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Cairns or Whitsundays + Hamilton

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Slovakia
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Cairns or Whitsundays + Hamilton

Hi,

very soon traveling to Great Barrier Reef (for max. one week), but haven't decide where to go...

Should I land in Cairns and from there visit Port Douglas and take a day tours to the islands? Or should I visit, Hamilton Island and Whitsunday?

What is better (Nice beaches, snorkeling) and more interesting to see ?

Thank you

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: Cairns or Whitsundays + Hamilton

If it was my choice, I would stay at Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays. I have holidayed before at Cairns/Port Douglas, as well as Hamilton Island/ Airlie beach.

The reason i like Airlie Beach is because it is a good base to do tours of the Whitsunday islands, go to the Great Barrier Reef and Whitehaven beach. I also like the atmosphere. Depending on what you're looking for in a holiday, i have always found the people in Airlie beach really friendly, from backpackers to resort goers. I found in Port Douglas both visitors and people working there keep more to themselves (it may be what you're looking for though!)

If you did end up in Port Douglas though, you wont be disappointed.

Slovakia
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2. Re: Cairns or Whitsundays + Hamilton

Thank you for your help, we have got direct ticket to Cairns, so we plan to sped there 2 days, rent a car and travel to Airlie Beach. One more time thanks for your help :)

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Cairns or Whitsundays + Hamilton

The drive from Cairns to Airlie will take you a good 8+ hours. What are your plans after Airlie?

If you want to do both Cairns and the Whitsundays consider flying from Cairns to either Hamilton Island airport or to Proserpine airport - this would give you more time for Whitsunday activities and relaxing.

Slovakia
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4. Re: Cairns or Whitsundays + Hamilton

Hi,

flying to Proserpine or Hamilton was on the list, but the flight tickets are really expensive. So that´s why we decide to rent a car and drive to Airlie, and take the tours to Whitsundays and Hamilton Island.

After we would like to fly to Brisbane, just for one-two nights and afterwards leave to Thailand.

Do you think is it possible to do in 9days?

Edited: 25 October 2012, 00:26
Brisbane Aus
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5. Re: Cairns or Whitsundays + Hamilton

Even though I am Brisbane born and bred I think forget about the days in Brisbane and spend your time up north. As mentioned driving from Cairns to Airlie Beach is a full day and you will want to spend some time in Cairns, Port Douglas and day trips out to the Islands. Why rush your holiday!!

Depending on your flight to Thailand you can stay in Brisbane for the final night.

Slovakia
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6. Re: Cairns or Whitsundays + Hamilton

Thank you for your help. I am flying in 2 days to Cairns so finally all planing is done. :)

We spend 3 nights in Cairns, with trip to the islands and Port D. After we take a bus to Airlie Beach (directly) and spend there next 5 days with trip to Whitsundays and Hamilton island. After, we decided to fly to Brisbane and spend there 2 nights in order to catch our very early flight to Sydney and Phuket.

Brentwood,ca
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7. Re: Cairns or Whitsundays + Hamilton

This is alot of my thoughts. We're going in Jan want to go to both Cains and Arlie Beach. What airlines fly out of Arlie because we need to get to Sydney.If we have only 11 days total in OZ and need to fly out of Sydney, whats the least amount of days for Sydney? We are more interested in GBR and Raintree scenery, not to much big city people.

Brentwood,ca
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8. Re: Cairns or Whitsundays + Hamilton

would love to hear how the bus ride was and how you find out about buses from Cairns to Arlie Beach. Any suggestions on places to stay in those areas?

Slovakia
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9. Re: Cairns or Whitsundays + Hamilton

Hi queenhelene,

we just left Queensland and got back to Thailand.

We have started our trip in Cairns, stayed in the city center for 4 nights and took few trips such as Green Island (with sailing, we paid bit extra but it was worth of each dollar, we swam with black tip sharks, many turtles, fishes, relaxed on the beautiful beach and even visited the crocodiles at Green island with feeding show). We also took a trip to GBR and to Frankland Island ( was nice but not as Green island). One of the days in Cairns we rented a car (only for one day at 60AUD- last minute so the price was bit high- I recommend book it advance. We traveled along the coastline, visited Port Douglas, Daintree river- with a crocodile tour (but seen only the small ones and baby crocs).

Cairns- Arlie Beach

The bus took 11hours - directly to Arlie beach. Surprisingly it was nice ride, and I would do it again. We stopped every 3 hours for lunch break (30min.) so no one stayed hungry.

During the journey we needed to change a bus to another one because some problems with motor appeared, so they stopped at one of their offices and very quickly (5min) they changed the buses. The new bus stopped working after 15 min (unlucky :/ )of driving so we finished sitting on the grass and waiting for maintenance (about 1 hour). Everything get fixed and luckily we continued our journey.. :).

The bus stopped at Arlie beach next to our accommodation - Arlie Beach hotel - very nice place to stay- recommended!Next to the hotel was Capers restaurant, offering good breakfast - we even got free vouchers for breakfast from the hotel.

From Arlie Beach we took few cruises to Whitsundays (whitehaven beach) and Hamilton Island. Whitehaven beach is amazing, but Hamilton not that interesting ( for me). The cruise company: Whitsundays - was more like ferry service, so in a case you look for something more personal I would suggest you to get on sailing tour with less people.

From Arlie Beach (PPP airport) - we flew by Jetstar to Brisbane (for 2 nights stay). We visited Koala Sanctuary (33 AUD/adult plus photo with koala at price of 16AUD) -definitely worth it! Brisbane was great place to finish our holiday at GBR.

From Brisbane we flew to Sydney... via Virgin Australia.

So all our journey took 11 days, and we had plenty of time to do everything we planned.

Harleston, United...
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10. Re: Cairns or Whitsundays + Hamilton

Hi Felllicita,

I'm Interested to know why you chose the bus over the train? I am looking at both options as well as the driving option and I'm struggling with a decision?What time does it leave Cairns? We're an older couple, was the bus comfortable enough for an 11 hour journey?