A 74-island paradise of reefs, beaches and aquamarine waters
Cosmopolitan and inviting, the Whitsunday region stretches from the central town of Airlie Beach along the stunning coastline and into the picturesque hinterland. Jewels in the Whitsunday mainland crown include Bowen with its eight beaches (and Big Mango), Cedar Creek Falls with its spectacular cascades set in a natural rock amphitheatre and the isolated, wildlife-rich hamlet of Hydeaway Bay.
There’s so much to do here – popular activities include diving or snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef opens in new window, sailing the 74 Whitsunday islands opens in new window, dipping your toes into Whitehaven Beach’s opens in new window silica sands, viewing the swirling sands of Hill Inlet or flying over Heart Reef opens in new window. Try hiking, jet skiing, kayaking, ocean rafting and parasailing. And don’t miss the chance to take a trip along the Ngaro Sea Trail, a one-of-a-kind combination of seaways and scenic walks taking in Whitsunday, South Molle and Hook islands.
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Things to do
Airlie Beach opens in new window is your mainland base for holidaying throughout the Whitsundays, with accommodation styles as varied as the languages you’ll hear on the streets of this international destination. You’ll find everything from hostels to hillside luxury apartments and villas. Thanks to its proximity to the islands, Airlie Beach is the heart of the Whitsundays with an array of dining and nightlife options to match.
A 40-minute drive north of Airlie Beach lies Bowen opens in new window, a sleepy seaside town boasting eight beautiful beaches that remains off the tourist radar. It’s a wonderful place for a day trip or overnight stay. Beyond its sublime beaches, Bowen is renowned for its juicy mangoes and fresh local seafood. Horseshoe Bay and Rose Bay are idyllic spots for a sunset dinner on the seaside and you can even snorkel directly from the beach!
Hideaway Bay and Dingo Beach
Discover the charming secrets of the Whitsunday Coast. Dingo Beach opens in new window and Hydeaway Bay opens in new window (pictured) are tiny townships with stunning shorelines. Stay at the beachfront resorts to make the most of the seclusion and serenity. Conway Beach opens in new window is a favourite with caravanners, thanks in part to its wide bay at low tide that’s perfect for kite-flying, cycling and walking. Windsurfing and kitesurfing are also popular.
Proserpine and Collinsville
Proserpine opens in new window and Collinsville opens in new window are charming towns, slightly inland from Airlie Beach opens in new window, with much to discover. No visit to Proserpine is complete without a walk around the eclectic shops with their Art Deco facades or fishing on Lake Proserpine in search of the iconic barramundi. Resorts and caravan parks in the area offer secluded and peaceful getaways, away from the tourist buzz of Airlie Beach.
The Whitsundays not only boasts beautiful shorelines, it also lays claim to some remarkable subtropical rainforests. Many of the islands are home to hiking trails where visitors can admire the grand old pines, get close to the wildlife and enjoy breathtaking views. Cedar Creek Falls opens in new window is the ideal spot for a picnic on the mainland. The natural water hole and waterfall are picture-perfect in the wet season and following showers at other times of the year.
Whitsunday Coast Airport (Proserpine opens in new window – PPP)
Distance to Airlie Beach 40 km
Taxi A taxi to Airlie Beach will take around 35 minutes and cost around AUD $80.
Shuttle Whitsundays 2 Everywhere buses meet every flight and take around 40 minutes to reach Airlie Beach. One-way adult fares are around AUD $22; pre-booking required.
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When to go
Spring and autumn, with sunny weather, low humidity and temperatures from 19°C, are great times to visit the Whitsundays. Summer temperatures – between December and February – can hit a high of 30°C, sometimes accompanied by tropical showers.Back to top
Whitsunday Transit provides a local bus service around the area. If you're staying in Airlie Beach, you'll find that most tourist activities include a return shuttle service to your accommodation. If you plan to drive, hire a car at Whitsunday Coast Airport or Airlie Beach. For something different, hire an open-top mustang or do a Segway tour from Airlie’s main street.Back to top