Jump on board Bonza and spend a weekend exploring the Whitsundays
In January 2023, Bonza put flights from Newcastle Airport direct to the Sunshine Coast and Whitsundays on sale. First flight in the air was the Sunshine Coast, soon followed by the inaugural Whitsunday Bonza flight which took to the skies on March 30, and thanks to Newcastle Airport we were on it!
Exciting times for Newcastle and the Hunter, for the first time we have flights departing directly from Newcastle to these destinations, so no more driving to Sydney to start your tropical holidays!
Departing every Thursday and returning Sunday, the 2½ hour flight has you landing at the tropical Proserpine Airport, making the Whitsundays an easy short break destination.
Crossing the tarmac you’ll find yourself rapidly trying to acclimatise to the North Queensland humid air temps, as well as adjusting to the lush tropical surrounds introduced during the one hour transfer. As Airlie Beach approaches so to do the ocean blues and those famous Whitsundays views.
Whether you’re heading to Daydream Island, living it up on the exclusive Qualia Resort or Hayman Island, taking a day trip to the Great Barrier Reef or Whitehaven Beach, Airlie Beach is where it all starts and it's worth spending some time getting to know this relaxed little town.
Easy to get around, you can cover most of Airlie Beaches main attractions by foot, or scooter if you prefer to sweat a little less. By day it’s all about staying cool and lounging by the Airlie Beach Lagoon, along with some long lunching. By night, it’s time to explore the eclectic mix of pubs, bars and restaurants which liven up the tropical atmosphere.
All budgets are catered for in Airlie Beach, a mecca for backpackers this is a destination where you can eat and sleep on a tight budget. If you're happy to spend a little extra, Heart Hotel and Gallery, located in the middle of Airlie Beaches’ main street, is within walking distance of everything and makes for a comfortable stay.
Eats & Drinks
When it comes to eating out there’s a lot to offer and a flavour for everyone. From Ramen at Ramen in May, pizzas at Beagles, Boaty’s pub style menu, burgers in the Whitsunday Food Garden and quality steaks at KC’s Bar & Grill, you'll have no problems getting a quality feed.
Given where you are seafood may be on your mind, Fish D’vine and their two-tiered seafood platter is the spot, whilst you’re there try one of their world famous Mojito cocktails from the extensively stocked Rum Bar.
There’s no shortage of places to stay hydrated at. For relaxing afternoon wines and cocktails it’s Paradiso Rooftop Restaurant & Bar, the Anchor Bar for spectacular views, for pub vibes check out the Airlie Beach Hotel, there is of course an Irish Bar, and for live tunes take a seat in Magnums beer garden.
Whitsunday Day Trips
Whilst a visit to the Whitsundays could easily be spent lingering in Airlie Beach, exploring the Whitsundays is a must. Take your pick from any number of day trips or overnight excursions that can have you setting sail on the seas or lounging around experiencing island life.
A visit to the Great Barrier Reef is almost mandatory, Cruise Whitsundays offer full day trips which allow you to get up close to this natural wonder. Spend the day snorkelling from the pontoon, or jump in the semi-submersible to view the ocean life without getting wet. For a few extra dollars go deep with a scuba dive or head to the skies in a scenic flight. Morning tea, lunch and afternoon snacks are all included, and with a fully stocked beverage bar on board, it makes for a relaxing ride home.
Whitehaven Beach is another must visit day trip option, don’t miss the opportunity to wander those cool silica sands and snap that all important postcard moment.
If you prefer to keep your feet on dry land, a day spent on Hamilton Island will be more your style. Pre-book a golf buggy so you can cruise the island at your own pace, heading up One Tree Hill for those spectacular Whitsunday views.
The island is loaded with dining options and caters to all budgets from the Pizzeria and Gelato Bar and pies at Bob’s Bakery, to the more luxe and Asian inspired Coca Chu or book into Bommie Deck & Restaurant located within the architecturally striking Hamilton Island Yacht Club.
Don’t discount the option of simply spending your day at the Island Bar, as we did, Hamilton Island’s most popular swim-up bar. The thatched roof, island views, fresh cocktails and live acoustic tunes make you wish you were staying the night.
Before you head back to the mainland drop into the Marina Tavern for an afternoon beverage and catch all the marina action as the sunsets.
Explore Airlie Beach
To close out your Whitsunday short break, take a wander, or scooter, along the 7.7km Airlie Beach Boardwalk. Starting from Airlie Beach town the easy/flat, trail stretches up the coast to Cannonvale Beach. A popular route for early morning joggers, those on their bike or scooters, it's at its best at sunrise or as the sunsets. The walk has you wandering past the Coral Sea Marina Village which makes for an ideal breakfast location or late afternoon refreshment spot, sit back and take in the spectacular views and all the marina action.
Whether you have three days or three weeks, the Whitsundays is a destination for the lounge lizards right through to serious adventure seekers, and with Bonza offering flights direct out of Newcastle from $79 each way, it makes exploring the Whitsundays a reality. Download the Bonza app and get booking your Whitsunday adventure from Newcastle Airport!
Produced by HUNTERhunter in partnership with Newcastle Airport.