For the vast majority of people who travel to the Whitsunday region the big drawcard is… well the Whitsunday Islands, but there’s a whole to lot to see up there without even leaving the mainland.
Why not start your trip with a quick cuppa at the Whitsunday Gold Coffee plantation in Proserpine. The quirky café has just reopened after being flattened by Cyclone Debbie in 2017. The revamped building offers a cool kids rooms, a bustling birdcage and of course a café where the regulars make you feel at home.
An animal tour of a different kind may take your fancy. Dorothy is a regular on the tour… Dorothy the croc that is. At Whitsunday Croc Safari’s, guests are welcomed to get up close and personal with a few of the residents. There is no better guide for the tour than Steve Watson. He has been showing people around the croc-infested river for more than 20 years! The river cruise runs for a couple of hours and is followed by a BBQ lunch back at the camp.
Crocs not your thing? Well, NRMA Bowen Beachfront Holiday Park like to do things a little differently to the traditional park. Steve O’Doherty and his wife Janine are the managers who cater to campers who want more than just a concrete pad and power point at a park. The couple even offer yoga on the waterfront, believing it is the best way to start the day. The proximity to the ocean, sunsets, sunrises and ease of riding a bike on the flat Bowen roads are what make the park so popular.
Just when you thought a short two-and-a-half kilometre journey to the best-known beach in Bowen, Horseshoe Bay was good, Janine let us in on a ‘locals-only’ secret, Murray’s Bay. A little way of the beaten track, Murray’s Bay offers a sight only seen in postcards AND you pretty much have the entire beach to yourself.
Spending the day at the beach and working up an appetite… it’s a hard life. Don’t stress, because we have the perfect spot to visit in Bowen for lunch – The Grand View Hotel. This pub has been through a lot – several floods, cyclones and fires BUT the establishment has done incredibly well to stand the test of time.
A quiet community tucked into a tropical valley outside Airlie Beach is Jubilee Pocket, where you’ll find another holiday park catering to people who want more than just a place to park a van for the night. The waterpark here is just one of the kid-friendly activities geared towards entertaining and tiring out the kids.
Jump aboard a local eco-tour run by husband and wife team, Gus and Alice Walsgott. Absolute Airlie is an outdoor adventure for everyone and the tours are tailored to every group – want to swim, there are lagoons for a fresh drip or need to stretch the legs, there are several bushwalks ranging in length. Not to mention the scenery which is spectacular… and with the very enthusiastic guides showing you around, they will make sure you have an all ‘round enjoyable day.
One of the most popular Whitsunday events is the Airlie Beach Race Week. For one week every August, the Whitsunday Sailing Club becomes the hub of all activity in town. The Race Week has been running for more than 30-years and now attracts boats from as far afield as Hong Kong to compete.
If you would like to be apart of Airlie Beach Race Week then you’ve got plenty of time to prepare. Getting out on the water not your thing? Don’t worry, a big part of the attraction is the atmosphere, so be apart of the crowd and cheer on your favourite boat to win!