Your Guide To Getting Married in The Whitsundays. Discover why this close-to-home tropical paradise offers the ultimate destination wedding experience, right here in Australia
Holiday wedding wonderland. It’s The Whitsundays in three words, and why so many couples fall for Australia’s capital of romance. Lapped by the turquoise waters of the Coral Sea, this multi-faceted Great Barrier Reef/beachside destination is wedding-ready from every angle. Glorious for two, it’s also perfect for bringing your whole crew to enjoy the 74 tropical islands, diverse landscapes, and endless activities. Honeymoons? They come naturally in this close-to-home paradise, whether you’re dreaming of your first reef dive or just looking to unwind poolside.
Here are just five reasons you’ll love celebrating in The Whitsundays.
1. Dreamy locations
And we mean lots of dreamy locations. Little wonder The Whitsundays recently appeared alongside Julia & George in Ticket to Paradise: a rom-com with sun-kissed backdrops to match its glittering Hollywood stars. From palm-fringed beaches to rustic country landscapes, you’ll find a location to suit every wedding style. Nature-lovers? You can even marry right on the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef at the Cruise Whitsundays Reefworld pontoon!
But let’s start on The Whitsundays mainland, where oceanfront parklands and exclusive venues offer stunning views of the water and islands. The Whitsunday Marine Club is a particular favourite for its private peninsula position and expansive lawns. Other must-see options include the tropical rainforest villas of Paradise Cove and the exotic Balinese-style beauty and sweeping sea views of Villa Botanica. Want the best of both worlds (beachfront bliss and country romance)? See the magnificent 6000-acre private estate, Earlando.
If your wish-list starts with an island chapel, head to the region’s holiday isles (think Hamilton, Hayman, and Daydream) for oodles of ‘I do’ inspiration. Seaplane entrances, private beach vows, and moonlit reception revelry all happen here. Love a good photo-op? Soar above Heart Reef for the ultimate elopement or enjoy a breathtaking helicopter arrival to your Whitehaven Beach ceremony.
2. Fabulous accommodation for every budget
Deciding where to set up base camp is an exciting part of any destination wedding — and you’ll have zero trouble finding a place for everyone to stay and play in The Whitsundays.
On the mainland, Airlie Beach offers an abundance of waterfront resorts and hillside retreats ranging from cheap and cheerful to five-star luxury. Pinnacles Resort is a top choice for its edge-of-town location, overlooking the five-star Port of Airlie with self-contained apartments and luxurious penthouses. Positioned just outside Airlie and on the doorstep of Coral Sea Marina is Mirage Whitsundays, ticking all the boxes for top-notch group accommodation with stellar views and even private pools included in most room categories.
For a quintessential island experience, catch an ocean breeze at the indulgent InterContinental Hayman Island Resort or Hamilton Island’s iconic qualia. And don’t overlook some of the lesser-known Whitsunday isles. Long Island is sublime, and home to two boutique beachfront escapes — Elysian Retreat and Palm Bay Resort — that can be booked for your exclusive enjoyment. And for pure castaway charm, Camp Island can also be rented solely for you and your faves.
3. Great for guests
Watch those RSVPs fly back when you lock in The Whitsundays as your location. For starters, it’s just a 1.5-hour flight from Brisbane, meaning you can skip the long haul and still arrive somewhere with serious holiday vibes.
This all-in-one destination is also well equipped for a wedding weekend or week-long celebration thanks to loads of accommodation options, a host of boats, seaplanes, and helicopters to help everyone explore, and plenty of excellent dining options for getting the gang together. Follow the locals to some of the region’s gems, including Sorrento Restaurant & Bar, which serves up delicious Italian fare with glittering sea views (ideal for sundowners), and Fish D’vine and Rum Bar, where the seafood feasts are legendary.
Ready for a road trip? Seascapes quickly give way to sugarcane fields and gold-dipped country sunsets when you head west. Discover the historic streetscapes, country pubs, and popular fishing spots of Proserpine (just 20 minutes from Airlie) and Lake Proserpine for a taste of rural life. Or roam even further inland to Collinsville, an outback town with a rich mining heritage.
From beachside brunches to sunset cruises, this is a place for spending quality time with your favourite people. Just don’t be surprised if your guests want to hang around for a few days beyond the official celebrations. Buddymoon anyone?
4. Dream team on hand
The Whitsundays impresses at every turn — including when you turn to the superstar local wedding community. These world-class coordinators, stylists, florists, photographers, and more have the passion, yes-we-can expertise, and local knowledge to bring your celebration to life. Assemble your dream team online with the ultimate Whitsunday wedding directory, weddingswhitsundays.com. Their extensive supplier list is your key to the region’s best creatives, planners, and venues.
5. Hello, honeymoon
When you’ve found paradise, why would you want to leave? While some couples may be perfectly happy to park poolside with a cocktail in hand, The Whitsundays offers a wealth of once-in-a-lifetime romantic adventures to tempt you off that sun lounger. Here are 10 to get you started.
- Share a Champagne picnic on the sugary sands of Whitehaven Beach
- Snorkel the GBR on a day cruise with Explore Group
- Indulge with a massage for two at your resort
- Shop and dine your way around vibrant Airlie Beach
- Tick off those always-wanted-to-try-it water sports
- Enjoy a romantic sunset sail around Hamilton Island
- Sleep beneath the waves in Australia’s only underwater accommodation, Reefsuites
- Get the VIP treatment in a classic car or open-top hot rod with Hot Rod Tours
- Drop by a country pub in Proserpine
- Chart your own course on a bareboating (skipper-yourselves) sailing adventure
- Take a scenic flight over Heart Reef (yes, it’s actually shaped like a heart!)
Located around 1000 kilometres north of Brisbane, The Whitsundays region is easily accessible by air, road, and rail. With daily flights from most Australian cities, you and your guests will be gathering for welcome cocktails in no time!
Fly direct to Whitsunday Coast Airport in Proserpine and then head on to Airlie Beach, gateway to the islands and the region’s buzzing waterfront hub. Or fly to the Great Barrier Reef Airport on Hamilton Island to begin your island adventures. Direct flight time is around 1.5 hours from Brisbane, 2.5 hours from Sydney, and just under 3 hours from Melbourne. Alternatively, you can road-trip it from Brisbane (around 12 hours) or catch the overnight train that links Brisbane to Cairns.