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Should I fly to PPP or HMI? 8:50pm, Thu 21 Jan 2010

The best way to arrive for your Whitsunday bareboat charter holiday is a frequent question from holiday makers. It is a little complicated, but lets look at the options for flying to Hamilton Island and Whitsunday Coast - Proserpine.

First, lets make it clear that you would not want to arrive via Mackay. At about 150 km from Airlie there simply aren't the transfer options.

OK, Proserpine arrival
Proserpine is a main town about 20 minutes drive from Airlie Beach, a further 10 minutes South is the "Whitsunday Coast - Proserpine" airport which is serviced daily by Jetstar and Virgin Blue from Brisbane only. There are transfers available at about $15 to $20 pp and the opportunity to experience a quite "rustic" airport terminal where you get to collect your bags straight from the trolley. While we poke fun at this locally, its actually the quickest way to get your bags when you think about it!
At the time of writing the limited seat availability means that prices do rise steeply in busy times, so booking early is advisable. By arriving on the Australian mainland, you get better facilities, cheaper shopping and dining and the choice of accommodation for pre and post charter stays. Its also easier for us to brief you at our offices and adjust to last minute needs.
You then set sail to the islands, which is usually a great way to shake off your work and life troubles as your transit to the islands across the Whitsunday Passage. Clearly, we think this is the better option in the majority of cases.

Hamilton Island arrival and /or departure
Hamilton Island is in the middle or Southern  part of your cruising area depending on your plans. The jet airport is service daily by Jetstar, Virgin Blue and Qantaslink. A variety of flights arrive from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Cairns – so there are more options. At the time of writing, prices were generally cheaper than arriving to Proserpine a limited excess of available seats.

The romance of flying into an island along with the view on the way in should be noted...

Once at Hamilton you can step onto a ferry and travel to Airlie Beach and out home port of Abel Point Marina. Fantasea have just announced direct ferry services from the Airport to Abel Point Marina, which has been much needed. Cruise Whitsundays also offer services, but stop by other islands on the way. Fares are circa $50 per person. Once here in Airlie, its just like the mainland arrival.

The final alternative one here, and a popular one at that is starting your cruising holiday at Hamilton Island. We are happy to deliver your vessel to Hamilton Island. Onboard is the bareboat briefer, who will show you the ropes and take you through the full process at Hamilton Island before setting you on your holiday. You are already at the islands, so making your way to the likes of Cid Harbour is about 1 hour, while Whitehaven Beach is just 2 hours. Keep in mind if your plane arrives after midday, and the briefing process takes 3 hours, its near on impossible to get away from Hamilton Island on the first day. Factor this into your itinerary, food provisions and make a booking at the Mantaray Cafe (or other Hamilton dining spot) for a nice, but potentially expensive island meal.

There is a general store on Hamilton Island which has a limited range of food and the prices reflect the transport costs associated with it being on the shelves there. Pharmacy, bottle shop and everything else you would expect are there also.

For food and beverages, you WILL be wanting to pre-organise provisions. We are happy to assist you with a range of provisioning options, self-select to gourmet so its all there when you step on board.

Similarly, you can step off the vessel at Hamilton Island and head to the airport.

Call or check our web site for prices for “Hamilton Island Brief” or Hamilton Island Debrief” and factor this into your holiday budget and selection of arrival airport.

In summary,
Proserpine: Fly via Brisbane, potentially dearer flights, for cheaper mainland options for accomm, dining and provisioning. Suits us better :)
Hamilton Island: Superb views as you arrive. Generally cheaper fares help with the costs associated with the pre-ordered food/bev and our delivery costs. Cruise directly into the islands.
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