A couple celebrating their Whitsunday wedding at The Whitsunday Sailing Club

Why the Whitsundays is perfect for destination weddings

Destination Weddings // by Nikki Ernst

And what you need to know to create the ultimate destination wedding week here.

[feature image: ceremony at Bali Hut Pavilion and lawn at the Whitsunday Sailing Club]

With its maze of tropical islands, myriad of natural wonders and a never-ending list of iconic adventures on its doorstep, there is little wonder why The Whitsundays seduces travellers worldwide. But while the idyllic conditions for holiday-makers are certain, can the same be said for couples who want to host a destination wedding here? 

Nikki Ernst delved a little deeper on a recent trip to the region and immediately discovered that, yes, indeed, the mainland town of Airlie Beach and the surrounding Whitsunday area is a bountiful and diverse wedding wonderland of spectacular venues and super-cool vendors, with loads of pre-ceremony activities and post-wedding options to help couples turn their wedding into a week-long festival of love. Read on to check out some of her top picks for a group celebration to remember …

Airlie Beach is a beautiful wedding destination
The quaint hillside town of Airlie Beach – your gateway to The Whitsundays


First things first: put away your passport (or, perhaps, leave it stashed from its COVID hiatus) because this desirable destination is only a 90-minute flight from Brisbane – or an easy interstate hop, skip and a jump from most Australian cities. You and your guests will kick off your adventure without jetlag or long-haul travel. Tick. And, once your feet are on the ground, making your way from Proserpine Airport to the thriving mainland town of Airlie Beach is easy with the help of Whitsunday Transit, allowing you to go directly from the airport to town with a 20-minute bus ride.

Camera-ready: Get ready to snap picture-perfect views of the azure blue paradise – there are just so many insta-worthy moments to capture!


Mantra Boathouse Apartments is ideally situated overlooking Port of Airlie

Designing your destination wedding does require careful planning – and helping guests narrow down fabulous accommodation options is a start. Unsurprisingly, Airlie Beach is positively bursting at the seams with a vast collection of accommodation options, but let’s start with perfect properties for group accommodation. Mantra Boathouse Apartments is a top-notch choice for its edge-of-town location, overlooking the five-star Port of Airlie. Designed to capture the magnificent views that stretch beyond the harbour to the Coral Sea, you and your guests will love the spacious interiors, self-contained facilities, and large balconies of the two-and-three-bedroom self-contained apartments. Guests will particularly appreciate the convenient location, which offers a short, flat walk (essential to note in a town known for its hills) to Airlie town’s shopping and restaurant strip.

The gorgeous view from Mirage Whitsundays

While at the other end of town, Mirage Whitsundays takes tropical luxe to another level with its spacious apartments, villas and penthouses. Some villas even have their own pools! Indeed, this resort ticks all the boxes for group accommodation and is one of the best on the mainland for its north-facing views (you’ll adore the sunsets!). Getting to town is easy too. Stretch the legs with a scenic 20-minute walk via the Airlie Beach Boardwalk that runs directly in front of the resort, or take a five-minute taxi ride. 

Experience anI do’ with a view: Set above the iconic sea-front boardwalk, the lush lawn at Mirage Whitsundays is an ideal location for your private wedding ceremony.

Nothing says holiday wedding like an itinerary of bite-sized celebratory pre-and-post activities to share. And in The Whitsundays, you’re spoilt for choice with a slew of memorable adventures suitable for the whole group.


Let the party celebrations commence with a group session at The Rum Bar at Fish D’Vine

Why not kick off the festivities with a casual welcome dinner, a beautiful way to acquaint your guests and ease into the week? Located at the Coral Sea Marina, the Ocean View Deck at Sorrento Restaurant & Bar is a fabulous choice and well regarded by locals as one of the best spots to catch the sunset (cocktail, anyone?).

You’ll be hard-pressed to top award-winning local fave Fish D’vine Restaurant & Rum Bar if you’re a seafood lover. Conveniently situated across from the Airlie Esplanade, here you can indulge in a delectable selection of locally sourced seafood, soak up the town’s holiday atmosphere – and sample one of their 450 types of stocked rum (oh, did we mention their must-have ‘World’s Best Mojito’?). However, if it’s views and good fare in a laid-back tropical setting that ticks the box, the Whitsunday Sailing Club is another top spot to try for lunch or dinner.

