Here is some useful information that can make your Whitsunday vacation all the more comfortable.
The temperatures of the Whitsundays are on the higher side during daytime, especially in the warmer months. So during daytime, clothing that is light and comfortable should be ideal.
The weather is usually very peasant throughout the year, which rules out the need for heavy winter clothing. In any case, a comfortable winter jacket can be handy, especially if you plan to go on those night cruises and extended boat tours.
Swimwear -bikinis, bathing suits, sarongs, etc - are a must for taking a dip in the blue waters of the island. Clean and comfortable casual wear for tropical climate is accepted as the ideal evening wear. Men should stick to slacks or shorts with sports shirts, and women can go with casual dresses or slacks and shirts or tops.
Some resorts on the island may require you to maintain some decorum and insist on a dress code. So if resorts are your preferred choice of accommodation, it is better to carry some clothes that suit their norms.
For a stylish and smart look, it is best to keep away T-shirts and thongs. Also, dark tee shirts are known to attract local flies, which can be annoying.
Must Have Accessories
Sunscreen- Be sure to carry a sunscreen, with the right SPF, on your Whitsunday holiday. Without a sunscreen, even a few minutes under the tropical Sun can be dangerous. And of course, look for a waterproof sunscreen to avoid stickiness when in water.
Sunglasses - Polarized sunglasses are the next most important thing for holidaying on the Whitsunday Islands. Not only will they dim down the glare from the water, they will also allow you to get a good look at the reef and other aquatic species clearly through the water.
Hat -A hat is one thing that should always accompany you on a beach vacation. While it sure is useful when lazing on the beach, it can also keep you protected on those boat rides and long walks around the islands.
Footwear - Comfortable footwear is a must, to protect your feet from getting burnt during beach walks. Sandals, reef shoes or sand shoes can protect your feet from getting cut by the corals. Also, carry a pair of walking shoes for those hiking and camping expeditions on the islands.
If you plan to go camping, don't forget to carry an insect repellent.
Local Business Hours
Shopping hours are generally between 9am to 5pm and banks are open between 9am to 4pm accept on Fridays when they open until 5pm.
The most popular market in Whitsundays is the Airlie market, which is open from 7 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon. You can also find a number of smaller markets along the coast, where you can find some local craft and art, clothing, jewelry and souvenirs.
Then there are the Sunday Bowen markets that are open from 8 am to 12 pm at Hansen Park. Once a month, on every third Sunday, you can also visit the Proserpine markets at the Pioneer Park on Main Street. These markets are also open from 8 to 12 in the morning.
Shopping and Bargaining
Whitsundays has three main shopping centers - one on the Main Street of Airlie Beach, the Centro Whitsunday Shopping Center (air-conditioned) and the Whitsunday Shopping center at Cannonvale. While the shopping centers are where you can find specialty stores, departmental stores and restaurants, the local markets are ideal to taste the local flavors. Local delicacies, local merchandise, souvenirs, clothing and footwear are some things that you can find in every local market.
And if you want to take home some colorful souvenirs, don’t forget to visit a store called Color Me Crazy at the Proserpine market.
While the Airlie market and the other local markets can be good for a price bargain, don't expect any discounts at the big shopping malls.
Availability of Fresh Water
Tap water in Whitsunday Islands is considered safe for drinking. You can also get bottled water in the numerous departmental stores and grocery stores on the island if you want. Safe drinking water is available at all resorts and hotels, and even on cruise liners.
But if your list of things-to-do includes camping and sailing, you should take care of your own drinking water. When camping or hiking in the national parks in Whitsundays, make sure that you carry your own drinking water. This is especially a must when you are going on the Whitsundays Great Walk (36 km), where water in the natural water bodies is not considered safe for drinking.
Ideally, 5 liters of water per person is advisable for one day of camping. So make sure you have sufficient drinking water to last on your entire camping trip.
Phone and Internet Availability
If you are staying at a hotel or a resort, you could have easy access to private phones and internet connections. The charges however may be on the higher side at these places.
If you are a budget traveler, an internet café, which you would find on almost every street, would be ideal. Check the cafes at Airlie beach if you are looking for fast connections or wi-fi connections, in case you have your own laptop or tablet.
Local calls from the public telephone booths (Telstra), to anywhere in Australia, would cost between 50c. International calls could cost 25c and above per minute, depending on where you are calling. An alternative to the public phone booths is the phone card, which may cost you lesser. The price of the phone card ranges between $5 and $50.
Mobile phone reception is pretty good near the main centers, but poor in the camping sites. In any case, it is always wise to carry your mobile phone along for emergencies.
In all, there are three Australia Post offices - one on Hamilton Island and two on the mainland, in Airlie Beach and Cannonvale. They are located close to the main centers and the shopping malls, which makes them easily accessible.
All the post offices are open on weekdays from 9 in the morning to 5 in the evening. Only the Cannonvale and the Airlie Beach post offices also operate on Saturdays, from 9 to 11 in the morning.
ATMs and Credit Cards
Credit cards can be used in all shopping malls, supermarkets, hotels, resorts and restaurants. But you would need cash to shop at the local markets.
The ATMs are open 24/7 and in easily accessible locations. As not all the ATMs may accept all types of cards, it is best to check about ATM accessibility in advance.
Tipping in Whitsunday Islands is neither compulsory nor expected. In most places, it is acceptable if you just pay the amount specified in the bill. However, a tip or around 5% to 15% can be given for good service in bars and restaurants, although it is almost never necessary.