How to get to the Whitsundays

The Whitsunday Islands lie off the central coast of Queensland, around 900km north of Brisbane and 600km south of Cairns, and are easily accessible by air and sea from the mainland.


Hamilton Island, Whitsundays
Aircraft landing at Hamilton Island – Image courtesy of hihh.com.au

Getting to the Whitsundays

You have two options: fly to Hamilton Island Airport or the smaller Proserpine Airport on the mainland. Proserpine is best if you plan on staying at Airlie Beach or are picking up a yacht charter from Shute Harbour.

There are no direct international flights to Hamilton Island Airport or Proserpine Airport.

In Australia, Jetstar Airways and Virgin Australia Airlines offer direct flights to Hamilton Island from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne. Qantas Airways flies direct from Cairns.

Only Jetstar Airways and Virgin Australia Airlines offer direct daily flights to Proserpine from Brisbane.

From the UK: British Airways and Qantas Airways operate direct flights to Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, with connecting flights to Hamilton Island.

The London (Heathrow) to Sydney (Kingsford Smith) route is the most popular scheduled flight to Australia from the UK. Emirates, Thai Airways, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific, among others, also offer connecting flights.

From the USA: Several airlines including V Australia, United Airlines, US Airlines, Delta and Qantas Airways offer direct flights from Los Angeles to Sydney and Brisbane, with connecting flights to Hamilton Island.

Flight time to Proserpine

Brisbane to Proserpine is 1 hr 45 min, direct flight
Sydney to Proserpine is 4 hr 55 min, with connecting flight

Flight time to Hamilton Island

Brisbane to Hamilton Island is 1 hr 40 min, direct flight
Cairns to Hamilton Island is 1 hr 25 min, direct flight
Sydney to Hamilton Island is 2 hrs 30 min, direct flight
Melbourne to Hamilton Island is 2 hrs 55 min, direct flight
Perth to Hamilton Island is 8 hrs 5 min, with connecting flightˆ

Auckland to Hamilton Island is 7 hrs 45 min, with connecting flightˆ
London to Hamilton Island is 27 hrs 55 min, with connecting flightˆ
New York to Hamilton Island is 27 hrs 55 min, connecting flightˆ
Los Angeles to Hamilton Island is 21 hrs 25 min, connecting flight
(ˆIncludes layover time.)

Flying in

Hamilton Island Airport is the main air hub for the Whitsunday Islands and the Great Barrier Reef. Also known as the Great Barrier Reef Airport, the airport is located south of the Marina, just five minutes from the resorts.

Commercial flights arriving at Hamilton Island Airport are met by the free airport transfer service. In addition, guests of Qualia resort, Beach Club, Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows and several holiday homes receive complimentary transfers from Hamilton Island Airport to the respective accommodation.

The smaller Proserpine Airport is around 26km southeast of Airlie Beach on the mainland. A shuttle bus connects Proserpine Airport to Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour. Hire cars are also available along Shute Harbour Road.

Entry requirements

UK, USA and Canadian nationals must have a passport valid for intended period of stay. A visa is required, except for those with Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). New Zealand citizens are granted a Special Category Visa on arrival.

For more info: Whitsundays Map

Check out the best flight deals at TripAdvisor

Explore the Whitsundays

Brampton Island
Daydream Island
Hamilton Island
Hayman Island
Hook Island
Lindeman Island
Long Island
South Molle Island
Whitsunday Island

Latest update about The Whitsundays: 15 March, 2017

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