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Drive versus Fly - Cairns to WhitSundays

Uptown-Minneapolis
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29 posts
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Drive versus Fly - Cairns to WhitSundays

We will be going to Cairns/The WhitSundays next February 2014. We have 7 days to work with and I originally planned to spend 4 days in Cairns where the main priority is diving, spend 1 day driving down to Airlie Beach, then 2 days in the WhitSundays. However, with the February weather being a bit unpredictable, I am nervous to limit Cairns and the GBR to only 4 days. Yet, if we have 5 days in Cairns that leaves 1 driving day and 1 full day in the WhitSundays. So, my next idea is to fly from Cairns to HTI, saving the driving time and having a decent amount of time in the WhitSundays on that first arrival day. The price of the flight might be worth it, considering we likely won't be back to Australia for many, many years. Has anyone tried both options? Which do you prefer? How is the flight from Cairns to HTI, is it a scenic flight over the ocean? Is the drive scenic? Any info would be helpful! Thanks in advance!

Whitsundays
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1. Re: Drive versus Fly - Cairns to WhitSundays

Hi guys,

I wish you could spend longer exploring both regions! There's so much to see.

What do you want to do in the Whitsundays when you get here? Had you intended to stay on Hamilton or one of the other islands, or did you plan on staying in Airlie Beach on the coast?

The flight takes a bit over an hour from CNS to HTI and it is very scenic - it is indeed mostly over the ocean and the reef itself! It may also be cheaper that driving as you would have to factor in petrol for a 650km, 8 hour journey plus the cost of the hire car and the one-way surcharge for dropping the car off at a different location. And you'd get another whole day to explore as the CNS to HTI flight is in the morning.

I hope this has been helpful.

TW

Sydney, Australia
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for Sydney, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Business Travel, New South Wales
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2. Re: Drive versus Fly - Cairns to WhitSundays

Another vote for flying if your budget allows it as the fare will probably cost around the same amount of money when you consider petrol & hire cost. The drive from Cairns to Airlie Beach is scenic with a few places of interests like Mission beach, Bowen & Magnetic Island which is worth doing if you have more time.

With your limited time I would be flying so you can enjoy the Whitsundays !

Darwin, Australia
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for Darwin
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3. Re: Drive versus Fly - Cairns to WhitSundays

With only 7 days why waste one in a car - I would fly.

Uptown-Minneapolis
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4. Re: Drive versus Fly - Cairns to WhitSundays

Thanks everyone, flying it is! I know, I really wish we had more time in both areas. The main plan for the Whitsundays is to stay in Airlie Beach but take a day trip out to Whitehaven beach and also do the Hill Inlet.

Whitsundays
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5. Re: Drive versus Fly - Cairns to WhitSundays

Fabulous! My favourite trip that does both Whitehaven and Hill Inlet in one day, plus snorkelling, is Ocean Rafting. Look them up and let me know if you like this idea!

TW

6. Re: Drive versus Fly - Cairns to WhitSundays

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