24 hours in Airlie Beach, Australia

From Brisbane, we flew into Proserpine with Virgin Australia and used the transfer buses with Whitsunday Transit to Airlie Beach. Although Airlie Beach is a gateway and mostly used as a departure point for the Whitsundays,  the town centre with its abundance of restaurants catering to every budget, and boutique shops with stylish clothing and coastal inspired furnishings is definitely worth exploring.

27-Feb-14VA1113 BNE-PPPAirlie Beach LagoonMantra Boathouse Apartments
28-Feb-14Pacific Blitz BavariaBlue Pearl Bay
Hayman Island
Pacific Blitz Bavaria
01-Mar-14Nara Inlet Dugong Beach
02-Mar-14Whitehaven BeachWaterfront Whitsunday Retreat
03-Mar-14VA1114 PPP-BNE

Get your tan on at the Airlie Beach lagoon

A perpetual Airlie-plage overlooking the ocean, the Airlie Beach lagoon is a nice little spot to relax and cool down. Admission is free- you just need to get there early if you want prime real estate on the sand as it fills up quite quickly.
If you’re not into getting your tan on, there are shaded seating areas where you can enjoy your takeaway fish and chips or byo picnic with friends. Or, if you’re like me and you enjoy digging into good literature, sit under the shade of one of the palm trees and enjoy the sea breeze, the sound of the ocean, and the words on your page.

Eat some local grub

For a no frills, cheap and relaxed place to eat lunch, try the Whitsundays Seafood Bar, located roadside near the esplanade. We ordered some fresh prawns which were deliciously sweet, and some crunchy greek salad as a side.
The menu at Mamas Boys has your standard bar faire, however go there for the atmosphere and live music as it shares the outdoor seating area with Magnums BarService was fast and the servings very generous so if you are wanting a hearty meal that is affordable, this is a good place to eat.
For something a little more fancy without breaking the budget, Fish D’Vine Fish Cafe & Rum Bar has an extensive seafood and rum menu all set within a funky tiki/Hawaiian setting. One couple from our group ordered the chilli crab which they were famous for while the rest of us feasted on fisherman’s baskets and drank rum concoctions to toast the end of our amazing trip away.

takeaway seafood

White cardboard lined with greaseproof paper & a plastic fork – the best way to enjoy takeaway seafood


Catch a band at a pub

Airlie Beach has quite a vibrant nightlife scene, so theres no shortage of bars to choose from along the main street. We hung out at the beer garden in Magnums Bar and watched a local band whilst downing a couple of beverages. Stick around and you might be lucky to catch their nightly activities/ games. Like cane toad racing (no thanks).

We stayed at:

Mantra Boathouse Apartments
33 Port Drive, Port of Airlie QLD 4802

cost               190 AUD
breakfast      not included
wifi               not included
We spent our first night at the Mantra Boathouse Apartments which had a prime waterfront location, and conveniently located a short 5 minute walk to the town centre. We were a group of 4 couples so we hired 2 x 2 bedroom self catering apartments. The apartments were modern with homely touches and although the rooms had the same layout, the apartments had different colour palettes and furnishings, giving the rooms their own unique style. The facilities also included an outdoor swimming pool, spa and barbecue.

We liked:

The outdoor swimming pool, spa and barbecue area
The location – walking distance to the town centre
The balcony overlooking the marina
The self equipped kitchen – perfect for making your own breakfasts..and cocktails

Waterfront Whitsunday Retreat
438 Shute Harbour Rd, Airlie Beach QLD 4802
cost             580 AUD
breakfast    not included
wifi             not included
On our final night in Airlie Beach, we stayed in the penthouse suite of the Waterfront Whitsunday Retreat.  The apartment had a balcony with awesome water views, a jacuzzi, spacious living areas, and a fully equipped kitchen.

We liked:

The views
The awesome jacuzzi on the balcony
Privacy – we had all of the top floor so it felt quite secluded
Self equipped laundry – this was so handy after spending 3 days on a yacht with no washing facilities

mantra boathous apartments
The humble view from our balcony at the Mantra Boathouse Apartments


Pack some insect repellent - there were hungry sandflies on the prowl when we went.
Because you'll need to conserve the potable water on board the yacht, your showers will be short. Bring some baby wipes if you want to feel refreshed throughout the day, and dry shampoo.
So cliche- but slip, slop, slap! You will regret not taking a hat and applying sunscreen - the Aussie sun is unforgiving, even on cloudy days.
If you are not used to being at sea, make sure you bring some tablets that will help with motion sickness. I found that the natural ginger tablets I bought weren't as effective as some of the other over the counter medication my friends brought.
There are last minute deals advertised through the sailing company we booked - so keep checking as you might find an awesome bargain.
Be careful with your camera at Whitehaven - because the sand is so fine, it may get inside your camera and break it. First hand experience.
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