Before coming to Australia I’m sure everyone has heard about tropical North Queensland. North Qld has to be one of not only Australia’s but the World’s most beautiful destinations. There is so much to see and do, from spending time on a secluded island on the reef, snorkelling with beautiful coloured coral and fish, adventuring through the tropical rainforest or having some big nights at the backpacker bars and clubs there is something for all tastes. We will try and help you get the most out of your North QLD trip through this blog so you don’t miss out on anything.
Unfortunately you cannot fly directly from The Gold Coast to Airlie Beach. Although you can get on a train and fly out from Brisbane. Flights from Brisbane depart a couple of times per day so there is no shortage of flights. They start from approximately $215.00 return.
Driving is a great way to experience North QLD. Don’t be fooled though it is a very long drive. It is around 1200 km away from The Gold Coast, so about a 14 hour drive. So if you have a car or want to hire a camper van between friends it is a wonderful way to see what the sunshine state has to offer and stop off at some iconic location like the Big Banana, 1770 (Captain Cooks Landing) or find a secluded beach kick back and relax.
Where To Stay.
If you are travelling on a budget you can’t go past staying at a local backpacker’s hostel. They are always full of lively characters and like minded people ready to have a good time. This is Pathway To Aus top 3 choices for accommodation in Airlie Beach.
Magnums Backpackers Airlie Beach
Rooms start from $20.00 per night. Magnums are an award-winning provider of accommodation in Airlie Beach luring backpackers, travellers and holiday makers worldwide to the Whitsunday’s and Great Barrier Reef. Let them make your time there unforgettable by booking a tour. They offer discounted rates, and when you book with Magnums, you’ll benefit from the advice and knowledge of long-term locals.
Airlie Beach Waterfront Backpackers.
Rooms start from $25.00 per night. Airlie Waterfront Backpackers is Airlie Beach’s FLASHPACKERS. Refurbished in September 2008, there hostel boasts a fantastic central location 500 meters easy walk from the bus station and only minutes away from the swimming lagoon.
Airlie Beach YHA.
Rooms start from $28.00. Airlie Beach YHA hostel is located in the centre of Airlie Beach close to the swimming lagoon, restaurants, cafes and nightlife that Airlie has to offer. This fun and safe budget accommodation offers multi-share, double and twin rooms with private balconies.
Whitsunday Transit is the mainland’s major bus service in the Whitsunday and Airlie Beach area. This local bus service provides over 70 services per day and operates 7 days a week. Also, it should be recognized that the bus fares are very reasonable.
You can also hire push bikes from many different locations around town for as little as $10 per day. In my opinion this is the perfect way to make your way around Airlie and its attractions.
What To Do.
There is so much to do in Airlie Beach & around the Great Barrier Reef we could not possibly go through them all. This is our top 5 must see locations.
Great Barrier Reef.
Said to be the world’s largest living structure and the only one visible from outer space, the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef is one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The Whitsundays region benefits from being located as the closest point off the Queensland coast to the Great Barrier Reef, which ensures it is the ideal hub from which to explore this aquatic wonderland.
Stretching over 2000 kilometres in length, the Great Barrier Reef protects the Whitsunday Coast and Islands from huge ocean swells providing the region with some of the safest sailing and cruising waters in the world
Heart Reef, in the Great Barrier Reef of the Whitsundays, is a stunning composition of coral that has naturally formed into the shape of a heart. Located in Hardy Reef, Heart Reef is best experienced from the air by helicopter or seaplane, as visitors are unable to snorkel or dive there due it’s protected status.
Many tour companies will combine a scenic flight over Heart Reef with other breathtaking spots in the Whitsundays, including Whitehaven Beach and Hill Inlet. A certain highlight of any visit to the Whitsundays.
Whitehaven Beach is a definite “must-see” in the Whitsundays. The crystal clear aqua waters and pristine silica sand of Whitehaven stretch over seven kilometres along Whitsunday Island , the largest of the 74 islands in the Whitsundays. It defines nature at its best and provides the greatest sense of relaxation and escape
Conway State Forest.
In Conway State Forest along the rugged Conway Range, explore lowland tropical rainforest, picturesque creeks and lofty peaks overlooking Airlie Beach. This forest is home to 20 rainforest plants found only in this region and offers a refuge for wildlife.
Airlie Beach Lagoon.
The lagoon is surrounded by grassy knolls, perfect for a spot of sunbathing, or finding a quiet spot in the shade to read a book. The sandy beach area at one end provides a safe stinger free environment for the children to play in the shallows and the lagoon is surrounded by landscaped gardens for added aesthetic appeal. A children’s pool is situated at one end.
Best Party Spots.
Airlie Beach is very well known for its night life. There are plenty of places to go and have a good time in Airlie Beach, some could even say too many but we have picked out our top 3 spots to make sure that when you are heading out for a night on the town you are not going to be disappointed.
Magnums Hotel is located in the middle of the main street of Airlie Beach and is open from 10am till late 7 days a week. Magnums Hotel is the largest entertainment venue in Airlie Beach.
6 bars, 2 big screens, 10 plasmas, 8 pool tables and a Party Bar – Featuring regular acts from around the country and around the world, as well as major name Live Bands. Drinks are cheap and you cannot go to this place without having an awesome time.
Beaches Bar & Bistro.
The biggest hostel in Airlie Beach, Beaches is also one of the most popular nightspots. With $6 jugs of beer every day and special party games on a regular basis, this place is filled to capacity with backpackers any night of the week.
Traditional Irish pub serving the obligatory Guinness and Irish stew, this is an extremely popular among backpackers and locals alike, and with special offers on drinks almost every night as well as its warm, friendly atmosphere it’s easy to see why.
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