A shuttle service can be an important part of a holiday in any location. Tourists, touring new places, understandably want minimal fuss, easy to locate tour desks and exceptional customer service in their shuttle transfer service. Heart of Reef Shuttles is a friendly and experienced family-run small business that shuttles tourists from/to accommodation from/to airports on the Whitsunday Coast, mainly between the Proserpine Airport and Airlie Beach. They are named after the heart of the reef, which is a heart shaped coral reef on the outer Great Barrier Reef off the Whitsunday Coast - synonymous with Whitsunday Coast tourism.
I found out about them via the friendly staff at Airlie Guest House and found my overall experience to be good. I was pleased with the value for money and timeliness of the service as well as the short wait times. So I used them twice - to and from Proserpine Airport and have an outline of their work and some encouraging comments about them.
A further example photo of their buses, source: tourismwhitsundays.com.au .
On the way from the airport to the guesthouse, the driver showed good sentiment to the customers and ensured everyone was onboard. Of course, that task is made simpler by having small bus sizes, which they achieve at a competitive rate. Having investigated the cheapest rate for shuttles from Proserpine, I found their $36 dollar return package was the cheapest and left a good impression. The luggage on both journeys was stored in a trailer, as seen in the photos, which stores luggage safely, dry, out of harm's way and which the driver works with in a capable fashion. I will add that the bus is a shared trip but with a realistic time on your pick-up and drop-off, so you can rely on the times, get value for money and travel between hotel doorstep and airport with reliability.
Their work seemed good quality for the price paid, something I attributed to experience. I realised, as soon as I boarded, that they had completed many successful trips, later finding out the service has been operating for over eighteen years, as stated on their corporate website. I must add that they charge more for Shute Harbour transfers, which although in the Airlie Beach region, is, a further twelve kilometres from Airlie Beach. They do this for $45 return to/from the airport thus superb value - effectively saving a lot in taxi fares had one travelled from Airlie Beach. That reminds me - there are no Uber services operating in the Whitsunday Coast region - there is grocery delivery, 13CABS and smalltime delivery services, such as the local favorite Beagles Pizza, but no Uber at this point in time.
View over Whitsunday Coast, over to Cannonvale and beyond, from roads travelled by Heart of Reef Shuttles, photo by author.
The service works with the basic aim to meet all flights at Proserpine (The Whitsunday Coast Airport) (coded PPP), "seven days, 365 days a year". On that note, I've left a link which has a description of the express shuttle service as well as a stellar video displaying a true concept of the location of the Heart of Reef desk at the baggage claim area, and, they do (at least when I and the queuing customers were each greeted by them) offer the same friendly greeting as in the promo video.
I've also left a link on the corporate website about private shuttles, as that is one of the two main services advertised, the other being the aforementioned express shuttle between the Airlie Beach area and Proserpine Airport. In private transfers, the tours can achieve sightseeing or help shop for groceries in groups ranging from a solo traveller to bus capacity (although Heart of Reef use small buses, to allow reliable airport transfers). Hence, the cost is unique to each trip, so there is a form on their private transfers webpage allowing customers to enquire about costs as well as Mackay Airport transfers. Neither of these transfer types are regularly requested (unlike their Proserpine to Airlie Beach area transfers) and are less group-based and more so on individual demands, hence they can't possibly be as cheap. From Mackay to Airlie Beach is 150 kilometres while Proserpine Airport to Airlie Beach is just 40 kilometres, so while each request is different, my conclusion is it's obviously much cheaper to go via Proserpine than Mackay.
If booking to the Whitsunday Coast and requiring friendly and reliable transfers at great value for money, then book through Heart of Reef Shuttles. If your hotel allocates them for you, then expect friendly and hospitable drivers who are experienced at Whitsundays touring and can get you to and from the airport in a timely manner.