It was pretty difficult to make an itinerary just for 2 weeks in Australia. We wanted to visit as many places as possible and still be able to enjoy last few days with my cousin in Sydney. Being on tight schedule we had to fly around. So first part of our Aussie adventure was Airlie Beach in Queensland. If you want to visit Great Barrier Reef there are 2 great destinations to keep in mind. Cairns or Airlie Beach. Both are easy to fly to and offer great variety of day trips. The biggest catch of Airlie Beach would be the Heart Reef, Whitsundays Island and Whitehaven beach.
There are 2 options to get to Airlie Beach by air – Proserpine airport (PPP) or Hamilton Island airport (HTI) which serves better those who visit Hamilton Island itself. We chose the first and better option for us Proserpine airport from which you can easily get to Airlie Beach by bus in just 30 minutes.
Our plan was to stay 4 days and do 3 day trips including Great Barrier Reef snorkel day trip, Whitsundays Island and Whitehaven Beach and finally Reef and island scenic flight. Unfortunately we managed to do just 1 day trip due to weather. We actually rescheduled our second flight to Brisbane. Finally we stayed only 2 nights in Airlie beach.
Due to rough sea conditions we decided not to do Great Barrier Reef day trip because it takes 3 hours to get there and another 3 hours to get back. Instead we did Whitsundays Island and Whitehaven beach and snorkel day trip by brand new Bullet speed boat. I really recommend this day trip due to its variety where you get to see a stunning view of Whitsundays Island from Hill Inlet lookout. Then you can enjoy swimming on the most beautiful beach in Australia – Whitehaven beach. And finally you get to enjoy snorkeling. This trip was very well organized and everything from food, water up to rain coats and dry bags was provided.
We were really lucky also because while boarding the Bullet it was raining a lot but by the time we got to the Whitsundays Island just like a miracle it was suddenly sunny and very hot. Our first stop was Hill Inlet, an amazing lookout with incredible views of beautiful sand beach and river coming from the heart of the island.
Afterwards we were taken to Australia´s most beautiful beach – Whitehaven beach. It is really nice and long beach but I wouldn’t say it was the most beautiful one. If you want to swim in the ocean you have to wear a stinger suit because during wet season (November-May) there might be stingers in the sea. It is strongly recommended to wear such suits in order to prevent painful and dangerous bites of box jelly fish.
Last part of our day trip was snorkeling. On the way to our spot it was raining a lot and you do get wet on the board. But crew of Bullet provides you with raincoats as well so it helped to those who didn’t have anything like that with them.
Due to cyclone Debbie in 2017 a big portion of coral is destroyed but we were still able to experience a beautiful snorkel adventure. I have seen more beautiful fish or clearer waters but I have never seen such diverse and beautiful corals.
Next day we were really lucky and after crazy night full of thunderstorms we were blessed with sunny and hot weather. Airlie Beach itself has also some cool things to offer and the best is a beautiful lagoon which serves as artificial beach and is free of charge. It was a great place for us to relax and enjoy the great weather. Weather was actually the biggest issue throughout the whole trip in Australia because we could never rely on the weather reports. Luckily for us except for Airlie Beach and couple of days in Sydney it was much better than expected.
I would definitely recommend visiting Airlie Beach while traveling across Australia. This little yet welcoming town has a lot to offer and if the weather is on your side you can easily spend 3 to 4 days there and enjoy one of those many great day trips Airlie Beach offers.
Proserpine airport transfer: https://www.whitsundaytransit.com.au
Scenic flights from Airlie Beach: https://gslaviation.com.au