Planning your Whitsundays holiday

  • Events
  • Getting here and about
  • Maps
  • Weather

Welcome to the Great Whitsundays - Events

The Whitsundays’ smorgasbord of events means something is on almost any time of the year.
It’s definitely worth considering timing your holiday to coincide with the Reef Festival or Airlie Beach Music Festival, both world class major events.

Depending on your interests, many more special events are on the calendar, from sport to food and wine.
To explore beyond those listed, or find out more, keep checking the local Whitsundays events calendar, updated daily.

2017 Events
Things to do anytime
Whitsunday region events - updated daily

Getting here

By road

The Bruce Highway heads north from Brisbane to Rockhampton thence to the first Great Whitsunday destination, Sarina, followed by Mackay, Proserpine and Bowen. Allow an overnight stopover.

On Proserpine’s northern outskirts, head to Airlie Beach and surrounding coast by turning east for the 20 minute drive past emerald green sugar cane farms and forested hilltops to Airlie Beach and the Whitsunday Coast. Watch out for the breathtaking view over Abell Point Marina just before arriving in Airlie Beach.

By transit coach

Proserpine, Airlie Beach, Sarina, Mackay and Bowen are regular stops for north and southbound transit coaches - no need to drive yourself.
Your accommodation host may provide a courtesy transfer, or take a taxi.

Whitsunday Taxis

By rail

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.

Queensland Rail Travel
Whitsunday Transit rail transfers

By air

From Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, daily direct services to Whitsunday Coast Airport (Proserpine), Great Barrier Reef (Hamilton Island) and Mackay can be booked on one or all of Virgin, Jetstar and Tigerair
depending on the day. Flights increase during school holidays so check schedules for the time you want to travel.
Qantaslink and/or Qantas land daily on Hamilton Island. Qantas also flies into Mackay, and Qantaslink joins with Cairns.
International: Fly onwards to Bali from Townsville with Air Asia/Jetstar.
Transfers: From Proserpine, it’s a 30-minute trip to coastal destinations with a transfer shuttle service, public bus or shared taxi.
Hamilton Island arrivals get a bonus picturesque big catamaran transfer to your other island or mainland destination. Or book a spectacular light plane connection.
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

Virgin Australia

Cruise Whitsundays Resort Connections
Island Air
Whitsunday Transit airport transfers
Whitsunday Taxis airport transfers
Whitsunday Limousines airport transfers

Getting about

Around the mainland

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.

Whitsunday Transit timetable
Mackay Transit timetable
Whitsunday and Mackay Taxis

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 at several Airlie Beach main street services. Scooters and bicycles also available from some outlets.

Fun Rentals
We Do Scooters and Cars
Whitsunday Limousines

Around the islands

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
Island Air
GSL Aviation

Welcome to the Great Whitsundays - Maps

Whitsundays local maps
Mackay City
Mackay Northern Beaches
Pioneer Valley - Eungella - Broken River
Sarina to Cape Hillsborough
For more maps - Go to "Maps" in the content menu of our eMag here.

Welcome to the Great Whitsundays - Weather

Seasons on the tropical Queensland coast revolve around summer green and winter dry with little transition between the two.
In summer, from about November to March, the humidity is higher with warm days and balmy nights. At other times, days are mild and the nights cool.

Summer rain, most likely between late January and March, is a fact of life and an opportunity to experience first hand the essential annual 'renewal' of life. Waterfalls, rainforest, wildlife and the reef all come to life.

At other times, the outdoors will feature on almost every day's holiday planner.

Whitsundays weather, tides and more by the minute.

What to pack

Pack only the basics:
          - A camera
          - Sun block 
          - Hat
          - 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.