How to Travel to the Whitsundays & Airlie Beach

The great news about the Whitsundays is you can fly, drive, take a bus or ride a train to get here!

All those iconic attractions on your ‘must do’ list - the Great Barrier Reef, Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island, Long Island or your very own island sailing adventure – are within easy reach.

When travelling to the Whitsundays, there are a few things you need to know, so here is our quick guide. And remember, you can always talk to our friendly team at AirlieBeach.com, the Whitsundays Central Reservations Centre.

Flying into the Whitsundays

There are two choices if you are travelling by air to the Whitsundays - Whitsunday Coast Airport (Proserpine), which services the mainland and most of the Whitsunday Islands, and Great Barrier Reef Airport, on Hamilton Island. Both airports offer flights to and from most Australian cities.

Whitsunday Coast Airport

If your holiday is based in Airlie Beach – the main hub for travellers visiting the Whitsundays - you might wish to fly into Whitsunday Coast Airport, just south of Proserpine, and then use one of the many transfer services available to get to your accommodation (about a 30-40 minute drive).

To get from the airport, the best option is a shuttle service, which will take you right to your door. Shuttle services and limousines servicing the airport need to be pre-booked and our team at AirlieBeach.com can arrange this for you, right after you book your flight. There is also a taxi service available from the airport to Airlie Beach, extending through to Shute Harbour.

Three airlines fly into Whitsunday Coast Airport: Virgin Australia – Tigerair – Jetstar

Whitsunday Coast / Proserpine Airport

Credit to the photographer – Gill Jurgens – Zesty

Hamilton Island

Hamilton Island also has a domestic airport (Great Barrier Reef Airport), which services visitors to the island itself and also the Whitsunday mainland via ferry transfer. Cruise Whitsundays’ ferries are timed to meet the plane arrivals and go via Daydream Island, arriving into the Port of Airlie Marina, in Airlie Beach. Mackay also has a domestic airport, servicing most Australian cities, 150km south of Airlie Beach.

Three airlines fly into Mackay and Hamilton Island - Virgin Australia – Qantas Link – Jetstar

By Road to the Whitsundays

The Whitsundays are very accessible by road and are just a 20-minute drive from the main arterial Bruce Highway, which connects visitors with Townsville and Cairns to the north, and Mackay and Brisbane to the south.

Hire Cars

Several hire car companies operate in the Whitsundays – including Eurocar, Hertz and Avis - and usually arrangements can be made to pick up and leave cars wherever is convenient for you.

Camper Vans

You can also hire a campervan from the Airlie Beach ‘Wicked Campers’ depot, in Cannonvale.

Tourist Coach or Bus to Airlie Beach

There are bus services running the length of the Queensland coast that pass through Airlie Beach each day. These services run from Brisbane to Cairns and stop at most major towns and cities along the coastal route.
We can assist you with coach bookings. Call or email our team for further information or to book your ticket.
Two carriers drop off and pick up in the Whitsundays: Premier – Greyhound Australia

By Rail to the Whitsundays

Queensland Rail Travel offers a fast and comfortable option for getting to and from Proserpine, with the train station just a 20-minute drive from Airlie Beach.
There are five northbound stops and five southbound stops each week at Proserpine station, then a connecting bus service will take you to Airlie Beach.
Or for that special touch, you can pre-book a shuttle service or limousine with our team at AirlieBeach.com. We can also book Queensland Rail tickets for you.