If you are a regular reader, welcome back! You might be wondering why I am back in Airlie Beach, considering I was here over the Christmas break Read more? Luckily for me, I have a friend visiting from Ireland who is travelling Australia and New Zealand and where better to meet her for a long weekend than Whitsundays! Mini Me had yet to venture up the East Coast of Australia so she also wanted to join us, the more the merrier!
We flew to Whitsundays (Proserpine) from Melbourne early Thursday morning with Jetstar ($199return) and arrived after 11am to meet C.C at the airport. A few hugs later, I suggested getting our transport booked before a queue formed. We went to the ‘Whitsundays Transit ’ desk and Mini Me and I booked a return airport transfer to Airlie Beach (One-way $20/Return $34). This was a different company from our previous visit.
*TIP: I would recommend ‘Whitsundays 2 everywhere’ as it took forever to get to Airlie Beach because there were so many drop offs before we made it to the main street.
I thought I had booked us into XBase Backpackers so we left our luggage in storage and decided to book our trips as check in wasn’t until 2pm. What I later realised was that I had booked us into Global Backpackers at Beaches…not XBase!
What trips did we book?
- Great Barrier Reef with Cruise Whitsundays- ($234) (Post to follow)
- Ocean Rafting South Island Tour- ($154) (Post to follow)
When booking tours, generally there is one main company who goes to each location. Cruise Whitsundays are the main operator to get to the Great Barrier Reef and Ocean Rafting and the main company taking you to Whitehaven. I was happy to book with Ocean Rafting again as we did the Northern Exposure Tour (Read more) of the Christmas break and really enjoyed it.
We struck up a deal and booked both tours for $330. We also received two drinks vouchers for free drinks at ‘Down Under Bar’ from 9-10pm daily, what they don’t tell you is that it is only valid for vodka.
*TIP: Book your tours on arrival as you will receive a discount. Booking tours directly with the company and you are paying full price. Most of the travel agents and backpackers offer ‘backpacker discount’.
That evening, we decided to get something to eat and relax. While strolling to the Port of Airlie on Thursday afternoon, we stopped at a board of a small tourist office. One particular tour caught my eye- Cedar Creek Falls. Swimming under a waterfall is on my ‘Life Bucket List’ and we had to enquire. We left the office after we booked the tour for $49 for the next day.
If you don’t have tours planned, the Airlie Beach Lagoon is a nice peaceful spot to hangover. It is so strange to see a lovely beach and no one on it because of the marine stingers and threat of crocodiles. Other activities include:
- Bike Hire- There is an opportunity to hire bikes to explore the area a little faster and take a cycle out to the ports, the hills for some great viewing points etc.
- Paddle Boarding starting at $25
- Jet Ski tours starting at $95pp when booking a jet ski for two people
- Half day tours- Cedar Creek Falls, explore Rainforest, hiking tours, Crocodile adventures & many more
We stayed at Global Backpackers ($88 for 4nights)
- As a resident, you receive a meal voucher daily- $7.50 for a main meal and small drink. Otherwise, the deal is $15 which is still a great price.
- Don’t worry about bringing a towel, you can pay a $10 deposit for a towel and will receive your $10 on return of your towel at check out. This can be changed as often as you like throughout your stay.
- Very central location, you can walk everywhere in town if you stay on the main street.
- Air-con in your room.
- Kitchen, laundry facilities & communal room.
- DO NOT book this place if you are going on early morning tours. Some of the room have a balcony that overlook the main bar and although our room wasn’t one of these rooms, it felt like the bar was at the door. Music goes on quite late so it was tough to get to sleep.
- Cleanliness is not a priority, I saw staff going in to clean our room but an air freshener and a bath mat for the floor wouldn’t go astray. Our room looked nothing like the pictures on the website.
- They advertise a working TV, we couldn’t even get one channel.
- Even though you are a resident, most of the tables in the bar are reserved for those coming off boat tours so unless you are part of these groups, it is extremely hard to find a table most evenings.
- The communal room is rather large but as some of the windows are just a mesh covering, you cannot hear a thing if there is music in the bar.
- The WIFI is not free as mentioned on the website.
Eating/Drinking in Airlie Beach
There are countless bars and restaurants in Airlie Beach and everything suitable to those who are in here for a romantic getaway to those on a trip to explore Airlie Beach/Whitsunday Islands/Great Barrier Reef.
We ventured to:
- Beaches– Great meal deals, happy hours, themes, pool competitions and live music
- Magnums– Large variety on the menu, live music and probably the best bands
- Down Under Bar– Good atmosphere, food available, happy hours, competitions & theme nights
- Mama Africa– Good music, discounted entry, late opening
Of these, Down Under Bar was probably my favourite. It empties out pretty quickly before 12.00am
- BOOM Nightclub– Lots of RnB tunes, free food from 9-11pm, free entry, good atmosphere, open until 3am
- Magnums Nightclub– Free in before 12pm, good music, good atmosphere
Airlie Beach has so much to offer every kind of traveller! More to follow on our day trips!
Have you been to Airlie Beach/Whitsundays?