Proserpine is the administrative and service centre for the Whitsunday Shire. Proserpine was named by the explorer George Dalrymple, after Persephone the Greek goddess of fertility, recognising the fertile qualities in the region. Since the late 1800s, sugar cane and cattle grazing have been the economic mainstays (the eerie glow of cane fires make a spectacular sight from late June onwards. Now tourism is playing a drawcard here.
Although it has many modern facilities (including a state of the art Hospital, primary and secondary schools, library, and sporting facilities for swimming, tennis, bowls, squash, netball, football, golf, and indoor cricket), the town's Main Street is a reminder of how life used to be particularly the art deco period evident in the shop architecture which has been well preserved. Old-fashioned courtesies survive in Proserpine, particularly at many of the charming retail outlets.
Proserpine Airport (IATA: PPP) (ICAO: YBPN) - also known as Whitsunday Coast Airport, about 10kms south of Proserpine. Three airlines fly into this airport: Virgin Blue, Jetstar and Tiger Air. The airport has recently (2012) received a $9m upgrade to all of its facilities. A number of buses serve the terminal, and drive to Airlie Beach or other locations but all but one must be prebooked. The tickets cost a flat $15 per person one way and can be purchased in a queue at a clearly marked booth just inside the arrival gate. The bus driver mans the booth, and when everyone has got a ticket (about 30-40 minutes wait from arrival) the bus gets going. Another option is to take a taxi, for which there is also a booth inside the arrivals gate. However taxi rides seem to match the bus price, and cost $15 per person. Also, there may not be any taxis waiting. The ride to Airlie beach is smooth and takes about 40 minutes. The driver will ask where you are staying and take you to the door of the hostel or hotel in Airlie Beach. Rental hire cars are also available.