The Whitsundays is a great location for a family holiday, with its calm, warm waters and beautiful islands. This page contains information on The Whitsundays that may be of value to families including a list of facts and some family friendly advice.
Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Etihad Airways, and Air New Zealand fly to Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast Airport) from Brisbane. You can fly to Hamilton Island (Great Barrier Reef Airport) direct from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns flying Jetstar, Virgin Australia and Qantaslink.
It's best to book early to get cheaper airfares especially if you plan to travel in the school holidays.
Booking accommodation online is now the norm, with most resorts offering an online booking facility. There are also numerous online travel companies
where you can check resort facilities and accommodation types, check for availability and price, and book your holiday using a credit card.
In Airlie Beach, the local art and craft market is held on the foreshore every Saturday morning. Markets are held in Bowen every Sunday from April to December and Mackay has weekend markets. Proserpine also has a monthly market and some interesting shops in the main street.
There are many boutiques and souvenir shops in the main street of Airlie Beach.
Larger shopping centres can be found in nearby Cannonvale, Bowen and in the Mackay City Centre.
Things To Do
There are many activities for families to enjoy in The Whitsundays. Here are some of the most popular ones:
There are 25 historic murals painted on the walls of buildings in Bowen, depicting the town's history. There are guided walking tours during the winter months. Bowen is just over an hour's drive north from Airlie Beach.
Peter Faust Dam (Lake Proserpine)
Located 26km west of Proserpine, this is a great fishing spot - especially for barramundi. You will need a permit to fish here. Also a great location for water sports including water skiing. There are picnic and BBQ facilities and a boat ramp.
Cedar Creek Falls
Located 20km from Proserpine, these falls look their best in the wet season. You can swim in the pool and there are great bush walks around the falls.
Whitsunday Great Walk
Located in the Conway State Forest, the trail is 30km long. Shorter walks can be taken off the main track. The walk starts at Brandy Creek, 10km from Airlie Beach. There are 2 camping areas along the walk.
Great Barrier Reef
Easily accessible from the Whitsundays, an amazing place to dive or snorkel. Heart Reef is located in the Whitsundays, and is best seen from the air. There are scenic helicopter and seaplane flights available.
This 7km long beach is located on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the Whitsunday islands. This stunning beach with its pure white sands is the most photographed in Australia. Head to the lookout at Tongue Point for the best views. Many tour companies offer day trips to Whitehaven Beach.
Diving and Snorkelling
Some of the best dive spots in the Whitsundays are the Stepping Stones, Bait Reef, Hardy Reef and the Pinnacles. There are many dive operators located in Airlie Beach.
You can explore the Whitsundays on a sea kayak, either rent your own or join an expedition.
Quad Bikes and Go-Karts
Located on Hamilton Island, kids from 6 years and up can enjoy the fun of quad bikes and go-karts. There are quad bike tours around the island for adults.
Wild Life Hamilton Island
This park has native Australian animals including koalas, kangaroos, birds, snakes and lizards. There is the opportunity to cuddle a koala and get a great souvenir photo. There is a cafe where you can have 'Breakfast with the Koalas'. Open from 7am.
Located in Mackay, the kids will love the 3 pools, waterslide and water park. There is a cafe and BBQ facilities.
Eungella National Park
Located 80km west of Mackay, this park is a haven for platypus. There are many walks and hikes to try and lots of wildlife to observe. There is an Information Centre at Broken River and you can also join a tour.