proserpine, it’s a 30-minute transfer to coastal destinations with a transfer shuttle service, public bus, shared taxi or limousine.
Hamilton Island arrivals get a bonus picturesque big catamaran transfer to your other island or mainland destination for only a portion of the cost of a cruise.
Or book a spectacular light plane flight to the mainland.
Transfers from both airports should be pre-booked. For Sarina and Eungella destinations, a wide choice of hire car companies, taxis and transfer services are at Mackay airport
Timetables are free from most receptions for transit buses to get you around and connect with mainland airports.
Taxi ranks are on Airlie Beach’s main street and in the two major shopping centres in nearby Cannonvale. Pre-booked hire cars can be collected at the mainland airports and in Airlie’s main street.
Inter-island boat connections can take you to various islands and the fixed wing plane and helicopter fleet offers island and mainland transfers. The airports can also park and refuel your private plane. Pack light! You need sun block, a hat, sunglasses, a T-shirt for snorkelling, casual clothes, a warm jacket, sandals and soft-soled shoes for boat cruises and coral beaches.Cruise Whitsundays Resort Connections
Pack only the basics:
- A camera
- Sun block
- UV protective sunglasses
- A t-shirt for snorkelling
- Some mix and match casual clothes and a warm jacket for cooler nights on the water.
In summer, favour natural fibres. Shoes? Think sandals plus casual soft-soled shoes that protect feet from coral beaches yet don’t mark boat decks.
Protective lycra suits (stinger suits) for holidays between October and May can be hired or purchased on arrival. If possible use a stinger suit year round.
Note: Don’t overload your luggage with snorkel or dive gear - plenty is available locally for hire, and if you leave anything at all behind, you can pick it up here at major supermarkets and speciality stores.