By Kerry Heaney
When the weather heats up, the place to be is beside the sea and Whitsunday packs plenty of punch when it comes to water-based activities.
Explore the region by land or sea but make sure there’s plenty of time to stop and just take in those crystal clear blue water ocean views.
Fuel up with a first stop at the Whitsunday Gold Coffee Plantation. Located at the gateway to the region, this is one of Australia’s largest coffee plantations with around 140,000 Arabica coffee bean trees growing in the rich and fertile valley bounded by the Proserpine River.
As the road heads towards Airlie Beach, you might be tempted by a detour to Cedar Creek Falls on Saltwater Creek Road. During the wet season there’s plenty of waterfall action or just enjoy a dip in the cool rock pool waters.
Conway National Park is another place nature lovers enjoy exploring. There are trails for walkers and mountain bike riders that offer magical views over the Whitsunday islands.
Where to eat in Airlie Beach? Fish d’vine has an impressive selection of locally caught seafood and a Rum Bar which boasts a collection of over 200 spirits. Mr Bones overlooks Airlie Beach’s famous lagoon pool and is home to an amazing selection of thin-based pizzas. Positioned on the beachfront at Cannonvale Beach, Fat Frog Beach Café is great spot to sit back and enjoy the gentle breeze over breakfast or lunch.
Taste the region like a local at the Whitsunday Markets which are held every Saturday along the Airlie Beach foreshore.
It’s easy to feel like a rock star at Airlie Beach. Would you like to cruise the Whitsunday Islands with your own skipper at the helm? Have a chat to the charming Captain Christophe from Queensland Yacht Charters and you could be sailing with him at the helm to your own private island for the night after spending the day swimming on pristine deserted beaches.
For an eagle eye view of the Whitsundays, including the famous Heart Reef, you’ll need the Air Whitsunday Seaplane half-day Panorama Tour. Sipping champagne on the beach will never seem the same again after you’ve experienced a Whitehaven beach stopover followed snorkelling in a private reef lagoon.
Take a long detour north of Airlie Beach on the way back to Proserpine and discover a secret spot that locals like to keep to themselves. This patch of paradise, otherwise known as Hydeaway Bay, is the sort of place where you might be the only person on the long, sandy beach. Montes Reef Resort at Cape Gloucester has a small number of low-key cabins and a restaurant where guests dine so close to the beach sea spray could be an issue on rough days.
A wander through the Whitsunday region will reveal plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy life the way it should be.