The Whitsunday coast mainland is an area option omitted from any visit to the region. With a vibrant agricultural focus, the landscape is awash with sugar cane fields and vegetable farms.
Within short driving distance, you can explore the Conway National Park, Cape Hillsborough National Park and Eungella National Park all which are brimming with native flora and fauna, as well as waterfalls, rivers, bush-walking tracks and stunning views.
The townships of Bowen and Proserpine are also close by and are well worth an explore, if time permits. Quaint cafes, unique shops and a classic north Queensland friendly welcome is what can be expected.
Hire cars are available through various companies located on the main street of Airlie Beach.
Please call if you require any assistance in booking a vehicle to explore the hinterland.
A short 45-minute drive north of Airlie Beach a trip to Bowen provides a quintessential north Queensland experience.
Famed for it’s mango production and location for filming of the Nicole Kidman/ Hugh Jackman classic movie – Australia, Bowen offers some great leisure options for day visitors.
Bird watching at Mullers Lagoon, water park on the esplanade for the kids, stunning vistas from Flagstaff Hill, a string of beaches to explore from Horseshoe Bay to Rose Bay, as well a lunch stop off at The Grand View Hotel - voted Queensland Hotel of the Year 2017.
For detailed information on what you can explore in Bowen, visit their tourism website.
Airlie BeachAirlie Beach
Airlie Beach is a vibrant tourist town nestled in the heart of the Whitsundays. A short 10 minute walk from Coral Sea Marina Resort, Airlie Beach is home to a diverse range of dining and retail options. From high street stores, to unique boutiques, as well as a fully equipped supermarket, Airlie Beach caters well for all visitor needs.
The Bicentennial Walkway traverses from neighbouring Cannonvale through Coral Sea Marina Resort and ends at the Airlie Beach Lagoon. This newly renovated swimming lagoon, is open 365 days of the year and is located on the absolute waterfront with stunning views back over the Coral Sea and the Whitsunday islands.
Every Saturday the Lions Markets take place in Airlie Beach on the Esplanade and always have a great vibe and plenty of interesting and new stalls to visit. Whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner you will not be disappointed with the variety of food options in Airlie Beach.
If it is night life you are looking for, Airlie Beach has this in spades – bars, pubs and clubs scatter the main street and are all open until late. Airlie Beach is an official safe night precinct, so after 10pm photo ID is required to enter any licensed venue.
Hydeaway BayHydeaway Bay
For an absolute waterfront Queensland experience, take a drive out to Hydeaway Bay where you will find both Montes Reef Resort and Cape Gloucester Eco Resort. Both resorts have cabin style accommodation, are located absolute beachfront and have good restaurants available for lunch and dinner daily.
The drive itself will take you through sugar cane fields and weave through the Conway Ranges until you reach the coast and the unmistakable turquoise of the Whitsunday waters.
Be careful if driving back to Airlie Beach at sunset as the native rock wallabies line the road looking for food and adventure!
Cedar Creek FallsCedar Creek Falls
Cedar Creek Falls
This naturally forming waterfall during the wet season or after any large rainfall event is a wonderful experience. Enjoy a leisurely drive out to Cedar Creek Falls through lush agriculture land until you reach the waterfalls.
With a plunge pool perfect for cooling off on a hot summers day, a climb to the top of the waterfall and beyond or space to relax under a shady tree, this is a nice way to experience the Whitsunday flora and fauna.
On the drive home, pop in to Busy Bees Plants & Palms on Conway Road for a coffee or continue on to Conway Beach and visit George’s Diner at the caravan park for a spot of lunch or light refreshment.
Cape Hillsborough National ParkCape Hillsborough National Park
Cape Hillsborough National Park
Famed for its expansive beach and wildlife, a visit to the Cape Hillsborough National Park needs to be timed with sunrise or sunset. The resident wallaby population meet daily on the beach and are a sight to behold for those who have not experienced this Australian icon in their natural habitat.
There are some great bush walks in this area, including a very interesting mangrove boardwalk path which explains the native flora and fauna. Cape Hillsborough is a short drive from Eungella National Park, so it is a great idea to make this visit part of an extended day trip.
Lake ProserpineLake Proserpine
Lake Proserpine or the Proserpine Dam provides the perfect fresh water environment for watersports or barramundi fishing. Flat, calm water and a huge expansive lake is what makes Lake Proserpine popular with locals and visitors wake-boarding, jet skiing, fishing and wind surfing, plus overnight camping.
The ultimate fresh water fishing experience in Queensland is catching a barramundi, of which there are plenty in the dam. Hire a trailer boat and fishing equipment from one of the local suppliers and try your hand at fresh water fishing at its best.
For information on mobile boat hire and fishing suppliers in the region, please speak with our Guest Services team.
Eungella National ParkEungella National Park
Eungella National Park
The beauty of Eungella is unrivalled in the Whitsunday hinterland. From the opportunity to spot a platypus in its natural environment at Broken River, to the waterfalls and rainforest hike at Finch Hatton to the Eungella Dam itself, this region is worth exploring and spending a day or two immersing yourself in a natural rainforest environment.
Rainforest Scuba based at Finch Hatton, actually offer personalized platypus scuba diving tours to get up close and personal with these traditionally very shy creatures. For those diving enthusiasts, this would provide a unique and memory making experience.
Quaint cafes and gift shops scattered along the roadside and some excellent National Park walks for all levels of fitness, ensure that Eungella National Park offers something different to the islands and reef the Whitsundays are famous for.
Located 15 minutes from Airlie Beach, the township of Proserpine has a strong agricultural focus. This being said, there are some stunning boutiques in Proserpine, which for those who like shopping, simply must be explored – Colour Me Crazy and Cherry Baby Boutique are our recommendations.
The public swimming pool at Proserpine is receiving a multi-million dollar makeover and in 2018 launched a mega splash-park perfect for entertaining the kids. The Whitsunday Gold coffee plantation on the Bruce Highway as you enter the town has reopened after extensive crop damage in TC Debbie in 2017 - with a great cafe, an indoor soft play area for the kids and a menagerie are among the attractions, this one is worth a visit for morning tea. The Proserpine Museum is an interesting place to visit, showcasing the vast history of the region.
Located just outside Proserpine is the Whitsunday Crocodile Safari and popular day trip exploring the crocodile habitats of the Proserpine River. With freshly caught mud-crab, a tour of the adjacent wetlands and damper and billy-tea for morning tea, this tour is highly recommended