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Trip List by connecticuttraveler6

Family Fun at Airlie Beach

Jan 26, 2008  
3.0 of 5 bubbles based on 4 votes

Things to do and see in and around Airlie Beach

  • Explore locations featured in this Trip List: Airlie Beach
  • Category: Recent trip
  • 1. Airlie Beach
    Airlie Beach, Queensland

    I traveled to Airlie beach in August of 2007 to join my husband for a long distance adventure race called XPD. While my husband raced, my two children (ages 13 and 10), my father-in-law and I volunteered for the race organization. While we only saw a tiny microcosm of Queensland -- we spent 3 weeks there and experienced many things. Airlie Beach is a huge tourist destination. It is a backpacker haven and the "gateway to the Whitsunday Islands". It reminded me a lot of Costa Rica as there is much rain forest in the area. We did not have a chance to do a multi-day charter around the islands, but would have liked to. The water is a gorgeous green-blue. We also explored the nearby Pioneer Valley area which is the "sugar belt" -- sugar cane growing everywhere, and up to the Eungella area. The government has developed a series of Great Walks that offer great hiking too.

  • 2. The Boathouse

    We stayed at a rental home for our base accommodations called the Boathouse. The location was perfect. The house was right on the Boardwalk (a 3 mile walk that goes from Airlie Beach to Cannonvale), it had great views, a peaceful, residential feel, yet we were within easy walking distance of the town center and swimming lagoon. The house was perfect for us. It is not a luxury home, and there were a few quirks (a very old washer/dryer), but we would definitely go back.

  • 3. Coral Sea Resort
    Coral Sea Resort, Airlie Beach, Queensland

    We stayed at the Coral Sea Resort for the first two nights of our trip. It is on a nice tip of land (literally next door to the Boathouse rental home we moved to). The rooms were nice, as was the pool.

  • 4. The Airlie Beach Lagoon

    The Lagoon is a huge, man-made, salt water chlorinated swimming pool in the heart of Airlie Beach overlooking the ocean. It creates a safe swimming environment in box jellyfish season. It is a perfect place to spend the day with kids -- there are playgrounds and picnic facilities. My kids loved it here.

  • 5. Conway National Park

    The area around Airlie Beach is very mountainous and is a true rainforest. There is a park HQ on Shute Harbor Road in between Airlie Beach and Shute Harbor. This is a great place to go to get maps both of Conway and other nearby parks (another favorite is Eungella). There are hikes off of Shute Harbor Road, and another series of trails called the Great Whitsunday Walk. We did one of the shorter trails. We were the only car in the parking lot and the trailhead had a trail map with points to look at along the way. I would have loved to do more hiking here.

  • 6. Eungella National Park

    I loved Eungella Natonal Park. It was a 1-1/2 to 2 hour drive from Airlie Beach. We explored the area before the race -- not knowing that the race would pass through here. We took a back way in, and the main highway out. The last part of the road up is twisting and steep -- be careful because this area is a cloud forest and often the fog is thick. We were in search of the elusive platypus along the Broken River, and we were rewarded. There is also a Great Walk here, with well maintained rainforest trails. It turned out that the town of Eungella was the mid-camp location for the race, so we ended up staying two more nights in this area.

  • 7. Ocean Rafting

    We were looking for a smaller operation to do some day trips around the islands, and decided to go with Ocean Rafting. The boats leave from the Jetty off the Coral Sea Resort and they offer a few different routes. Our route included a short hike to a lookout (where we saw whales breaching offshore), lunch at Whitehaven Beach (am amazing white sand beach) and snorkeling. The snorkeling was fantastic. The water in January was chillier than the Caribbean -- about 70 degrees -- but the colors and fish were worth it. We also did a dive/snorkel trip out to the Great Barrier Reef (Bait Reef) and now wish we had chosen to dive around one of the islands instead. The Reef was a 2 hour extremely rought boat ride.

  • 8. Alain's Restaurant

    It was hard to find really good restaurants around Airlie Beach. We stumbled upon Alain's Restaurant in Cannonvale (it was at the end of the boardwalk) and decided to give it a try. Wow! It is a small (7 tables) intimate French restaurant with a prix fixe six or seven course meal (can't recall exactly). It was a real treat. NOTE: Children who are used to more formal dining will be fine here, but know that there are no children's meals or pricing and it is a long, lingering mealtime experience.

  • 9. Harry's Corner Cafe

    We discovered this little eatery late in our trip, but returned a few times. Great breakfasts and lunches, good coffee. They serve Thai food for dinner (did not have a chance to sample this).

  • 10. Bowerbird Cafe in Finch Hatton

    The town of Finch Hatton is on road to Eungella. We loved the Bowerbird Cafe for their coffee, toasted cheese sandwiches and desserts. The owner also has a cute little shop with artwork, clothing and jewelry, much of which she makes herself. The seating is outdoors.

  • 11. Finch Hatton Gorge

    Finch Hatton Gorge has some lovely walking trails to two waterfalls (we only had time to get to the first one, but it is not difficult hiking). You can swim in these waterfalls and I wish we had spent more time there.