To get to the Whitsunday Islands you can either take a flight straight to Hamilton Island, or get to the mainland town of Proserpine and transfer to Shute Harbour or Airlie Beach, two coastal towns 10 km apart and both offering boat and seaplane transfers to the Islands.
The Whitsunday Information Centre (1300 717 407, email@example.com) can make bus and ferry bookings for you if you like.
The Whitsundays are accessible by two airports:
- Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island (HTI) is serviced by Virgin Blue, Jetstar and Qantas Link with daily direct flights from Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney (a two hour flight), Melbourne (a three hour flight) and connection points beyond. Boats depart to many of the Whitsunday Island resorts from a point adjacent to the airport.
- Whitsunday Coast Airport in Proserpine (PPP) is serviced by Virgin Blue and Jetstar offering daily direct flights from Brisbane and connecting flights from most other capital cities. Transfers into Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour can be organised through Whitsunday Transit. Buses and taxis meet every flight ready to bring travellers to their accommodation. Don't forget to check with your accommodation to see if transfers are included in your package.
Connecting the towns along the Queensland coast is the Bruce Highway, a part of Australia’s national road network. It runs right through the Whitsunday region; just north of Proserpine is the turnoff east to the communities of Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour.
The Sunlander and Tilt Train rail services link Proserpine to all the major destinations along the coast from Brisbane to Cairns. To get from Proserpine to Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour there are connecting coaches.
If you wish to see the Whitsundays, sailing is an excellent option. There are a huge range of sailing tours and charter boats available:
- Atlantic Clipper Whitsundays One of the largest vessels in the Whitsundays that has onboard diving.
- Cruise Whitsundays Catamaran sailing wherever you want to go, also has a pontoon on the reef at Knuckle Reef.
- Fantasea Adventure Cruising Big and packaged, like a white Sydney ferry.
- Ocean Rafting Fast and fun with high speed boats that can brave all conditions. This company actually caters for the island-hopping day-trippers, but can comfortably fit a few campers packs and water on board.
If you need some more help have a look at Sailing Whitsundays which lists a range of options.