How to get a cheap flights to the Whitsunday Islands? You have a couple of choices of airports – Whitsunday Airport, which is a 25-minute drive to Airlie Beach, and Hamilton Island Airport.
The Whitsundays get their name from explorer Captain James Cook. He sailed through the islands on June 4, 1770, thinking it Whit Sunday (the seventh Sunday after Easter) and naming them after that day. He was wrong. It was actually Whit Monday, but it’s easy to lose track of time in this part of the world.
Since 2008, the islands and towns such as Airlie Beach, Cannonvale and Shute Harbour, make up the Whitsunday Region. Of the 74 islands that bask in the sparkling waters off the Queensland coast, eight have resorts (Hamilton, Daydream, Hayman, Lindeman, Long and South Molle) that cater for all types of tourist be they backpacker, couple, family, eco tourist, adventurer or luxury-lover.
Several islands are protected national parks – Lindeman Islands (14 islands south-east of Airlie Beach), Molle Islands (six islands, 6 miles east of Airlie Beach), Whitsunday Islands (features Hook and Whitsunday) and Gloucester Islands (home to the Proserpine rock- wallabies).
If you were to put together a wish-list for the perfect vacation the Whitsundays have it covered. Beautiful beaches, azure-blue seas, endless sun, lush vegetation, coral reefs, wonderful wildlife and lots of out-of-the-hammock activities such as horse-riding, skydiving, cruising the reefs, taking a scenic flight, touring the rainforests, whale watching. The Whitsundays have it all.
The Whitsundays have a Tropical climate. The trade winds have a moderating influence for most of the year. Summer (November-April) weather is generally hot and humid. Temperatures average about 88 degrees. January to March is the wet season and cyclones are a possibility during these months. The winter (May-October) is considered by many (those from South Australia for example) to be the perfect time to take cheap flights to the Whitsundays. Days are warm and nights are cool and the south-easterly trade winds keep the temperatures in the 73-82 degree range. The water temperature is in the 68-77 degree range.
The school vacation determines peak season in the Whitsundays. Christmas, New Years and the school vacations in January, Easter (March or April), late June to early July and late September to early October are all times when demand is high. Whale watchers will visit between July and September to see the humpback whales and divers favour April-July and October-November. It’s worth remembering that in winter Australians will escape the winter down south and take vacations in the Whitsundays. In addition, there are a couple of popular festivals. Airlie Beach Race Week is on in mid-August and Hamilton Island Race Week is on at the end of that month.
Dodge the school hols and be prepared to vacation in the rain to secure the lowest rates. During the summer months – December through April – conditions are often very hot and humid. Cyclones are a possibility between January and March.
October, November, March and April (excluding Easter) are shoulder season months.
The most popular way of getting around the Whitsundays is, surprise, surprise, boat. There are lots of regular ferries from Shute Harbour, about 6 miles outside Airlie Beach. On the islands, there are lots of different ways of getting around – swimming, scuba diving, bush walking etc.