Moving around the mainland is a breeze with Whitsunday Transit, the area's public bus system. With over seventy daily services, you'll never feel stranded and tickets are reasonable. Hamilton Island offers a free public bus service, shuttling passengers along three routes from 7am to 11pm between the different resorts. A round trip takes just half an hour, showing you the size of this island paradise.
Hamilton Island's iconic electric golf buggies are popular to rent, simple to operate and great fun to drive. And it's the most convenient private transport option, as cars aren't allowed on the island. They seat two to four passengers and can be hired for a few hours or for the day. Prices start from around $45 for an hour.
Island hopping by boat is an absolute must in this area. Cruise Whitsundays runs an extensive network of ferry transfers, connecting islands from Hamilton to Daydream. If you're confident, skipper your own yacht and cruise the islands at your own pace, with a fully stocked cupboard of snorkeling gear and cooking equipment available if you're staying onboard for longer.
The breathtaking aerial views from seaplane or helicopter are nothing short of amazing. Island hopping by air is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and not as complicated or pricey as you might expect. Whitsunday Island Air Taxis service the entire island area and can meet any national flight. Your hotel should have all the details and be able to arrange air transfers for you.
Tropical Queensland is lucky enough to boast sunshine and warm temperatures throughout the year. Summer months, especially March, can be extremely hot and wet. Jellyfish float around all year, but numbers are particularly high from October through May and getting stung is serious business. The best time to go is between June and October, which is also whale watching season.
Most resorts around the Whitsundays have their own medical clinics. However, if you require a more equipped facility then Proserpine Hospital is 25km away from Airlie Beach. If you find yourself stranded and need quick attention, dial 000 for the helicopter ambulance service. Fire, police and sea rescue can also be reached on this number.
Most water activity operators provide customers with specially designed protective stinger suits. Even if it's the low season, it's better to be cautious as stings can be deadly depending on the species. If you do get stung, vinegar will provide some relief and most boats and beaches will have some close at hand. Pour it liberally over the affected area and seek medical treatment.
Picturesque scenes of the crystal clear, tranquil waters around the Great Barrier Reef can be deceptive. Waters can be very choppy, so don't forget to keep your luggage and items fastened securely on any boat trips you go on. All too often, sunglasses, bags and wallets are thrown overboard when the wind rocks the boat a little too hard.
Virgin Australia flies daily from Sydney, stopping off at Hamilton Island en route to Airlie Beach in 3 hours, 40 minutes.
The quickest journey time takes just over 7 hours on board Virgin Australia to Proserpine with one stop in Sydney.
Get to Proserpine on Jetstar in 1 hour, 30 minutes. Go further on Virgin Australia to Airlie Beach which takes 3 hours, 30 minutes with a stopover in Hamilton Island.
If you're staying on an island, book through Cruise Whitsundays for the easiest and fastest connection. Special shuttle bus drivers will meet you at the airport and take you to Shute Harbour or Abel Point Marina to catch the boat. If you land at Hamilton Island, the jetty is a mere 100m from checkout. Take the stress out of organising your transfers separately.
Arrive at the front door of your resort in A-list style by air, flying over the exquisite Coral Sea. Helireef Whitsundays offers reasonably priced trips between Shute Harbour Airport, Hamilton Island and Proserpine with prices starting from around $140 depending on your route. This is a truly thrilling start to your Whitsundays holiday and the price tag is worth the spectacular views.
Whitsunday Transit provides luxury, air-conditioned services from Whitsunday Coast Airport. Bookings can be made when you land, but must be made 48 hours in advance if you need return transport to the airport. A one-way ticket to Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour starts from $15 per adult and $9 per child and can be purchased onboard.
The area is famous for the turquoise seas and coral reefs, but there are some fabulous scenic routes around the mainland that are worth exploring at your own pace by car. Lush rainforests, secluded beaches, rivers and waterfalls sometimes get overlooked. Major operators run desks at Proserpine and Whitsundays Airport. Islands don't allow cars so this option is for mainland visitors only.
Glide over remarkable turquoise seas, marveling at bright coral formations in neon blue waters. On your air safari, try spotting turtles and manta rays before sweeping down onto the water's surface. This experience is one for the bucket list and you can't appreciate the reef's extraordinary scale until you've seen it by air. Flights leave from Terminal 1, Whitsunday Airport.
Daydream Island is a tropical paradise in the heart of the Whitsundays. This blissful resort is designed for pampering with swimming pools and spa facilities. Dive into watersports, scuba and a round of tennis. For kids, there's marine and forest life to explore, with shark feeding and guided walks. Tours leaves from Abel Point Marina and include lunch at your choice of restaurant.
