8 lesser-known things to do in the Whitsundays
Airlie Beach is best known as a small yet vibrant seaside town that acts as a gateway to the Whitsunday Islands. Whilst this is certainly correct and snorkeling the reef and seeing the swirling sands of Whitehaven Beach are a MUST, there are numerous other reasons to stick around a few days longer to explore some of the hidden gems our region has to offer. We’re spilling the beans and here are some of our favourite lesser-known things to do during your time in the Whitsundays.
Hiking mainland trails
The Whitsunday coastline boasts some of the most scenic and beautiful mountain walks and trails. From short strolls under rainforest canopies opening up onto a secluded hidden beach, to more blood-pumping up-hill hikes that reward you with the most breath-taking views; There is something for everyone’s tastes, abilities and time.
Read more about our recommended mainland hikes here.
Hire your own boat
Whilst nothing can really beat the exhilarating experience of cruising through the islands to natural treasures such as Whitehaven Beach or our incredible fringing reefs, all with the convenience of being on a guided tour and having everything mapped out for you, there is something to be said for exploring at your own pace.
If you’re feeling adventurous then why not hire your own private boat for the day? Airlie Boat Hire is a great choice where, with options for those with or without a boat license, you can hop on board your own user-friendly vessel and go out for a fish, a snorkel, a sun-bathe, or even a picnic in a secluded bay. Choose to hug the coastline or nip out to the islands and select your own itinerary.
Bredl’s Wild farm
If you’re after your fix of ‘real’ Australian wildlife then why not look inland slightly and plan a day out to Bredl’s Wild Farm. Located on 175 acres of natural Australian bush land you can expect to meet all the friendly locals – Cuddle a koala, pet a kangaroo, handle a snake and watch the Big Croc’s at feeding time.
Cedar Creek Falls
Located only a short 20-minute drive inland from Airlie Beach, this beautiful natural watering hole is certainly a hidden gem and the perfect spot for a cooling fresh water swim. Helpful hint – Enjoy this amazing location during wet season where the waterfall will be cascading in all its glory. Take some lunch and enjoy a picnic on the banks, where you can spot the small turtles in the shallows. Afterwards, take a stroll along the path to the top of the water-fall to enjoy the vantage point over the rainforest.
Sure, there’s sailing yachts of every size, white, big and shiny superyachts, or small and speedy thrill-rides, however there’s also the option to experience a day on the water in a more unique way. Jump on a traditional handmade sailing canoe, or ‘Outrigger’ as they are called, and paddle your way around paradise. You can choose to sail the bay and out towards the islands, or simply enjoy watching the sun go down as you glide along. Contact Whitsunday Sailing Outrigger for more information.
This miniature coastal town is high on the list of Whitsundays’ best kept secrets. Located only a 30-40 minute drive North of Airlie Beach, Hydeaway Bay boasts some of the most pristine beaches, laid-back resorts, picturesque palm-fringed coastlines, and (possibly, most famously), an epic sunset spot thanks to it’s westerly perspective. Hydeaway Bay is a place where, as the name suggests, you can drift away from life’s hustle and bustle and enjoy the simpler things.
A small and traditional Australian town located an hour’s drive North, Bowen is known for it’s scrumptious mangoes, fresh locally caught seafood, and its incredible beaches. Organise a beach-crawl for the afternoon starting at the simply stunning Horseshoe Bay and ending for a sunset at Grays Bay where the sun sets into the horizon.
Finch Hatton Gorge and Eungella National Park
If you have a spare 2-3 days, then we can’t recommend highly enough a visit to Finch Hatton Gorge and Eungella National Park. Located 2.5 hours south and inland this beautiful National Park is the perfect place to camp, hike the waterfall trails in the gorge, soak up the insane views from the top of the range, take a dip in one of the many rock pools and cascades, and if you’re lucky, spot a little platypus playing in the creeks.