Touching down at Proserpine Airport in Queensland’s tropical north, a warm breeze engulfed me in a sense of adventure. Holiday vibes filled the air with chitter chatter from offloading passengers, decked out in summer attire.
Some speak a language that is unfamiliar; packs perched on their backs while eager eyes surveyed their surroundings.
Providing the ideal base to the Whitsunday wonderland, Airlie Beach on the Whitsunday Coast is a hive of activity filled with varied accents that can be heard in the main street.
A popular spot for the adventure-seeking backpackers, the area accommodates with an abundance of hostels, travel outlets and various nightclubs and bars pumping the latest disco tracks.
Looking to take advantage of the array of activities on offer, I made my way to Fun Rentals, keen to rent something with wheels to provide this advertised fun. It is a difficult choice but my eyes settled on the mini moke, bright blue in colour that seemed to have my name all over it. For just $55 for four hours, I revelled in the coolness of not only street cred in such a funky set of wheels, but the open top that allows the wind to whip around me while cruising out of town to nearby Dingo Beach.
Only managing to push 80km an hour in the moke, the drive took 45 minutes to reach Dingo Beach. The scenic landscape on route of sugar cane fields and Australian bush land was mixed with the occasional scattering of homesteads and farms. After a quick swim and scan of the beach for shells, it was time to head back to Airlie Beach and settle into my hotel.
Airlie Beach achieves the perfect balance of accommodation styles, ranging from stylish resort hotels on the water’s edge and apartments on the hillside overlooking the panorama of beach, bay and islands, to bed and breakfast options, motels, camping and caravan parks as well as a host of backpacker accommodation.
There is a village atmosphere unifying travellers of all budgets together in the same relaxed, holiday feel. The two beaches in the area include Airlie Beach itself, that is located in the centre of town along the Esplanade and overlooks Pioneer Bay to Hayman Island and Boathaven Beach, which was opened in 2011, and is located at the Port of Airlie development at the Eastern end of town.
My accommodation for the evening is Airlie Beach Hotel, located at the end of the esplanade right on the beachfront of Airlie Beach. The hotel offers a range of accommodation styles, starting with the more budget conscious travelers 3 star Motel Rooms, located at the back of the property and facing the main street. The 4 star Village View rooms look over the bustling village, complex and gardens and offer a balcony. The Beach View hotel rooms come in executive and standard styles, both overlooking the splendid Coral Sea coastline with a balcony to soak up the view.
There is a world of choice when dining at Airlie Beach Hotel. You can gorge yourself on modern Australian cuisine at Capers at the Beach Bar and Grill, bite into a slice of one of our renowned wood-fired pizzas at Mangrove Jacks or tuck into some tasty Tex-Mex at Cactus Jacks. All three restaurants allow charge back to your hotel room.
I settled for a delicious wood-fired pizza before settling in for the night. Falling asleep listening to the sound of waves lapping at Airlie Beach, I drifted off into a summery sleep.
Visit Airlie Beach yourself – www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au
Get your transfers at www.whitsundays2everywhere.com.au
Stay at the Airlie Beach Hotel – www.airliebeachhotel.com.au