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!