Whitsundays Destination Guide
The ideal place to base yourself during your visit to the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach is the main access town to the Whitsunday islands and Great Barrier Reef. This busy ‘village-like’ town is accommodating to all types of travellers as well as the friendly locals and features everything they will need. Airlie Beach itself is made up of one main street with small surrounding suburbs and 3 marinas connecting them.
Airlie Beach is home to a wide variety of retail outlets, accommodation places, restaurant and take-away places as well as doctors, dentists, chemists, hairdressers and everything in between.
The street is always lively with street-side restaurants, and live music from the beer gardens, pubs and nightclubs.
If you don’t have a vehicle while in the Whitsundays, it is ideal to stay in or very close to the main street with everything in walking distance.
How to get there? Best idea is to get an airport shuttle bus from the Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine) Airport which is approximately 40 minutes.
With its world-class golf course, incredible yacht club, fine dining experiences and top quality accommodation, Hamilton Island is the most popular of all habited islands in the Whitsundays.
But the fun doesn’t stop there. With the main type of transport on the island being golf buggy, the journey is just as fun as the destination. Get set for plenty of fun at the go-kart course, mini golf, watersport activities, bowling alley, shooting range and off-road adventure tour.
Or choose to relax poolside, be spoiled at the beauty spa, sunbake on Catseye Beach or why not try some parasailing. The possibilities are endless.
For those with more time, enjoy a great night’s sleep at any of the island’s variety of hotels and apartments, including the world famous qualia.
How to get there? Cruise Whitsundays runs the only ferry transfers to/ from the island and connects to Port of Airlie's maritime terminal in Airlie Beach. Alternatively there is a flight through GSL (based in Airlie Beach) which also can drop off/ pick up from the Hamilton Island Airport.
Whitsunday Island has to be the most famous of all of the Whitsunday Islands as the home to the one and only Whitehaven Beach. Whitehaven Beach's claim to fame is its trademark pure silica sand which stretches some seven kilometres along the shoreline of the island. With the island protected by the Whitsunday Islands National Park, the beach remains untouched in its natural state and is home to a number of special marine creatures and wildlife. Time on the island is best spent wading in the shallow waters, sunbaking or perched under an umbrella, taking a beach stroll and just enjoying the texture and warmth of the sand.
A stop at Whitehaven Beach wouldn't be complete without a bushwalk to the world famous Hill Inlet Lookout which gives a picture perfect view of the swirling silica sands below, aqua blue Coral Sea and the tropical islands abroad.
How to get there? Almost every day and overnight sailing trip will visit Whitsunday Island's Whitehaven Beach. Please check full itinerary. Alternative trips are via seaplane.
Out outside of Airlie Beach is the residential area of Cannonvale. Slightly more relaxed and less tourism-orientated, Cannonvale also fronts the Coral Sea and features many shops and beach-front play grounds, swimming areas, public barbecue facilities and eateries.
Cannonvale is also home to shopping centres (with banks, cafes, chemists etc) and Abell Point Marina which is where most tours depart and return. Cannonvale is just a short walk from Airlie Beach itself, with the scenic and popular Bicentennial Walkway linking the two areas.
Further accommodation options are also available in Cannonvale.
How to get there? Walk from Airlie Beach along the Bicentennial Walk, catch a public bus or taxi.
One of the most popular islands in the Whitsundays, Daydream Island is the ideal tourist hotspot for all travellers whether they stay for one day or a few nights.
Accommodating families, teenagers, couples and independent travellers, Daydream Island offers a huge variety of activities, things to see and do, motel options as well as places to wine and dine.
Not only this, be entertained with the widely-popular mini golf course, rainforest walk, watersport activities, pools and more.
Certainly one of the highlights of the island is its very own living reef coral lagoon, which features a huge array of fish and coral species which are found on the Great Barrier Reef.
How to get there? Cruise Whitsundays ferry transfer to/ from Airlie Beach's maritime terminal located at Port of Airlie marina.
This exclusive island is also the most northerly of the Whitsunday islands. One&Only Hayman Island attracts celebrities from around the world with its exclusive island resort and luxury status. This private island can carry a heavy price tag but guests of one&only Hayman will only understand the magic of a luxury stay on a tropical island.
Hayman Island is a perfect ideal wedding location and is ideal for honeymooners and couples wanting absolute privacy in luxury accommodation.
How to get there? Fly via Hamilton Island Airport, sea plane or helicopter.
The best airport to fly into the Whitsundays is located in Proserpine. The Proserpine or Whitsunday Coast Airport services commercial flights through Tiger Air, Jetstar and Virgin Australia and is just a short drive from Airlie Beach. Regular shuttle bus transfers run from Proserpine to Airlie Beach on conjunction with each flight.
Proserpine is a small, rural town inland of Airlie Beach and offers a different side of the Whitsunday region. Proserpine is home to the sugar cane mill, Proserpine (Peter Faust) Dam, Proserpine Historical Museum and more. It is certainly a must visit place while in the region.
How to get there? Proserpine is home to the Whitsunday Coast (Proserpine) Airport which is the most convenient airport to fly to/from the Whitsundays.