The Whitsundays are located in central Queensland, approximately 1,100km north of Brisbane and 700km south of Cairns. Getting to Airlie Beach, the gateway to the Whitsundays, is easy with a variety of air, rail and road options available.  

Arriving by flight

The Whitsundays are serviced by two domestic airports, Whitsunday Coast Airport on the mainland at Proserpine, and Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island. Proserpine is situated about 20kms inland from Airlie Beach with shuttles meeting all flights to take you to in to the beach town. International access to the Whitsundays is available via connecting flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane or Cairns. Airlines servicing the region are Qantas, Virgin Australia, Tigerair and Jetstar.  

Approximate flying times:  

  • Sydney - 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Brisbane - 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Melbourne - 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Cairns - 1 hour 30 minutes

Arriving by train

Queensland Rail's 'Sunlander' and 'Queenslander' services to Proserpine depart Brisbane and Cairns several times weekly. The Great South Pacific Express also services this area. Alternatively, you can discover Queensland's tropical beauty aboard the country's most innovative train, the Tilt Train. The new Tilt Train services Proserpine Station, with two return services weekly between Brisbane and Cairns. 

Arriving by coach

Coach company Greyhound offers regular services between major cities and Airlie Beach. Greyhound has several daily services that run northbound from Brisbane and southbound from Cairns. 

Arriving by car

If you choose to drive to the Whitsundays the roads are in excellent condition with some beautiful scenery along the way. The Bruce Highway runs from Brisbane to Cairns. The turn off to Airlie Beach is one km north of Proserpine (150 km north of Mackay, 300 km south of Townsville) and is then a 20km trip into the beach town. 

Approximate travel times  

  • From Brisbane - 13 hours
  • From Cairns - 8 hours
  • From Mackay - 90 minutes
  • From Bowen - 50 minutes
  • From Proserpine - 15 minutes