When time came to tick off the Great Barrier Reef I came across the Whitsunday Islands. Initially I wasn’t too keen, but after doing some research I came to the decision Airlie Beach would be perfect for what I was looking to do. And that’s what it basically is. A base for exploring the area, and unfortunately nothing more than that. Airlie Beach is a small town with a downtown consisting of a few blocks of restaurants and shops. Quite boring in my opinion… There’s a man-made lagoon, which is a passable alternative to a beach, which there aren’t many of. An OK place to chill in between the activities, which mostly happens from one of the harbours in and around town. Another pleasing feature is the fairly enjoyable beach walk.
I arrived at the airport on Hamilton island, which meant a 35 minutes airport transfer by boat (cruisewhitsundays.com) to Shute Harbour outside town. One of the most incredible airport transfers I have had so far!
Other things to do: Airlie Beach tips
Note: Photos are by Damien Dempsey (#1) and me (#2, #3).