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Cheapest flights are to Mackay Airport - good option or not?

Luxembourg City...
posts: 22
reviews: 132
Cheapest flights are to Mackay Airport - good option or not?

Hi everyone!

We are flying in from Europe to see Melbourne and spend New Year's in Sydney. From Jan 3-8, we have decided to go to the Whitsundays. We will need a flight from SYD to Whitsundays and then from Whitsundays back to Melbourne to catch our flight back to Europe.

My questions are:

Cheapest flight is to/from Mackay Airport. Is there a shuttle to Airlie Beach or do you recommend a car rental? The resort on Airlie Beach we really like is on the top of a hill and a few guests have written that a rental car would be useful. Is there plenty of parking at restaurants, bars, etc.? Would having a car be useful to tour around the area (is there anything to see)? What would you suggest?

The more expensive option would be to fly in/out of Hamilton Island Airport. The resort on this island is also about double of what we'd pay on Airlie Beach. Is it really worth it? We are not divers or snorkelers by any means, but we'd enjoy the pool and beach. I feel like it would be a bit too expensive just to hang out at the beach and do a daytrip to Whitehaven, which could be done just as easily from Airlie Beach. Thoughts?

Thanks for any help on this!

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
posts: 17,399
reviews: 146
1. Re: Cheapest flights are to Mackay Airport - good option or not?

I'd prefer to stay in Airlie to Hammo at that time of year.

Have you looked at flights to Proserpine? (also called whitsunday coast airport)

Luxembourg City...
posts: 22
reviews: 132
2. Re: Cheapest flights are to Mackay Airport - good option or not?

I have - PPP is just as expensive as HTI. Any reason why you prefer Airlie?

We are a newly married couple taking our "2nd honeymoon" basically, so just want to relax, eat good food, enjoy a few drinks and definitely take advantage of the gorgeous beaches for a few days.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
posts: 17,399
reviews: 146
3. Re: Cheapest flights are to Mackay Airport - good option or not?

I prefer it over Hammo as I'm not a fan of being trapped if the place isn;t what you want.

In january it can get very wet and at least on the mainland you may have the option of hiring a car and getting out of the resort area.

Hammo is certainly more geared to a relaxing getaway (think Waikiki US or French Riviera type of crowd but with a more captive audience)

Really you are in the wrong place for beaches...

You need to daytrip out from either Hammo or Airlie, don't expect either to have a "beautiful beach" hammo at least has a beach, Airlie has the man made lagoon area for lazing by

Luxembourg City...
posts: 22
reviews: 132
4. Re: Cheapest flights are to Mackay Airport - good option or not?

What would you suggest for beaches then? We were planning to do Whitehaven, which looks amazing, at least from photos. I am holding everything to a pretty high standard so I hope it does not disappoint. I want white sand, like flour/powder, blue waters and NO WAVES. Like a natural swimming pool.

Any suggestions welcome as we have not booked yet. From Jan 3-8, we are free to do anything.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Airlie Beach, Whitsunday Islands
posts: 17,399
reviews: 146
5. Re: Cheapest flights are to Mackay Airport - good option or not?

Whitehaven is my all time favourite beach.

I was hoping to express that there are no beaches really without tripping.

Raymond Terrace...
posts: 855
reviews: 29
6. Re: Cheapest flights are to Mackay Airport - good option or not?

Fly to Mackay and rent a car. The drive from Mackay to Airlie Beach takes less than two hours.

Beware though that January is stinger season: tourismwhitsundays.com.au/visitor-informatio…

Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Brisbane, Noosa
posts: 5,736
reviews: 91
7. Re: Cheapest flights are to Mackay Airport - good option or not?

Don't go to Airlie Beach for the beach as you will be disappointed. Yes we have the best beaches in the world and Whitehaven is right up there, problem is most day trips don't give you much time there,,,, pure white silica sand, clean water and generally calm.

Luxembourg City...
posts: 22
reviews: 132
8. Re: Cheapest flights are to Mackay Airport - good option or not?

Does this mean that we won't be able to go inside the water at any of the beaches? How about Whitehaven...is it safe? We will not be swimming in the ocean, but stepping in for a few minutes would be nice!

Raymond Terrace...
posts: 855
reviews: 29
9. Re: Cheapest flights are to Mackay Airport - good option or not?

If you want to take the risk, by all means do so. All the beaches have signs on them regarding stingers, and all the television channels will have adverts regarding stingers as well.

PS the problem isn't just with box jellyfish, it's also the irukandji which being about the size of a thumbnail are very difficult to see, but almost as potent as a box jellyfish.

South Pole
posts: 15,408
reviews: 38
10. Re: Cheapest flights are to Mackay Airport - good option or not?

" I am holding everything to a pretty high standard so I hope it does not disappoint. I want white sand, like flour/powder, blue waters and NO WAVES. Like a natural swimming pool"

why fly all the way to Australia for that.

the beaches on the atlantic side of lewis and harris are a lot closer to Luxembourg and are just as spectacular.....even more so because there are a lot of them, just not the one.

Whitehaven is over rated imo.

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