Airlie Beach- Whitsundays
How to get there
By car, it’s 7hrs from 1770. Otherwise you can fly to Airlie Beach airport.
Where to stay
If you’re camping, I would recommend Base. This is also a hostel but has a camp ground attached to it. It’s on the main street, has a bar and plenty of backpackers!
Otherwise I would stay at Backpackers By the Bay. It’s just behind the main street and only has 4 bed dorms which is a nice change. It’s quite an intimate place and is ideal if you want to meet people easily. There is a pool and outside courtyard area where they have a BBQ and host trivia every night. The guy who runs it is extremely helpful, laid back and really makes it feel like home.
What to do
This is the place of paradise that foreigners envision when they see photos of Australia. The most common way to see the Whitsundays is by booking with a tour company. This doesn’t need to be done in advance as there are tour shops EVERYWHERE which can book it for you basically the next day.
You go out on a boat for 2 days and sail around the beautiful Whitsunday Islands with a group of backpackers. You visit Whitehaven beach as well as the Hill Inlet looking, which gives a spectacular 180 degree view of Whitehaven Island.
You can also snorkel and dive the Great Barrier Reef from this trip to see some beautiful marine life.
If you are pressed for time, there are also plenty of day trips available. The type of boats vary from speed to sailing boats, it just depends what you would like to get out of the day.
Mantaray boat has a great day trip which incorporates Whitehaven Beach, Hill Inlet lookout, snorkelling and diving. However if you didn’t want to dive then there are other boats which spend more time on the islands which may be more suitable.
Airlie Beach has some of the cheapest skydiving I’ve seen starting at $200. This is a beautiful place to do it so why not take the plunge!
3. Relax at the lagoon
Airlie Lagoon is a beautiful area by the water and is the best place to sun bake. It is always full of people and has a ping pong table free for use.
4. Take a walk to the marina
There is a beautiful walk from the lagoon to the marina overlooking the water. It only takes 15mins and then you can check out one of the delicious cafes by the marina.
5. Cedar Creek Falls
This is a short 25min drive from Airlie Beach and is definitely worth vitiating if you have a car! The water is great to swim in and you can climb the top of the waterfall for a great view.
Airlie Beach has a great nightlife down the main street that goes off every night, and all you need to do is stroll down a short while to find it. Magnums is a bar (also a hostel) with a huge outdoor patio. This is a great place to drink in the beginning of the night, as they also have delicious dinners.
Pheonix is at the end of the street and always has a pumping dance floor every night. They also have some of the cheapest drinks in town with spirits for $4.50. Paddy’s Shenanigans is a popular Irish pub which has great live music and is usually full of locals. If you want a late night dance with house music, Mama Africa is the place to be. This picks up after 12am and stays open pretty late.
How long to stay
I would spend 3 days minimum here, not including the days you are in the Whitsundays.