Loving local: The Bali Hut Pavilion and lawn at the Whitsunday Sailing Club is a divine spot to say ‘I do’! Or, if you have your venue sorted but need catering options, turn to Fish D’vine Catering. They’re the first choice for many mainland venues, offshore locations and private vessels. 


Cruise Whitsundays
Experience a full day at Hardy Reef with Cruise Whitsundays

Of course, a holiday to The Whitsundays is not complete without time to experience the world’s most extensive coral reef system. And the specialists at Cruise Whitsundays are just the team to help you get closer to this World Heritage wonder! Our top tip? Jump aboard one of their daily departures on Great Barrier Reef Adventures that will whisk you and your group for a full-day adventure to Reefworld, a multi-level reef facility permanently moored 39 nautical miles from shore at spectacular Hardy Reef. Believe us when we say that snorkelling and swimming in this incredible ecosystem is an epic experience that is sure to take pride of place in your holiday memories.  

Diving on Hardy Reef
Nikki exploring the wonders of the reef with onboard dive experts Reef Safari

Adrenaline junkie: Ready to dial up the thrills? Consider an expertly guided introductory scuba dive with onboard experts, Reef Safari Diving. A truly awe-inspiring bucket-list experience! 


Early evening on Sundowner Cruises is the perfect way to see the beautiful Airlie Beach sunset

Suppose you’re looking for an easy group activity that embraces your destination and instantly kicks you into holiday mode. In that case, Sundowner Cruises which departs twice daily from Coral Sea Marina is an Airlie Beach must-do. The purpose-built catamaran is ideal for all ages, making it a fabulous way for young and old to enjoy a water-based activity together. Soak up an at-sea perspective of the town and a spectacular sunset against the islands while enjoying a glass of bubbles or a beer. It’s also the perfect pre-dinner get-together!

Party time:  Be sure to chat to the team about their private charters, making for a fabulous hens or bucks party option!


Hit the road in style with Whitsunday Hot Rod Tours

Undoubtedly, the sun, sea and sand are the main drawcards, but there’s more to this region than beaches and water-based adventures. We suggest gathering the gang and turning your compass west for a day of inland delights and activities – where you can mix and match to suit varied interests or explore as a group. Just 20 minutes inland, you’ll get a glimpse into country life in the historical sugar cane and cattle town of Proserpine, with its well-preserved buildings and iconic country pubs. Or, how about a bit of croc spotting while exploring the waterways and estuaries on the Proserpine River, followed by a pit stop to Whitsunday Gold Coffee for a delicious bite to eat – and, of course, a fabulous coffee! Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a hole in one at Proserpine Golf Course, conveniently located on the outskirts of town. We suggest a private charter with Whitsundays Transit – it’s an easy and convenient option with the bonus of your driver’s local knowledge to help tailor your trip to suit!

Of course, putting aside a little ‘just-for-two’ time is important amongst all your group activities. For a more intimate way to explore the region’s local gems, try a day tour with Whitsunday Hot Rod Tours. Is there anything cooler than traversing the countryside in an open-top 1928 Ford Tourer or head-turning 1949 Chevrolet Styleline? We think not! Chat with Rachel

Country chic:  Looking for an event venue set in a very natural, rustic setting with a stunning mountain backdrop? Check out one of the region’s newest kids on the venue block; The Creek Whitsundays, available for wedding hire.  


mantra.com.au | miragewhitsundays.com.au | sorrentowhitsunday.com | fishdvine.com.au | whitsundaysailingclub.com.au | cruisewhitsundays.com | reefsafari.com | sundownercruises.com.au | whitsundayhotrodtours.com.au | proserpinegolfclub.com.au | thecreekwhitsundays.com.au | whitsundaygold.com | whitsundaytransit.com.au

Our writer travelled from Brisbane to Proserpine courtesy of Tourism Whitsundays. Image: Tourism & Events Queensland