With hundreds of islands, species and an astonishing assortment of corals, it's no wonder this is one of the world's most exquisite destinations. Board a high-speed catamaran to Hardy Reef and explore this natural wonder up close. Enjoy open water views on top or marvel at the marine life in the glass-walled deck below. Reefworld departs from Hamilton Island and Shute Harbour daily.
Board a Camira yacht and sail to glorious Whitehaven Beach. With your mind on the stunning views, you may not notice you're on one of the world's fastest catamarans! En route, swim, snorkel or kick back on the deck. You'll be treated to a barbecue lunch and refreshments throughout the day. Prices start from $175 with boats departing from the main ferry terminals daily.
Mouth-wateringly fresh pizzas stand out on the menu at Manta Ray, one of Hamilton Island's most popular restaurants. This casual café is perfect for relaxed family dining and kids eat free! If you feel like going local, try some lovely seafood mains. This might not be fine dining, but the food is tasty, the prices are honest and the setting is gorgeous.
This charming little pizza bar is light hearted and friendly. You could be in the centre trendy Melbourne rather than a tropical paradise. The décor borders on rustic and edgy and the menu is adventurous. You don't have to stick to pizza, with their range of delicious finger food a treat. The dessert burger is amazingly unique so make sure to leave room.
An award-winning Whitsundays favourite, with generous portions of fresh seafood served with a smile. This lively restaurant has loads of space and plenty of energy. The interior is practical, with the focus on food and cocktails served by bubbly bar staff. Order the soft shell crab and calamari accompanied by a mojito. This place guarantees good fun.
A luxury, five-star experience awaits in this acclaimed restaurant at Hamilton Island's glamorous Yacht Club. Beautifully fresh ingredients are crafted into sublime dishes like four spice duck ham and local painted crayfish. Romantic and serene with attentive service that makes you feel like a guest of honour. The premium prices are not unreasonable, and worth paying for on a special occasion.
A laid back, late night venue for dancing in the club or live music in the bar. This is Hamilton Island's late night option, and if you aren't into music then you can shoot some rounds on the pool table. The bar opens from 9pm until late every Wednesday to Sunday.
With a fabulous outdoor deck and some of the best views on the island, Marina Tavern is a popular pub venue. Watch the boats bob up and down beneath the palm trees and order an ale or cocktail. The prices are reasonable and the kitchen produces some hearty traditional pub food.
'Mamas' is an eccentric, safari-themed bar that ranks as one of the top venues with tourists and locals, who swarm here late to get down and party to big beats. A tip is to arrive just before midnight when the crowd starts to pick up after the beach bars across the road close.
A chilled-out vibe with an enormous beer garden and plenty of big screen TVs to watch the game. Stay into the night, when the dance floor starts to pick up. There's no dress code or stuffiness as the mixed crowd is just here to relax and have a good time.
Take a scenic morning flight from Terminal 1, Whitsunday Airport to Whitehaven, the region’s most famous beach. See paradise from above, soaring over a network of 74 islands, colourful corals and swirling blue-green waters beneath. Land on Whitehaven and spend the rest of your morning soaking up the sun on velvety white sands, snorkeling in crystal clear waters and exploring this spectacular national treasure. That afternoon, charter your own boat packed with barbecue equipment and cold drinks. Sail to Cid Harbour where the sunsets are extraordinary.
Sail to the Whitsunday Islands National Park and explore the exquisite rainforest surroundings with a two-hour return climb up Whitsunday Peak. The panoramic views at the top are breathtaking and make the hike truly worthwhile! Next, sail to neighbouring Hook Island for a swim and a feast at picturesque Luncheon Bay. Afterwards, make your way to Butterfly Bay and spend the rest of the afternoon swimming with the local turtle population. A unique and heartwarming experience.
Spend the day exploring the Great Barrier Reef up close, with a trip to magical Knuckle Reef pontoon onboard ‘Seaflight’. Explore the pristine reefs with snorkeling or scuba equipment, with guided tours given by professional marine biologists. The pontoon features one of the region’s largest underwater viewing chambers and a giant waterslide for kids. Departing at 8am daily from Abel Point Marina, the whole journey will take 10 hours and includes a buffet lunch and refreshments throughout the day.
Enjoy your last day in total relaxation on Daydream Island. There are plenty of activities requiring different energy levels and are suitable for all tastes and ages. Indulge in some day spa pampering before heading to the pool area for some quiet time. Or take to the tennis courts for a few rounds before cooling off with some snorkeling in the tropical island seas. Children will love the guided walks through the lush rainforests learning about the huge variety of local insects. This island is absolute bliss and a perfect way to end your Whitsundays trip.
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