If you are flying in, the closest major airports are at Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast) and on Hamilton Island (which requires a ferry crossing to the mainland – Shute Harbour).
Catching a bus is easy – Greyhound Australia (13 14 99) and Premier Motor Service (13 34 10) have bus connections to Brisbane ($155, 18 hours), Mackay ($29, 2½ hours), Townsville ($54, five hours) and Cairns ($95, 11 hours). Con-X-ion (1300 308 718; www.con-x-ion.com; adult/child one way $50/26) connects Mackay airport and Mackay bus terminal with Airlie Beach twice a day. The long-distance bus terminal is at the Port of Airlie just a stroll from the main street.
Locally, Whitsunday Transit (4946 1800) connects Proserpine (Whitsunday Coast Airport), Cannonvale, Abel Point, Airlie Beach and Shute Harbour. Buses operate from 6am to 10.30pm and stop along Shute Harbour Rd.
There are car rental companies are along Shute Harbour Rd and at the Airports.
Get directions and book buses or flights using our convenient panel on this page or visit this link for more ideas: